Also known as: Marquesan

The Marquesas are a group of very rugged volcanic islands in Eastern Polynesia. Rainfall is highly unpredictable in the Marquesas, and as a result famines were common, and were sometimes catastrophic. The most important supernatural agents were deified spirits of deceased chiefs and priests. Human sacrifice played an important role in Marquesan religion - for example, the deification of a deceased leader required ten human sacrifices. The victims of these sacrifices were always captives obtained in war rather than members of the group.

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Traditional Culture(1745-1770)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Linton (1939), pp. 182
Nature god(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Linton (1939), pp. 182
Craighill (1923), pp. 245
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Linton (1939), pp. 182-184
Ferdon (1993), pp. 38-39
Craighill (1923), pp. 247
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Linton (1939), pp. 182-184
Ferdon (1993), pp. 38-39
Craighill (1923), pp. 247
Suggs (1966), pp. 158-159
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Suggs (1966), pp. 157-158

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 42-43
Craighill (1923), pp. 263

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions while living do not affect the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Linton (1939), pp. 183-184
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions of others after one has died are the principal determinant of the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Linton (1939), pp. 183-184
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Suggs (1966), pp. 153-154
Marck (1996A), pp. 223
Primordial pair Present, and genealogically linked to humans now living (Source)
Suggs (1966), pp. 153-154
Marck (1996A), pp. 223
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Suggs (1966), pp. 153-154, 158

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Craighill (1923), pp. 246

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Suggs (1966), pp. 108-110
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Sahlins (1958), pp. 72
Linton (1939), pp. 143
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 26-28
Sahlins (1958), pp. 77

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Present (Source)
Blust (2007), pp. 409
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Present (Source)
Mana and social status Mana is associated with social status, but high social status is not necessary in order to be mana or have mana. (Source)
Blust (2007), pp. 409
Keesing (1984), pp. 152
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Keesing (1984), pp. 152
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 37-51, 112-124
Linton (1939), pp. 178-193
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 47
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Thomas (1990), pp. 36
Political and religious differentiation Considerable overlap between religious and political leaders (Source)
Suggs (1966), pp. 161-162

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 18, 70-85
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 73
Suggs (1966), pp. 58-59
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 10-20, 70-85
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Handy (1922), pp. 3, 5
Ferdon (1993), pp. 74
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 10-20, 70-85
Social Environment +
Population 35000 (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Kirch (1984), pp. 98
Thomas (1990), pp. 20
Importance of Patrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 33
Linton (1939), pp. 150
Thomas (1991), pp. 190
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 190
Ferdon (1991), pp. 33
Linton (1939), pp. 150
Kinship system Hawaiian (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 190
Polygamy Polyandry (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 190
Suggs (1966), pp. 82-83
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 190
Linton (1939), pp. 153

Conflict

Conflict within communities High (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 115-119
Thomas (1991), pp. 190
Conflict between communities of the culture Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 190
Ferdon (1993), pp. 112
Conflict with other cultures Rare or never (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188-189
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Occasional but not often (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188
Ferdon (1993), pp. 109
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 450.0 (Source)
Thomas (1990), pp. 1
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 8968.3 (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Absent: No evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188-189
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 189
Ferdon (1993), pp. 93
Linton (1939), pp. 140-141
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188
Linton (1939), pp. 139
Land-based gathering Medium (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 86-87, 98-99
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 86-100
Linton (1939), pp. 139-145, 140
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 86-100, 98-99
Linton (1939), pp. 139-145, 140

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Ferdon (1987), pp. 96-98
Linton (1939), pp. 141
Water-based gathering Major (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 95-96
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 96-98
Linton (1939), pp. 141-142

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Medium (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 189
Linton (1939), pp. 145, 146-147
Ferdon (1993), pp. 96, 109-111
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -8.9 (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude -140.2 (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Nuku Hiva) (2014)
Ferdon (1993), pp. 1
Island Size (km²) 339.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Nuku Hiva) (2014)
Maximum elevation (meters) 1185.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Nuku Hiva) (2014)
Post Contact History(1770-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Medium (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 189
Thomas (1990), pp. 131-165
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 188-189
Thomas (1990), pp. 146, 157-158
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 190
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 189
Immigration Low (Source)
Institut de la statistique de la Polynesie francaise (2007)
Language shift Low (Source)
Institut de la statistique de la Polynesie francaise (2007)
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia) (2014)

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Partly voluntary (Source)
Thomas (1990), pp. 160-161
Thomas (1991), pp. 189
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 189
Thomas (1990), pp. 159-161, 164-165

Economic Changes

Exportation of goods to other cultures Present but minor (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 189
Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia) (2014)

Modern Infrastructure

Sea port Present (Source)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009), pp. 176
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Thomas (1991), pp. 190
External Links
References
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Central Intelligence Agency (French Polynesia). (2014). The World Factbook: French Polynesia. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fp.html

Craighill, H. (1923). The native culture in the Marquesas. Honolulu, HI: The Museum. Retrieved from http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/ehrafe/citation.do?method=citation&forward=browseCulturesFullContext&col=collection%28%27/eHRAF/ethnography/Oceania/OX06%27%29&docId=ox06-001&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Doroszkowska, J. E. (1966). The London Missionary Society and the Marquesas Islands (Masters Thesis). Auckland, New Zealand: The University of Auckland.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Nuku Hiva). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/422212/Nuku-Hiva

Ferdon, E.N. (1987). Early Tonga. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press.

Ferdon, E.N. (1991). Tahiti. Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Vol. II, pp 305-307). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

Ferdon, E.N. (1993). Early Observations of Marquesan Culture, 1595-1813. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press.

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Handy, W.C. (1922). Tattooing in the Marquesas. Honolulu, HI: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.

Institut de la statistique de la Polynesie francaise. (2007). 2007 Census Results. Retrieved from: http://www.ispf.pf/bases/Recensements/2007/Details.aspx

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629696.

Kirch, P.V. (1984). The Evolution of the Polynesian Chiefdoms. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Linton, R. (1928). Culture Areas in Madagascar. American Anthropologist, 30 (3), 363-390. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/660864.

Linton, R. (1939). Marquesan culture. In Kardiner, A., The individual and his society: the psychodynamics of primitive social organization (p.138-196). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Marck, J. (1996A). The First-Order Anthropomorphic Gods of Polynesia. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 105 (2), 217-258. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20706661

Marquesas Islands. (2015). In Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Retrieved from http://academic.eb.com /EBchecked/topic/366071/Marquesas-Islands

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009). World Port Index Nineteenth Edition. Bethesda, MD: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Sahlins, M. D. (1958). Social stratification in Polynesia. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press

Suggs, R.C. (1966). Marquesan Sexual Behaviour. London, UK: Constable and Company.

Thomas, N. (1990). Marquesan Societies: Inequality and Political Transformation in Eastern Polynesia. Oxford, UK: Claredon Press.

Thomas, N. (1991). Marquesas Islands. In T. Hayes, (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Volume II: Oceania) (pp 188-191). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

Thomas, N. (1993). "Marquesas Islands". In Hockings, P., Encyclopedia of World Cultures (Vol. 2: Oceania, p. 188-191). New York: G.K. Hall & Co.