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Austronesian Essay

Austronesian migration theory propounds on the expansion of a group of people called the Austronesians from Asia into the Pacific by means of Taiwan 6,000 years ago. It was a theory proposed by Peter Bellwood a professor of Archeology. The Austronesian migrations began from the Chinese mainland, reaching Taiwan first in 3500 BC then the Philippines by 3000 BC. They reached Sumatra and Java by 2000 BC, Northern New Guinea by 1600 BC, Samoa by 1200 BC, Hawaii, Easter Island, and Madagascar by 500 AD, etc.

The theory largely explains the similarities in culture, language and physical attributes in different countries in the most Asian countries and even Madagascar. Starting 4000–2000 BC, Austronesian groups descended from Yunnan Plateau in China and settled in what is now the Philippines by sailing using balangays or by traversing land bridges coming from Taiwan. Many of these Austronesians settled on the Philippine islands and became the ancestors of the present-day Filipinos and later colonizing most of the Pacific islands and Indonesia to the south.

These first settlers may have landed in northern Luzon in the archipelago of the Philippines, intermingling with the earlier Australo-Melanesian population who had inhabited the islands since about 23,000 years earlier. The Cagayan valley of northern Luzon contains large stone tools as evidence for the hunters of the big game of the time: the elephant-like stegodon, rhinoceros, crocodile, tortoise, pig and deer. The Austronesians pushed the Negritos to the mountains, while they occupied the fertile coastal plains.

Over the next thousand years, Austronesian peoples migrated southeast to the rest of the Philippines, and into the islands of the Celebes Sea, Borneo, and Indonesia. Common to Austronesians Cultural traces include: • Tattooing •Outriggers of canoes • Prehistoric art styles • Social characters Language: The Austronesian language family is usually divided into two branches: Malayo-Polynesian and Formosan. The Western sub-branch includes over 500 languages spoken in Madagascar, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, parts of Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

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