Austral-European Global Village

The Austral-European Global Village has much diversity.  The map above shows the probable migration routes of island peoples, which inhabit this Austral-European Global Village.  The map illustrates their eventual and suggested arrivals to Australia and New Zealand.  These may not have been all the routes taken; and they were not always one-way trips.  Many scholars have suggested that a search group may have gone to sea first.  When they found other islands the first group returned home, wherever that might have been, to get other families and/or more people and supplies.

The Austral-European Global Village is made up of two independent countries, and a few associated islands, with ties to both the Anglo-American global village and the European global village.  Neither of the two countries were originally inhabited by Europeans, and the original inhabitants are not the predominant populations of today.  Both Australia and New Zealand boast indigenous peoples, with complex cultures, long before the Europeans “discovered” their islands.

Great migrations have taken place over thousands of years, which have contributed to the diversity of all the global villages.  The great migrations began in Africa when a few people first decided to leave their homeland to establish another Global Villages in a distant place.

One of the greatest migrations leaving the Horn of Africa perhaps 40,000-60,000 years ago was a group that eventually arrived in Australia.  Those who risked everything to make that ocean voyage are the indigenous people of Australia known as the Aborigines.  Please review the Great Migrations lecture and maps to begin your study of this series of Global Villages.  The Great Migrations page will be a reference point for studying each of the dominant culture regions (Global Villages).

It has often been said by Australians that the Aboriginal Culture is possibly the oldest surviving culture in the world.  Not the oldest, but the oldest surviving culture.  The aborigine stone-tool technology has been dated back to 60,000 years ago.  However, older stone-tool use elsewhere may be as old as 2.5 million years.  Archaeologists are uncovering new human hearths all the time, so what is classified as the oldest today may be changed by tomorrow.  The Aboriginal Culture of Australia was isolated for thousands of years before the age of exploration (15th – 17th centuries) began.

The Aboriginal Culture of Australia also boasts what may be the longest continuing religion in the world.  Religion has been a part of every culture in the world so this may also be a controversial comment.  Nonetheless, the Rainbow Serpent mythology is recorded in rock shelters that are dated to about 7,000 years ago.  There are also other deities and gods important to the aborigines recorded in rock art, not just in caves.  The Rainbow Serpent is still important to several groups of local aborigines today.  Whether they worship their deities or celebrate them in the exact same ways as they practiced some ten thousand years ago is not known.  The rock art representations may be viewed as a kind of language that the ancient inhabitants must have recognized.

The “rock-art language” depicts all kinds of animals and plants that flourished as long as 20,000-40,000 years ago, but are now extinct.  Reading the rock-art shows examples of people dressed in ceremonial regalia and painted bodies.  Rock-art language and stone-tool technology were a small part of aborigine culture.  They also made use of wood to make weapons and had technology to make string, rope, bags, and baskets.  They did not build stone buildings or monuments; and they did not domesticate animals or cultivate the soil as farmers do.  Aborigine art was more than just cave paintings and rock-art; they had music and musical instruments.  They danced and told stories, passing them down through the generations.

The Aboriginal Culture  cannot be termed as a “civilization,” because they did not create cities.  But they had law and order and strict adherence to religious structures, which are still important in their culture today.  A statement on the website www.aboriginalculture.com.au, is a good analysis of how the aborigines lived for thousands of years on an isolated island. “Some of the important issues facing our world today and in the future, such as maintaining social cohesion, avoiding major wars, dealing with overpopulation, preventing the degradation and destruction of our environment, and the non-renewable resources, had been overcome by Aborigines and their ancient culture as they filled every part of the Australian continent.”

The Maori arrived much later in New Zealand than the Aborigines in Australia.  It is believed they first discovered the island around 800 AD.  The exact date of their arrival and from where those Polynesians came from, has been debated for centuries.  Captain Cook, who “re-discovered” New Zealand for the Europeans suggested the Maori may have originated from Malaysia or the East Indies.  Others thought the Polynesians were originally from Europe or Western Asia.  A few early thinkers surmised they may have been biblical people, or that their original homeland was India.

New evidence from archaeology and DNA analysis, along with canoe reconstructions, suggests a more reasonable assumption; that the Maori came from the Southern Cook and Society islands region.  Maori oral traditions seems to concur with the new evidence.  They tell of a homeland named Hawaiki, which is believed to be the same Cook and Society islands.  Many of the Maori founding narratives are based largely on canoe stories, which connect captains and crews through genealogy, to at least 40 legendary vessels.  Two such vessels are the Kurahaupo, of the North Island, and the Uruao of the South Island.  Whether these canoe stories are true is not certain.  The one thing that is certain is that these oral traditions have been enriched and embellished by the storytellers over the centuries.

The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand and make up about 15 per cent of the population.  Maoris are commonly called Kiwis and their culture is keenly portrayed throughout New Zealand. Two things the Maori are known for are the haka (a traditional war dance) and the karakia (traditional prayer). The Maori lost much of their cultural traditions, and their lands during the colonial period from 1841-1907; but their culture thrives today because of native initiatives to revive their language, art, and culture.

The first encounters in Australia by Europeans were the Dutch explorer, Willem Janzoon, in 1606 and Captain James Cook in 1769, but European cultural influences in Australia began around 1788 in Southeast Australia, near the Sydney region.  The first encounter by a European in New Zealand was also another Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, in 1642.  He did not encounter friendly Maori so he never attempted to go ashore. The island was later mapped by Captain James Cook who claimed the island for the British Crown in 1769.  Cook’s first meeting with the Maori was not friendly either; but he later established friendly contact and wrote about the Maori people.  Several other French explorers in the 18th century visited both islands of New Zealand but did not establish relationships with the Maori.

Today the Austral-European global village has representative populations from over 200 countries besides the Aborigine populations in Australia and the indigenous Maoris of New Zealand.  Both live among these differing populations, and they are both re-capturing their cultures and their languages under the stable government  of the United Kingdom, which promotes freedom and opportunity for all on both of these unique oceanic Island land masses.

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