Iles Mariannes : Chamorros date back 4,000 years


Chamorros date back 4,000 years

Anthony P.Sanchez

Source - 


The Marianas are among the first Pacific islands inhabited. Archeologists discovered the Marianas archipelago's first inhabitants arrived around 2000 B.C., or 4,000 years ago. In comparison, Hawaii's first inhabitants arrived 800 to 900 A.D. -- 2,200 years after the Marianas was inhabited.

Our Marianas ancestors were in the first of three Pacific migrations. Professor Patrick V. Kirch of the University of California at Berkley's Archeology Research Facility notes the following discoveries:

"In western Micronesia, early sites contain red-slipped pottery, some of which is decorated with lime-filled, impressed designs. These sites, along with radiocarbon-dated sediment cores exhibiting signals of human presence (e.g., high influxes of microscopic charcoal resulting from anthropogenic burning) suggest that humans settled Marianas and Palau no later than 1500 B.C. and possibly as early as 2000 B.C."

Kirch speaks about the next two Pacific migrations: "Beginning 1300 B.C., the Lapita pottery-makers expanded rapidly beyond the Solomons and into the southwestern archipelagoes of remote Oceania: Vanuatu, the Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa. Numerous radiocarbon-dated archaeological sites document that Lapita sites in all of these archipelagoes no later than 900 B.C.

"The final stage in the human settlement of the Pacific Islands began after 500 B.C., with the Polynesian dispersals eastward out of Tonga and Samoa. .... Most agree that the central Eastern Polynesian archipelagoes (such as the Society Islands, Cook Islands, and Marquesas Islands) were settled first, no later than A.D. 300 and perhaps some centuries earlier. Remote Easter Island was discovered by A.D. 800-900, while the Hawaiian Islands were also well settled by this date."

Guam's first inhabitants arrived as the Stone Age ended and the Bronze Age began. Archbishop Ussher of Armagh and Dr. John Lightfoot of Cambridge trace the world's beginning to 4004 B.C., using the King James Bible. The Marianas is inhabited some 2,000 years later. The tower of Babel was 800 years before our arrival. Noah's flood was some 350 years before we arrived in the Marianas. Father Abraham, who spawned three religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) entered Egypt as we settled the Marianas.

We'd lived here for 300 years before King Hammurabi wrote man's first book of laws. God led the Jews out of Egypt and gave Moses the Ten Commandments some 500 years after we lived here. When King David ruled Israel, the Marianas had been inhabited for 1,000 years.

ARC 100  :  Introduction à l’Archéologie  /  Introduction to Archaeology

          ARC 101  :  Les grandes découvertes archéologiques

          ARC 102  :  Histoire de l’Archéologie / The history of Archaeology

In the book "The Apostle of the Marianas," reference is made to Jesuit Father Francisco Colin's 1663 theory of Chamorro origin: "Father Colin believes with some basis that these islanders come from Japan, a statement proven by their looks and customs, especially their love for family tradition and ancestry."

Unbeknown to Colin, Japan traces its current civilization to 660 B.C. to the mythological emperor Jimmu, or 1,440 years after the Marianas was settled. Moreover, Japan's aborigines, the Ainu, have European features, wavy hair and thick beards. Taiwan's aborigines, the "Gôan-chu-bîn" have Chamorro-like features. The Marianas was settled as China's first prehistoric dynasty (Xia) was formed; spurring theory our ancestors also had Mongolian, Caucasian and Indonesian roots.

Nature also influenced our early settlement. From 3000 B.C., warming of ocean currents called El Niño started occurring. Guam's first people arrived 1,000 years later.

For four millennia we've inhabited these islands. Legends say the first inhabitants were giants called taotaomonas ("first people"). The legend of Gapan Island, or Camel Rock, tells of two ancient boys sent to block the Hagåtña River to stop an invasion. They drop it in Asan reef, mistaking the early stars for arriving canoes. Accordingly, Guam was overrun by invaders who may have been "Chamorri" (early Spanish spelling).

According to historian Pedro Sanchez: "The Chamorros were a different race, in physical stature and culture, from islanders who populated Melanesia, the Philippines and other Micronesian islands, save perhaps the people of Kapingamarangi and its neighboring islands."

Chamorro is classified under Austronesian languages, but there are words uniquely ours -- like taotao (people), tano (land), hanom (water), puntan (cliff points) and so forth.

From the taotaomonas to the Chamorros, to their survivors of the Spanish-Chamorro 30-year war, to the mixed lineage of inhabitants and wards of first Spain, for 333 years, and the U.S., for the last 113 years, and finally to the post-war Guamanians who, due to travel and communication, maintain an affinity to both their original homeland and the Guam their children are born in, we built a melting-pot society of healthy respect for ethnicity and traditions, shaped around Chamorro society that has prevailed for some 4,000 years -- matriarchal; respectful; close-knit; sharing joys and burdens; and giving back.