Pole star project/Equatorials

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The equatorials are a collection of land masses currently or formerly above sea level that may contain archaeological artifacts differentiating between here on Earth versus in heaven at or near the North Pole star.

Togo[edit | edit source]

Togo is located at 6°8'N 1°13'E.

Archaeological finds indicate that ancient tribes were able to produce pottery and process iron. The name Togo is translated from the Ewe language as "land where lagoons lie". Not much is known of the period before arrival of the Portuguese in 1490. During the period from the 11th century to the 16th century, various tribes entered the region from all directions: the Ewé from the west, and the Mina and Gun from the east.

There are signs of Ewe settlement for several centuries before the Portuguese arrival.[1]

Benin[edit | edit source]

Benin is located at 6°28'N 2°36'E.

Before 1700, there were a few important city-states along the coast (primarily of the Aja ethnic group, but also including Yoruba and Gbe peoples) and a mass of tribal regions inland (composed of Bariba, Mahi, Gedevi, and Kabye peoples). The Oyo Empire, located primarily to the east of modern Benin, was the most significant large-scale military force in the region. It regularly conducted raids and exacted tribute from the coastal kingdoms and the tribal regions.[2] The situation changed in the 1600s and early 1700s as the Kingdom of Dahomey, consisting mostly of Fon people, was founded on the Abomey plateau and began taking over areas along the coast.[3] By 1727, king Agaja of the Kingdom of Dahomey had conquered the coastal cities of Allada and Whydah, but it had become a tributary of the Oyo empire and did not directly attack the Oyo allied city-state of Porto-Novo.[4] The rise of the kingdom of Dahomey, the rivalry between the kingdom and the city of Porto-Novo, and the continued tribal politics of the northern region, persisted into the colonial and post-colonial periods.[5]

The Dahomey Kingdom was known for its culture and traditions. Young boys were often apprenticed to older soldiers, and taught the kingdom's military customs until they were old enough to join the army.[6] Dahomey was also famous for instituting an elite female soldier corps, called Ahosi, i.e. the king's wives, or Mino, "our mothers" in the Fon language Fongbe, and known by many Europeans as the Dahomean Amazons. This emphasis on military preparation and achievement earned Dahomey the nickname of "black Sparta" from European observers and 19th-century explorers such as Sir Richard Burton.[7]

Annobón[edit | edit source]

Map shows Annobón island, the Insular Region of Equatorial Guinea. Credit: W like wiki.{{free media}}
Map shows location of Annobón Island in the Gulf of Guinea. Credit: Amcaja.{{free media}}

Annobón is at 1°25'S 5°38'E.

Annobón is an extinct volcano about 220 miles (350 km) west of Cape Lopez in Gabon and 110 miles (180 km) southwest of São Tomé Island.[8] The main island measures about 4 miles (6.4 km) long by 2 miles (3.2 km) wide,[9] with an area of about 6 34 square miles (17 km2),[8] but a number of small rocky islets surround it, including Santarém to the south. Its central crater lake is named Lago A Pot and its highest peak is Quioveo, which rises 598 meters (1,962 ft). The island is characterized by a succession of lush valleys and steep mountains, covered with rich woods and luxuriant vegetation.[9]

Annobón is often described as being "in the Gulf of Guinea", for example, by the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.[8] like the neighboring islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, but the formal boundary line for the Gulf of Guinea established by the International Hydrographic Organization actually runs north of it. From the 1953 Limits of Oceans and Seas: "(34) A line running south-eastwards from Cape Palmas in Liberia to Cape Lopez [in Gabon] (0°38' S, 8°42' E)."[10]

Ilhéu das Rolas[edit | edit source]

Ilhéu das Rolas is located at 0°00'14"S 6°31'21"E.

São Tomé[edit | edit source]

This is an equatorial marker in Sao Tome. Credit: Husond.

The independent nation of São Tomé and Príncipe has an equatorial marker shown on the right in São Tomé. São Tomé is located at 0°14'N 6°36'E. It is located 2 km (1¼ miles) north of the equator. The island is surrounded by a number of small islands, including Ilhéu das Rolas, Ilhéu das Cabras and Ilhéu Gabado. The youngest dated rock on the island is about 100,000 years old, but numerous more recent cinder cones are found on the southeast side of the island.

The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe were uninhabited at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese sometime between 1469 and 1471.

Príncipe[edit | edit source]

Map shows São Tomé and Príncipe with Príncipe island near the right top corner. Credit: United States Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook.{{free media}}

Príncipe is located at 1°37'N 7°24'E.

Príncipe is the smaller, northern major island of the country of São Tomé and Príncipe lying off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea.[11] It has an area of 142 square kilometres (55 sq mi) (including offshore islets) and a population of 7,324 at the 2012 Census;[12] the latest official estimate (at May 2018) was 8,420.[13] The island is a heavily eroded volcano speculated to be over three million years old, surrounded by smaller islands including Ilheu Bom Bom, Ilhéu Caroço, Tinhosa Grande and Tinhosa Pequena. Part of the Cameroon Line archipelago, Príncipe rises in the south to 947 metres at Pico do Príncipe.[14]

Bioko[edit | edit source]

Bioko is an island 32 km (20 mi) off the west coast of Africa. Credit: United Nations.{{free media}}
Image shows more continental shelves off Cameroon. Credit: Xiaohui Xiao, Timipere Jenakumo, Charlie Ash, Huyen Bui, and Oludayo Fakunle, and Sophia Weaver.{{fairuse}}
Map shows location of Bonga Field off Nigeria. Credit: Sara Scoville-Weaver.{{fairuse}}

Bioko is located at 3°30'N 8°41'E.

The island is located off Cameroon, in the Bight of Bonny portion of the Gulf of Guinea. Its geology is volcanic; its highest peak is Pico Basile at 3,012 m (9,882 ft).

Bioko used to be the end of a peninsula attached to the mainland in what is now Cameroon, but it was cut off when sea levels rose 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.[15]

The topographic image on the left shows Bioko as the last green island off Cameroon connected by gray continental shelf to Africa.

One perspective offers that the Bubi were once enslaved by a single continental African tribe,[16] likely another Bantu ethnic group that once occupied areas along the shores of West Africa.

The Bubi people are subdivided into a number of tribes and subtribes that go back centuries. Indigenous Bubi folklore indicate that the tribe immigrated to Bioko Island some 3,000 years ago as a means of escaping servitude.

The map on the right shows the location of Bonga Field off Nigeria where colors browns to gray approximately represent areas near or above sea level during the last ice age (currently 1,000 meters up to sea level).

Corisco[edit | edit source]

Corisco Island & Elobey Islands are shown. Credit: MiguelMTN and Pallanz.

Corisco is located at 0°55'N 9°19'E.

During the Iron Age (50 BC - 1400 AD) and before the arrival of the Portuguese, the island was densely settled. The most important evidence of human occupation comes from the area of Nandá, near the eastern coast, where dozens of prehistoric burials have been excavated.[17] These burials belong to two different periods: Early Iron Age (50 BC - 450 AD) and Middle Iron Age (1000-1150 AD). During the first period, the islanders deposited bundles of human bones and iron implements (axes, bracelets, spears, spoons, iron currency) in shallow pits dug in the sand. During the second period, tombs have been documented where the corpses (not preserved) lied down surrounded by pots, probably containing food and alcoholic beverages. The deceased were interred with their adornments (collars, bracelets and anklets) and a few personal possessions (knives and adzes).

Equatorial Guinea[edit | edit source]

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is located at 1°30'N 10°00'E.

Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts, an insular and a mainland region. The Islands of Equatorial Guinea, the insular region, consists of the islands of Bioko (formerly Fernando Pó) in the Gulf of Guinea and Annobón, a small volcanic island which is the only part of the country south of the equator. Bioko Island is the northernmost part of Equatorial Guinea. The island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Bioko and Annobón. The mainland region, Río Muni, is bordered by Cameroon on the north and Gabon on the south and east. Rio Muni includes several small offshore islands, such as Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico.

Pygmy peoples probably once lived in the continental region that is now Equatorial Guinea, but are today found only in isolated pockets in southern Río Muni. Bantu migrations between the 18th and 19th centuries from between south-east Nigeria and north-west Cameroon (the Grassfields).[18] brought coastal ethno-linguistic groups as well as the Fang people. They must have settled continental Equatorial Guinea around 500 BCE at the latest.[19][20] Elements of the latter may have generated the Bubi people, who migrated from Cameroon to Río Muni and Bioko in several waves and succeeded former Neolithic populations. The Annobonese Creole population, originally native to Angola, was introduced by the Portuguese via São Tomé island.

Cameroon[edit | edit source]

Cameroon is located at 6°N 12°E.

The territory of present-day Cameroon was first settled during the Neolithic Era. The longest continuous inhabitants are groups such as the Baka (Pygmies).[21] From here, Bantu migrations into eastern, southern, and central Africa are believed to have originated about 2,000 years ago.[22] The Sao culture arose around Lake Chad, c. 500 AD, and gave way to the Kanem and its successor state, the Bornu Empire. Kingdoms, fondoms, and chiefdoms arose in the west.[23]

Gabon[edit | edit source]

Le passage de l'Équateur sur la route de Libreville à Lambaréné. Credit: Ballot 2.
A map showing the distribution of Congo Pygmies and their languages according to Bahuchet (2006). The southern Twa are not shown. Credit: Kwamikagami.
Twa populations according to Hewlett & Fancher. From west to east: Ntomba, Kasai, [unidentified], Great Lakes, Nsua [not clear if Nsua is Twa]. Credit: Kwamikagami.
Twa populations according to Stokes. Only a few groups are shown, but these include several between the Kasai and Great Lakes Twa. Credit: Kwamikagami.
Twa populations scattered through shaded area, according to Blench. Several southern Twa areas are shown. Credit: Kwamikagami.
Twa/pygmoid populations according to Cavalli-Sforza. Several southern groups are added. Credit: Kwamikagami.

On the right is an image of a sign announcing the equator in Gabon in Libreville.

Gabon is located at 1°S 12°E.

The earliest inhabitants of the area were Pygmy peoples. They were largely replaced and absorbed by Bantu tribes as they migrated.

The African Pygmies (or Congo Pygmies, variously also "Central African foragers", "African rainforest hunter-gatherers" (RHG) or "Forest People of Central Africa"[24]) are a group of tribal ethnicities, traditionally subsisting in a forager and hunter-gatherer lifestyle, native to Central Africa, mostly the Congo Basin.

The African Pygmies are divided into three roughly geographic groups:

  • the western Bambenga or Mbenga (Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic),
  • the eastern Bambuti or Mbuti of the Congo basin (Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC))
  • the central and southern Batwa or Twa (Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Angola and Namibia). The more widely scattered (and more variable in physiology and lifestyle) Southern Twa are also grouped under the term Pygmoid.

They are notable for, and named for, their short stature (described as "pygmyism" in anthropological literature). They are assumed to be descended from the original Middle Stone Age expansion of anatomically modern humans to Central Africa, albeit substantially affected by later migrations from West Africa, from their first appearance in the historical record in the 19th century limited to a comparative small area within Central Africa, greatly decimated by the prehistoric Bantu expansion, and to the present time widely affected by enslavement and cannibalism at the hand of neighboring Bantu groups.[25]

Gabon was settled from the 14th century by Bantu peoples. Little is known of tribal life before European contact, but tribal art suggests a rich cultural heritage.

Republic of the Congo[edit | edit source]

This map of the Republic of the Congo shows the location of the equator. Credit: United States Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook.

The equator passes through the Republic of the Congo as shown in the map on the right.

Republic of the Congo is located at 1.44°S 15.556°E.

Bantu-speaking peoples who founded tribes during the Bantu expansions largely displaced and absorbed the earliest inhabitants of the region, the Pygmy people, about 1500 BC. The Bakongo, a Bantu ethnic group that also occupied parts of present-day Angola, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formed the basis for ethnic affinities and rivalries among those countries. Several Bantu kingdoms—notably those of the Kongo, the Loango, and the Teke—built trade links leading into the Congo River basin.[26]

Democratic Republic of the Congo[edit | edit source]

The map shows that the equator passes through the Republic of the Congo. Credit: United States Central Intelligence Agency.

The map on the right shows the equator passing through the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Democratic Republic of the Congo is located at 3°S 24°E.

The geographical area now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo was populated as early as 90,000 years ago, as shown by the 1988 discovery of the Semliki harpoon at Katanda, one of the oldest barbed harpoons ever found, believed to have been used to catch giant river catfish.[27][28]

Idjwi[edit | edit source]

Idjwi is the central-southern region of Lake Kivu. Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.{{free media}}

Idjwi is located at 2°9'57"S 29°3'22"E.

At 70 km (43 mi) in length and with an area of 340 km2 (131 sq mi), it is the second largest inland island in Africa, and the tenth largest in the world.[29]

Historically a clan-based Bahavu society, Idjwi island became a kingdom in the late 18th century (roughly between 1780 and 1840).[30]

Uganda[edit | edit source]

Equator monument in Uganda is near the city of Masaka. Credit: Iwoelbern.
This map of Uganda shows where the equator passes through. Credit: Travel destinations to visit before you die.

Uganda is located at 1°N 32°E.

Near the city of Masaka, Uganda, is this equatorial monument in the image on the right.

The map on the left shows approximately where the equator passes through Uganda.

Paleolithic evidence of human activity in Uganda goes back to at least 50,000 years, and perhaps as far as 100,000 years, as shown by the Acheulean stone tools recovered from the former environs of Lake Victoria, which were exposed along the Kagera River valley, chiefly around Nsonezi.[31] Rock art in Uganda, particularly in the eastern part of the country, attests to occupation during the Later Stone Age as well.

Ssese Islands[edit | edit source]

Ssese Islands are located at 00°26'00"S 32°15'00"E.

Bugala[edit | edit source]

OnEarth WMS NASA view shows Lake Victoria Landsat 7 satellite imagery. (1999-2003) Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

Bugala is located at 00°25'8"S 32°15'00"E.

Ukerewe[edit | edit source]

Ukerewe is located at 2°1'45"S 33°0'35"E.

Ukerewe is the fifth-largest lake island in the world. With an area of 530 km2 (200 sq mi), it is also the largest island in Lake Victoria and the largest lake island in Africa.[32] Ukerewe Island is situated in the Ukerewe District of Tanzania, 45 km (28 mi) north of Mwanza to which it is linked by ferry.[33]

Ukerewe is known for having a large population of Africans with albinism. Many of the first of them to live there were taken to and abandoned on the island by their families as children. Despite comprising an exceptionally high percentage of the island's population, they are still, as throughout Tanzania, an oppressed minority on the island, though it appears to have avoided the killings of albinos, who are "harvested" for black magic rituals, that regularly occurs in Tanzania.[34]

Tanzania[edit | edit source]

Tanzania is located at 6°S 35°E.

Many important hominid fossils have been found in Tanzania, such as 6 million year-old Pliocene hominid fossils. The genus Australopithecus ranged all over Africa 4-2 million years ago; and the oldest remains of the Homo genus are found near Lake Olduvai. Following the rise of Homo erectus 1.8 million years ago, mankind spread all over the Old World, and later in the New World and Australia under the species Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens also overtook Africa and absorbed the older archaic species and subspecies of humanity. One of the oldest known ethnic groups still existing, the Hadzabe, appears to have originated in Tanzania, and their oral history recalls ancestors who were tall and were the first to use fire, medicine, and lived in caves, much like Homo erectus or Homo heidelbergensis who lived in the same region before them.

Later in the Stone and Bronze Age, prehistoric migrations into Tanzania included Southern Cushitic speakers who moved south from present-day Ethiopia;[35] Eastern Cushitic people who moved into Tanzania from north of Lake Turkana about 2,000 and 4,000 years ago;[35] and the Southern Nilotes, including the Datoog, who originated from the present-day South Sudan–Ethiopia border region between 2,900 and 2,400 years ago.[35] These movements took place at about the same time as the settlement of the Mashariki Bantu from West Africa in the Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika areas. They subsequently migrated across the rest of Tanzania between 2,300 and 1,700 years ago.[35][36]

Kenya[edit | edit source]

In Kenya, the Kikuyu are one of the more dominant tribes in government and social standing, though once displaced from their native lands. Credit: Angela Sevin.
Kikuyu man is from 1910. Credit: Wanjiku Muhoho.
This sign in Kenya is on the equator. Credit: pcb21.
On Africa's east Coast, Kenya straddles the equator and shares a border with Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Credit: Geo Systems Global Corporation.

Kenya is located at 1°N 38°E.

The Kikuyu belong to the Northeast Bantu languages. Their language is most closely related to that of the Embu people and Mbeere people. Geographically, they are concentrated in the vicinity of Mount Kenya.

The exact place that the Northeast Bantu speakers migrated from after the initial Bantu expansion is uncertain. Some authorities suggest that the Kikuyu arrived in their present Mount Kenya area of habitation from earlier settlements further to the north and east,[37] while others argue that the Kikuyu, along with their closely related Eastern Bantu neighbors the Embu people, Meru people, Mbeere people, and Kamba people moved into Kenya from points further north.[38][39]

From archaeological evidence, their arrival at the northern side of Mt. Kenya dates to around the 3rd century, as part of the larger group known as Thagicu.

By the 6th century, there was a community of Agikuyu newly established at Gatunganga, or Gatuang'ang'a in Nyeri County. The Agikuyu established themselves in their current homeland of Mt.Kenya region by the 13th century.[40][41]

On the right is a sign posted on the equator in Kenya.

The equator passes through Kenya as shown in the map on the left.

Ngai – The Supreme Creator[edit | edit source]

The Gĩkũyũ were – and still are – monotheists believing in an omnipotent God whom they refer to as Ngai. All of the Gĩkũyũ, Embu, and Kamba use this name. Ngai was also known as Mũrungu by the Meru and Embu tribes, or Mũlungu (a variant of a word meaning God which is found as far south as the Zambezi of Zambia). The title Mwathani or Mwathi (the greatest ruler) comes from the word gwatha meaning to rule or reign with authority, was and is still used. All sacrifices to Ngai were performed under a Ficus sycomorus (sycamore tree) (Mũkũyũ) and if one was not available, a fig tree (Mũgumo) would be used. The olive tree (Mũtamaiyũ) was a sacred tree for women.[42]

Zanzibar[edit | edit source]

Zanzibar is located at 6°08'S 39°19'E.

The presence of microliths suggests that Zanzibar has been home to humans for at least 20,000 years,[43] which was the beginning of the Later Stone Age.

Somalia[edit | edit source]

Somalia is located at 10°N 49°E.

Somalia has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic. During the Stone Age, the Doian and Hargeisan cultures flourished here.[44] The oldest evidence of burial customs in the Horn of Africa comes from cemeteries in Somalia dating back to the 4th millennium BCE.[45] The stone implements from the Jalelo site in the north were also characterized in 1909 as important artefacts demonstrating the archaeological universality during the Paleolithic between the East and the West.[46]

According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic period from the family's proposed urheimat ("original homeland") in the Nile Valley,[47] or the Near East.[48]

The Laas Geel complex on the outskirts of Hargeisa in northwestern Somalia dates back approximately 5,000 years, and has rock art depicting both wild animals and decorated cows.[49] Other cave paintings are found in the northern Dhambalin region, which feature one of the earliest known depictions of a hunter on horseback. The rock art is in the distinctive Ethiopian-Arabian style, dated to 1,000 to 3,000 BCE.[50][51] Additionally, between the towns of Las Khorey and El Ayo in northern Somalia lies Karinhegane, the site of numerous cave paintings of real and mythical animals. Each painting has an inscription below it, which collectively have been estimated to be around 2,500 years old.[52][53]

Maldives[edit | edit source]

North and South Malosmadulu Atols are in the Maldives. Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.{{free media}}

North and South Malosmadulu Atols are in the Maldives, an island republic in the northern Indian Ocean, southwest of India. Maldives is made up of a chain of 1192 small coral islands that are grouped into clusters of atolls. It has a total area of 298 sq km and a population of about 330,000. The capital and largest city is Male, with a population of about 80,000. Arguably the lowest-lying country in the world, the average elevation is 1 m above sea level. Waves triggered by the great tsunami of December 2004 spilled over sea walls to flood Male with sand-clouded water and then swept out just as suddenly. Residents fear this was a foreboding of disasters to come from sea-level rise due to global warming. The simulated natural color ASTER image was acquired 22 December 2002, covers an area of 50.8 x 90.4 km, and is centered near 5.3 degrees north latitude, 73.9 degrees west longitude.

Raa Atoll is located at 5°38'N 72°55'E.

The first Maldivians did not leave any archaeological artifacts. Their buildings were probably built of wood, palm fronds and other perishable materials, which would have quickly decayed in the salt and wind of the tropical climate. Moreover, chiefs or headmen did not reside in elaborate stone palaces, nor did their religion require the construction of large temples or compounds.[54]

Comparative studies of Maldivian oral, linguistic and cultural traditions and customs confirm that the first settlers were people from the southern shores of the neighboring Indian subcontinent,[55] including the Giraavaru people mentioned in ancient legends and local folklore about the establishment of the capital and kingly rule in Malé.[56]

A strong underlying layer of Dravidian population and culture survives in Maldivian society, with a clear Tamil-Malayalam substratum in the language, which also appears in place names, kinship terms, poetry, dance, and religious beliefs. Malabari seafaring culture led to the settlement of the Islands by Malayali seafarers.[57]

The earliest written history of the Maldives was marked by the arrival of Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka and the Maldives (Mahiladvipika) circa 543 to 483 BC, as reported in the Mahavansa. Their settlement marks a significant change in demographics and the development of the Indo-Aryan language Dhivehi language.

Alifushi[edit | edit source]

Physical location map shows the Maledives. Credit: Carport.{{free media}}
Map identifies Atolls of the Maldives. Thaana letter for each atoll is indicated inside the bracket. Credit: AlainV.{{free media}}

Physical location of the equirectangular projection: 7.5°N, 1.2°S, 71.9°E, 74.7°E.

Alifushi is located at 5°58'00"N 72°57'15"E, left upper atoll before angled atolls.

Simeulue[edit | edit source]

Topographic map shows Simeulue, Indonesia. Credit: Sadalmelik.{{free media}}

Simeulue is located at 2°35'N 96°05'E.

From the ethnic point of view the inhabitants of Simeulue are similar to the people of neighboring Nias Island. Two languages and a number of dialects are spoken on the island: Devayan and Sigulai, which are different from the languages spoken in the north of Sumatra.[58]

Nias[edit | edit source]

Sadalmelik]].{{free media}}
A photograph shows two Nias warriors in South Nias Regency, circa 1892–1922. Credit: .
A Nias family is shown. Credit: .
A wedding ceremony is photographed in South Nias. Credit: .
Omo hada', the traditional house of Nias is photographed. Credit: .
The adu zatua (wooden ancestor statues) are photographed. Credit: .
A stone monument displayed in front of a house displays the power and rank of the host. Credit: .
A group of Nias warriors holding the Baluse (shield) and Burusa (spear), and with Balato (sword) at the side of their waist. Credit: .
The kalabubu is traditionally only worn by those who already performed the headhunting activities. Credit: .
Nias men taking part in Fahombo. Credit: .

Nias is located at 1°6'N 97°32'E.

Customary law of the Nias people is generally referred to as fondrakö, which regulates all aspects of life from birth to death.[59] Historical evidence of megalithic structures and carvings of stones that are found in the interior of the island proved that ancient Nias people practiced megalith culture. The caste system is also recognized in Nias society,[60] whereby the highest level out of the 12 levels in the Nias caste system is Balugu.[61]

According to the people of Nias, one of the mythical origins of Nias tribe comes from a tree of life called Tora Sigaru'a which is located at a place called Tetehöli Ana'a. According to the myth, it is said that the arrival of the first human on Nias island began in the days of King Sirao, whose nine sons had been banished out of Tetehöli Ana'a for fighting over the throne. Hence the nine sons of King Sirao were considered as the first people to set foot on the island of Nias.[62]

The observations found that there has been human habitation on Nias island since 12,000 years ago through migration from Asia to Nias island during the Paleolithic period. In fact there are indications of migration as far as 30,000 years ago. During that period the Hòa Bình, Vietnam civilization was similar to that in Nias island. Therefore, it was presumed that the origins of the Nias people came from an area in mainland Asia that is in modern-day Vietnam.[63]

New genetic research has found that the Nias people of North Sumatra came from the Austronesian peoples. The ancestors of the Nias people are also thought to have come from Taiwan through the Philippines 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.[64][65]

Research that lasted for 10 years with blood samples of 440 Nias people in 11 villages in Nias island has shown the Y-chromosome and DNA mitochondria of the Nias people are very identical to the Taiwanese aborigines and Filipino peoples. The observation has also found that the genes in today's Nias people no longer carry any traces of the ancient Nias people, as of those whose remains were found in the Togi Ndrawa cave, Central Nias. Archaeological findings of the stone tools found showed that humans living in the cave are 12,000 years old. The genetic diversity of the Nias people are very low compared to other people groups, especially with regard to the Y-chromosome. This indicates that there was once a "bottle neck" population in the past history of Nias. Studies have also found that the Nias people do not share any genes with ethnicities living in the Andaman-Nicobar islands in the Indian ocean, which are geographically considered as neighbours. Although it is known that there was a migration of the Austronesian peoples between Taiwan and the Indonesian archipelago including Nias, it is still uncertain if the migration started from Taiwan to Nias or vice versa.[66][67]

Nias people practice a clan system that follows the paternal lineage.[68] Clans generally come from the existing village settlements.[69]

Nias villages often possess impressive stone monuments and large houses which stood on earthquake-resistant timber pylons. Most of these villages have lost its old houses because of their deterioration and difficulties in maintaining the ancient wooden structures from rot, insects and wear, and hence replaced by other more generic structures. Other reasons why not so many old horses were rebuilt because of the over-harvesting of the forests.[70]

In the past, Nias villages, especially those of South Nias, were strategically built on top of a ridge or hill and were surrounded by ramparts and security gates. Entry into this village was provided by only two gates via steep staircases. The gates lead to a straight paved avenue which run through the village center, with row of traditional houses on the sides of the avenue. Close to the main square of the village was the house of the village founders, the omo sebua. In Nias villages, the space in front of each houses was the property of the inhabitants. This "front courtyard" was used for mundane activities e.g. drying harvests before storing.[70]

Villages in Central Nias was usually smaller than its southern counterpart. The houses are also positioned farther away from the main avenue.[70]

The people of Nias placed great value on wooden figures or adu. The sole purpose of the Nias figures was to fulfil ritual needs, whether it is to ensure wealth or to perform specific beneficial rite. Niassan figures vary in size, from as small as 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in height to more than 2 metres (6.6 ft) tall.[70]

When an elderly person died, the family would make a wooden statue known as adu zatua. The statue was unveiled on the fourth day after the death of the person. The shape of the wooden statue reflects the status of the person who used them: the more powerful the owner, the more impressive the statue will be made.[70] Nias people believed that the deceased person's spirits reside in the statue, so all events that occurred in the family were shared with the ancestor statues through prayers. Ancestor figures were believed to ensure fertility for the family, livestock and agricultural land. Sacrifices were made to the ancestor statues especially on important events e.g. births, marriages and deaths. Ancestor statues were placed in the main room of the house, sometimes more than a hundred. A missionary work in 1930 had recorded the removal of 'over 2000 "idols" from a house of new northern convert.' Some missionary even recorded collapsing houses under the weight of these ancestor figures.[70] Small adu zatua were bound together horizontally using a rattan and pegs.[70]

In North Nias, large impressive ancestor figure is known as adu suraha salawa (Nias language for "portraits of honored ancestors"). The adu suraha salawa represents the first known ancestor of a family, often the founder of the village.[70] The adu suraha salawa were usually placed upon a wall or on an altar (daro-daro).[70] Another large ancestor statues are the adu hörö. Adu hörö ancestor statues are large, elongated, armless and wear high, forked headdresses. These statues are generally found in Central Nias, and rarely in South Nias.v

Other wooden figures do not represent the ancestors. These wooden figures were created to heal specific illnesses, to protect villages, or to invoke supernatural beings to aid through rituals.[70] These statues were generally crudely made, as opposed to the finely carved ancestor figures.[70] Joachim von Brenner-Felsach classified more than 60 types of non-ancestor wooden figures.[70]

Many ancestor figures were destroyed in 1916 by a religious movement which seen them as an old blasphemous religion symbol. Some were sold to collectors and can be found in museum or private collections around the world.[71]

The Nias produced one of the most impressive megalith culture in Indonesia, especially the Center and South Nias. Stones were used to construct different objects and structures. Nias village features impressive stoneworks e.g. large staircases and broad paved streets. Ritual objects e.g. the behu (vertical column), standing columns, jumping stones, obelisks, altars, and sarcophagi are among the many stone objects produced by Nias people.[70]

Stone monuments were central in the owasa festival, a kind of feast to raise the rank of a person. Dedicating stone monuments publicly is considered as one of the several requirements that must be done by a person to proof that he had fulfilled the right to claim a higher rank and to receive honorary titles.[70]

The behu is a type of megalith in the form of vertical column. Behu were erected in front of the house of the host to commemorate former great celebrations held by the host. The more behu displayed in front of the host's house, the more powerful his position are in the village. Noblemen display behu that is larger in size and more abundant in numbers than the commoners. A behu with anthropomorphic form is known as the osa-osa. The osa-osa is depicted as wearing traditional Nias attire e.g. the kalabubu necklace and pendant earrings (fondulu or saro dalinga). The osa-osa's head is that of the various beasts, usually a lasara, a hornbill, a stag, or a multi-headed mixture of all. Before displaying the osa-osa in front of houses, they were paraded around the village with the host seated, or even standing on top of the osa-osa.[70]

The Nias people used a variety of material for the creation of their weaponry: leather, cord or woven fibres, precious metal, iron and brass. The Nias used spears, swords and blades as their weapon. The Nias spear (toto'a doho in the south, toho in the north) was mainly used for hunting; the shaft is made of dark hardwood of Oncosperma tigillarium nibung palm wrapped with rattan. Other type of spears are the burusa, with a triangle-shaped head.[72] The Nias sword (gari) is a combat weapon; both the sword and its sheath have simple undecorated form.[70] The most well-known of the Nias weapon is the balato or tolögu, a steel sword with a protective amulet believed to possess magical power. The balato has a hilt made of brass. The sheath of the balato contains a spherical bundle of rattan (ragö balatu) which performed as a protective amulet. This protective amulet is usually attached with a variety of objects e.g. animal fangs which is formed so that it looks like the jaw of the mythical lasara.[73] The balato is only reserved for the highest nobles as a kind of proof of the authority and the social rank of its owner.[70]

Some prominent chiefs covered their armor with sheets of gold. Helmets can be made of iron or tightly woven palm fibers. The oval-shaped shield is known as the baluse in South Nias, while the North Nias produced a hexagonal-shaped shield known as the dange.[70]

Deterioration in Niassan culture already happened since the end of the 19th-century. Missionary works had contribute to the decline of original Nias culture. Missionary works in Nias such as those performed by the German Protestant Rhenish Missionary Society as well as the Roman Catholics had been responsible to the destruction of Niassan wooden statues as well the suppression of unique culture of Nias society e.g. ancestor worship, magical practices, the Owasa festivals (noblemen rank-elevation festivals) headhunting and slave trading.[70]

Pini[edit | edit source]

Pini is located at 0.10°N 98.70°E.

Sumatera Island[edit | edit source]

Topography of Sumatra is illustrated. Credit: Sadalmelik.{{free media}}

Sumatera is Indonesian for Sumatra. Sumatera is located at 00°N 102°E.

Sumatra was known in ancient times by the Sanskrit names of Swarnadwīpa ("Island of Gold") and Swarnabhūmi ("Land of Gold"), because of the gold deposits in the island's highlands.[74] The first mention of the name of Sumatra was in the name of Srivijayan Haji (king) Sumatrabhumi ("King of the land of Sumatra"),[75] who sent an envoy to China in 1017. Arab geographers referred to the island as Lamri (Lamuri, Lambri or Ramni) in the tenth through thirteenth centuries, in reference to a kingdom near modern-day Banda Aceh which was the first landfall for traders. The island is also known by other names namely, Andalas [76] or Percha Island.[77]

Singapore[edit | edit source]

Credit: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).{{free media}}

Singapore is located at 1.3°N 103.8°E.

Singapore is an island city-state in Southeast Asia that lies one degree (137 kilometres or 85 miles) north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore's territory consists of Pulau Ujong (main island) along with 62 other islets.

Christmas Island[edit | edit source]

Map of Christmas was produced by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, unless otherwise indicated. Maps dated 1976 were taken from The Indian Ocean Atlas, published by the Central Intelligence Agency. Credit: unknown.

Christmas Island is located at 10°29'S 105°38'E.

The island is about 19 kilometres (12 mi) in greatest length and 14.5 km (9.0 mi) in breadth. The total land area is 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi), with 138.9 km (86.3 mi) of coastline. The island is the flat summit of an underwater mountain more than 4,500 metres (14,800 ft) high,[78] which rises from about 4,200 m (13,780 ft) below the sea and only about 300 m (984 ft) above it.[79]

The mountain was originally a volcano, and some basalt is exposed in places such as The Dales and Dolly Beach, but most of the surface rock is limestone accumulated from coral growth. The karst terrain supports numerous anchialine caves.[80] The summit of this mountain peak is formed by a succession of Tertiary limestones ranging in age from the Eocene or Oligocene up to recent reef deposits, with intercalations of volcanic rock in the older beds.[81]

Steep cliffs along much of the coast rise abruptly to a central plateau. Elevation ranges from sea level to 361 m (1,184 ft) at Murray Hill. The island is mainly tropical rainforest, 63% of which is national parkland. The narrow fringing reef surrounding the island poses a maritime hazard.

Christmas Island lies 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) northwest of Perth, Western Australia, 350 km (220 mi) south of Indonesia, 975 km (606 mi) ENE of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and 2,748 km (1,708 mi) west of Darwin, Northern Territory. Its closest point to the Australian mainland is 1,560 km (970 mi) from the town of Exmouth, Western Australia.[82]

Matak[edit | edit source]

Matak is located at 3.33°N 106.29°E in the South China Sea.

Borneo[edit | edit source]

This equator monument is at Pontianak, Indonesia. Credit: Netaholic13.

The equatorial monument at Pontianak, Borneo, Indonesia, has Google Earth Latitude: 0° 8'35.40"N Longitude: 109°15'26.78"E.

Sapudi[edit | edit source]

Sapudi is located at 7.15°S 114.35°E.

Bali[edit | edit source]

This is a reconstitution of Java man. Credit: J. H. McGregor, J. Arthur Thomson.
Mesolithic arrow point is in the Bali Museum. Credit: PHGCOM.
Neolithic stone sarcophagus is displayed in the Bali Museum. Credit: .

Bali is located at 8°20'06"S 115°05'17"E.

The ancient occupation of Java itself is accredited by the findings of the Java man, dated between 1.7 and 0.7 million years old, one of the first known specimens of Homo erectus.[83]

Bali also was inhabited in Paleolithic times (1 my BCE to 200,000 BCE), testified by the finding of ancient tools such as hand axes were found in Sembiran and Trunyan villages in Bali.[84][85]

A Mesolithic period (200,000-30,000 BCE) has also been identified, characterized by advanced food gathering and hunting, but still by Homo Erectus.[86] This period yields more sophisticated tools, such as arrow points, and also tools made of animal or fish bones. They lived in temporary caves, such as those found in the Pecatu hills of the Badung regency, such as the Selanding and the Karang Boma caves.[84] The first wave of Homo Sapiens arrived around 45,000 BCE as the Australoid people migrated south, replacing Homo Erectus.[87]

From around 3000 to 600 BCE, a Neolithic culture emerges, characterized by a new wave of inhabitants bringing rice-growing technology and speaking Austronesian languages. These Austronesian peoples seem to have migrated from South China, probably through the Philippines and Sulawesi. Their tools included rectangular adzes and red slipped decorated pottery.[83]

Forests and jungles were cleared for the establishment of cultures and villages.[84] They also made some plaited craft and a small boat was also found.[84] Their culinary habits included pork-eating and betel-chewing.[88] They are thought to have focused on mountain cults.[89] They buried some of their more prestigious dead in oval stone sarcophagi, with human heads or zoomorphic figures sculpted on them.[88] The bodies were either deposited in the sleeping position, or folded in two or three for compactness.[84]

An important neolithic archaeological site in Bali is that of Cekik, in the western part of the island.[88]

These same Austronesian people are thought to have continued their expansion eastward, to occupy Melanesian and Polynesian islands around 2000 years ago.[88] The cultural traits of this period are still clearly visible in the culture of Bali today, and connect it to the cultures of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean.[89]

Bali was inhabited around 2000 BCE by Austronesian people who migrated originally from the island of Taiwan to Southeast Asia and Oceania through Maritime Southeast Asia.[90][91] Culturally and linguistically, the Balinese are closely related to the people of the Indonesian archipelago, Malaysia, the Philippines and Oceania.[91] Stone tools dating from this time have been found near the village of Cekik in the island's west.[90][92]

In ancient Bali, nine Hindu sects existed, namely Pasupata, Bhairawa, Siwa Shidanta, Vaishnava, Bodha, Brahma, Resi, Sora and Ganapatya, where each sect revered a specific deity as its personal Godhead.[93]

Sebuku[edit | edit source]

Sebuku is located at 3.50°S 116.35°E.

Sangeang[edit | edit source]

Sangeang is located at 8.20°S 119.05°E.

Taiwan[edit | edit source]

Chronological dispersal of Austronesian peoples across the Indo-Pacific is diagrammed. Credit: Chambers & Geoff.{{free media}}

Taiwan is located at 25°02'N 121°38'E.

Sulawesi[edit | edit source]

Relief (hypsometric) map of Sulawesi was created with GMT from publicly released SRTM data. Credit: Sadalmelik.

The term Alfur was especially used of peoples in the Maluku Islands (Halmahera,[94] Seram, and Buru among others) and nearby areas of northern and central Sulawesi. Until the 1900s even Papuans were also often called "Alfur".[95]

Togian[edit | edit source]

Togian is located at 0.39°S 121.94°E.

Indonesia[edit | edit source]

Indonesia provinces blank map.svg
West Nusa
East Nusa

Geography[edit | edit source]

This equator monument is at Pontianak, Indonesia. Credit: Netaholic13.

Indonesia lies between latitudes 11th parallel south (11°S) and 6th parallel north (6°N), and longitudes 95th meridian east (95°E) and 141st meridian east (141°E). It is the largest archipelagic country in the world, extending 5,120 kilometres (3,181 mi) from east to west and 1,760 kilometres (1,094 mi) from north to south.[96] According to a geospatial survey conducted between 2007 and 2010 by the Badan Informasi Geospasial (National Mapping Agency), Indonesia has 13,466 islands,[97] scattered over both sides of the equator, and with about 6,000 of them are inhabited.[98] The largest are Java, Sumatra, Borneo (shared with Brunei and Malaysia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea). Indonesia shares land borders with Malaysia on Borneo, Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea, and East Timor on the island of Timor. Indonesia shares maritime borders across narrow straits with Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Palau to the north, and Australia to the south.

Fossils and the remains of tools show that the archipelago was inhabited by Homo erectus, known as "Java Man", between 1.5 million years ago and 35,000 years ago.[99][100][101] Homo sapiens reached the region around 45,000 years ago.[102] Austronesian peoples, who form the majority of the modern population, migrated to Southeast Asia from present-day Taiwan. They arrived around 2,000 BCE, and as they spread through the archipelago, confined the indigenous Melanesian peoples to the far eastern regions.[103] Ideal agricultural conditions and the mastering of wet-field rice cultivation as early as the 8th century BCE[104] allowed villages, towns, and small kingdoms to flourish by the first century CE. Indonesia's strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade, including links with Indian kingdoms and Chinese dynasties, which were established several centuries BCE.[105] Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history.[106][107]

Timor[edit | edit source]

Timor is seen from space in 1989. Credit: NASA.{{fairuse}}
Portrait shows a Timorese warrior in the area of Kupang in 1875, from the report of the expedition of the German ship SMS Gazelle. Credit: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken or made as part of an employee's official duties.{{free media}}

Timor is located at 9°14'S 124°56'E.

Anthropologists identify eleven distinct ethno-linguistic groups in Timor. The largest are the Atoni of western Timor, and the Tetum of central and eastern Timor.[108] Most indigenous Timorese languages belong to the Timor–Babar branch of the Austronesian languages spoken throughout the Indonesian archipelago. Although lexical evidence is lacking,[109] the non-Austronesian languages of Timor are thought to be related to languages spoken on Halmahera and in Western New Guinea.[108]

Tidore[edit | edit source]

Tidore is located at 0.67°N 127.42°E.

Seram[edit | edit source]

Alfur people, most likely Alune people, are located in the mountains of Seram. Credit: Unknown author.
Map shows Seram Island also Ambon Island and Lease Islands. Credit: Lencer.

Seram is located at 3° 08'S 129°30'E.

These peoples practice Animism, Totemism, or Folk religion, but not deism.

Ngulu[edit | edit source]

Ngulu is located at 8.50°N 137.50°E.

Fais[edit | edit source]

Fais is located 9.75°N 140.52°E.

New Guinea[edit | edit source]

Topography map shows New Guinea. Credit: Zamonin.{{free media}}

New Guinea is located at 5°30'S 141°00'E.

The Duna are an indigenous people of Papua New Guinea (also known as Yuna) who live in the north-western area of the Southern Highlands Province and number approximately 11,000 (1991)[110]

Eauripik[edit | edit source]

Eauripik is located at 6.70°N 143.07°E.

Elato[edit | edit source]

Elato is located at 7.45°N 146.15°E.

New Britain[edit | edit source]

Topography of New Britain is an island in Papua New Guinea. Credit: Sadalmelik.
Forced Alfur workers by Japanese soldiers during World War 2 in Rabaul carry the funnel-shaped baskets favored by Alfur people to collect enemy products. Credit: Unknown author.

Many Moluccans like the two in this photograph were not farmers but forest users. Sago and bananas, the two main types of food, come from trees (although the banana tree is not a real tree).

"The true indigenes of Gilolo, 'Alfuros' as they are here called" were noted by the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace[111] Seram, and Buru among others) and nearby areas of northern and central Sulawesi. Until the 1900s even Papuans were also often called "Alfur".

Romanum[edit | edit source]

Romanum is located at 7°26'29"N 151°40'9"E.

Etal[edit | edit source]

Etal is located at 5.41°N 153.51°E.

Kapingamarangi[edit | edit source]

Kapingamarangi is located at 0.57°N 154.71°E.

Nukuoro[edit | edit source]

Nukuoro is located at 3.88°N 154.95°E.

Pohnpei[edit | edit source]

Image shows Pohnpei of Micronesia. Credit: Euniceminjeong.{{free media}}

Pohnpei is located at 6°53'N 158°14'E.

Kosrae[edit | edit source]

Kosrae, or Kusaie, is located 5.11°N 162.88°E.

Nauru[edit | edit source]

This is a satellite picture of Nauru. Credit: U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program.{{free media}}

Nauru is located at 0°32'S 166°55'E.

Fifty-eight percent of people in Nauru are ethnically Nauruan, 26 percent are other Pacific Islander, 8 percent are European, and 8 percent are Han Chinese.[112] Nauruans are descended from Polynesian and Micronesian seafarers. Two of the 12 original tribal groups became extinct in the 20th century.[113]

Nauru is a 21-square-kilometre (8.1 sq mi),[112] oval-shaped island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, 55.95 kilometres (34.77 mi) south of the equator.[114] The island is surrounded by a coral reef, which is exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles.[113] The presence of the reef has prevented the establishment of a seaport, although channels in the reef allow small boats access to the island.[115] A fertile coastal strip 150 to 300 metres (490 to 980 ft) wide lies inland from the beach.[113]

Coral cliffs surround Nauru's central plateau. The highest point of the plateau, called the Command Ridge, is 71 metres (233 ft) above sea level.[116]

The only fertile areas on Nauru are on the narrow coastal belt where coconut palms flourish. The land around Buada Lagoon supports bananas, pineapples, vegetables, Pandanus tectorius (pandanus trees), and indigenous hardwoods, such as the Calophyllum inophyllum (tomano tree).[113]

Banaba[edit | edit source]

Astronaut photo of Banaba, Kiribati with villages and main landmarks, is formerly Ocean Island. Credit: Government of USA, Government of Kiribati.{{free media}}

Banaba is located at 0°51'34"S 169°32'13"E.

It has an area of 6.0 km2,[117] and the highest point on the island is also the highest point in Kiribati, at 81 metres (266 ft) high.[118] Along with Nauru and Makatea (French Polynesia), it is one of the important elevated phosphate-rich islands of the Pacific.[119]

According to "Te Rii Ni Banaba—The Backbone of Banaba" by Raobeia Ken Sigrah, Banaban oral history supports the claim that the people of the Te Aka clan, which originated in Melanesia, were the original inhabitants of Banaba (Ocean Island), having arrived before the arrival of later migrations from the East Indies and Kiribati.

Banabans are ethnically distinct from other I-Kiribati.[120] The Banabans were assimilated only through forced migrations and the impact of the discovery of phosphate in 1900. Prior to the relocation of its inhabitants at the end of World War II,[121] there were four villages on the island - Ooma (Uma), Tabiang, Tapiwa (Tabwewa), and Buakonikai.

A three-year drought starting in 1873 killed over three quarters of the population and wiped out almost all the trees; many of those who survived left the island on passing ships to escape the drought, and only some were able to return, often years later.[118]

Butaritari[edit | edit source]

Map shows Butaritari. Credit: Government of USA, Government of Kiribati.{{free media}}
Portrait shows a native of the Makin islands. Credit: Alfred Thomas Agate (1841).

Butaritari is located at 3°10'04"N 172°49'33"E.

The lagoon is deep and can accommodate large ships, though the entrance passages are relatively narrow.[118]

The south and southeast portion of the atoll comprises a nearly continuous islet, broken only by a single, broad section of interislet reef. These islets are mostly between 0.2 km (0.1 mi) and 0.5 km (0.3 mi) across, but widen in the areas where the reef changes directions. Mangrove swamps appear well developed in these latter areas as well as all along the southern lagoon shore. (Narrow islets are somewhat characteristic of Kiribati atolls running east-west.)[118]

Bikati and Bikatieta islets occupy a corner of the reef at the extreme northwest tip of the atoll, bordering a small lagoon to the north of the main lagoon. There is a village on the larger Bikati (2 by 0.5 km).[118]

An important legend in the culture of Butaritari is that spirits who lived in a tree in Samoa migrated northward carrying branches from the tree, Te Kaintikuaba, which translates as the tree of life.[122] It was these spirits, together with Nareau the Wise who created the islands of Tungaru (the Gilbert Islands).[123][124]

Makin[edit | edit source]

Astronaut photo shows Makin, Kiribati, with villages and main landmarks. Credit: Government of USA, Government of Kiribati.{{free media}}

Makin is located at 3°23'00"N 173°00'00"E.

Makin is the northernmost of the Gilbert Islands, with a population (in 2010) of 1,798.[125]

Kiebu, the second largest islet, has an even smaller, completely landlocked lagoon on its eastern side, with about 80 m in diameter (making an area of about 0.005 km² or 0.5 hectares) and at distance of 60 m to the open sea.[126]

Makin: Population and Land Area
Islet/Village Population 2010[125] Land area (usable)[125] Density Area not available for use[125]
Little Makin 1,364 1,541.5 acres (624 ha) 0.9 people per acre Enclosed lagoon 84.7 acres
Bikin Eitei 8 acres (3 ha)
Aonibike 30.9 acres (13 ha)
Tebua Tarawa 5 acres (2 ha)
Kiebu 434 242.2 acres (98 ha) 1.8 people per acre
Onne 122.6 acres (50 ha)
Makin Total 1,798 1,950.2 acres (789 ha) 0.9 people per acre Enclosed lagoon 84.7 acres

An important legend in the culture of Makin is that spirits who lived in a tree in Samoa migrated northward carrying branches from the tree, Te Kaintikuaba, which translates as the tree of life.[127]

It was these spirits, together with Nareau the Wise who created the islands of Tungaru (the Gilbert Islands).[128][129]

Nakaa Beach is located at the northern tip of Makin Atoll is an important site in the traditional mythology of the island group, being the departing point for the spirits of the dead heading to the underworld. Nakaa is the legendary guardian of the gateway to the place of the dead.[126]

Abaiang[edit | edit source]

Map shows Abaiang. Credit: .{{free media}}

Abaiang is located at 1°50'N 172°57'E.

Abaiang, also known as Apaiang, Apia, and in the past, Charlotte Island,[130][131] in the Northern Gilbert Islands, is a coral atoll of Kiribati, located in the west-central Pacific Ocean.

The atoll has a lagoon 16 by 5 miles (25.7 by 8.0 km) that provides sheltered anchorage.[132]

The channel is between the biggest island of Abaiang (in the east) and a very little island in the southwest of Abaiang called Teirio.[132]

Abaiang: Population and Land Area
Census Area Population 2010[133] Land area by islet[134] Density (people per acre)
Nuotaea 559 330.9 acres (133.9 ha) 1.7
Ribono 341 219.3 acres (88.7 ha) 1.6
Takarano 348 3,552.6 acres (1,437.7 ha) 1.2
Ubanteman 126
Tebunginako 424
Borotiam 375
Aonobuaka 328
Koinawa 312
Morikao 233
Ewena 166
Taburao 322
Tebero 157
Tabwiroa 237
Tuarabu 560
Tanimaiaki 274
Tebwanga 310
Aoneaba 51
Tabontebike 379
Uninhabited islets[135] 0 215.5 acres (87.2 ha) 0
Abaiang total 5,502 4,318.3 acres (1,747.6 ha) 1.3

By tradition, the first inhabitants of Abaiang Island were known to be spirits, some of them created in Samoa and some in Abaiang. Years passed by and then Pacific Islanders came along.

Maiana[edit | edit source]

Astronaut photo shows Maiana, Kiribati, with villages and main landmarks in the Gilbert Islands. Credit: Government of USA, Government of Kiribati.{{free media}}

Maiana is located at 0°55'N 173°00'E.

The atoll is 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) long and is very narrow, with an average width of less than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) and a total land area (including uninhabited islets) of 16.72 square kilometres (6.46 sq mi).[126]

Maiana: Population and Land Area
Census Area Population 2010[136] Land area by islet[136] Density (people per acre)
Tebikerai 93 61.2 acres (25 ha) 1.5
Tebiauea 211 3,805.6 acres (1,540 ha) 0.5
Raweai 214
Bubutei 489
Tekaranga 139
Tematantongo 164
Aobike 110
Tebanga 264
Temwangaua 115
Toora 115
Tebwangetua 65
Teitai 48
Uninhabited islets 0 263.5 acres (107 ha) 0
Maiana total 2,027 4,130.3 acres (1,671 ha) 0.5

Like all of the atolls of Kiribati, Maiana is at serious risk from sea level rise, as even small changes in sea level can cause accelerated erosion and threaten infrastructure, agriculture and water supplies.[126][127]

There are different stories told as to the creation of Maiana and the other islands in the Gilberts. An important legend in the culture of Maiana is that spirits who lived in a tree in Samoa migrated northward carrying branches from the tree, Te Kaintikuaba, which translates as the tree of life. It was these spirits, together with Nareau the Wise who created the islands of Tungaru (the Gilbert Islands).[137][138][139]

Tarawa[edit | edit source]

Map shows South Tarawa (red) and North Tarawa (yellow) within Tarawa Atoll. Credit: Dэя-Бøяg.{{fairuse}}

Tarawa is located at 1°20'N 173°00'E. Tarawa is an atoll and the capital of the Republic of Kiribati,[140][141][142] in the central Pacific Ocean.

The islets are separated in places by wide channels that are best crossed at low tide, and there is a ferry service between Buota and Abatao.[143]

On South Tarawa, the construction of causeways has now created a single strip of land from Betio in the west to Tanaea in the northeast.[144]

In Kiribati mythology, Tarawa was the earth when the land, ocean and sky had not been cleaved yet by Nareau the spider. Thus after calling the sky karawa and the ocean marawa, he called the piece of rock that Riiki (another god that Nareau found) had stood upon when he lifted up the sky as, Tarawa. Nareau then created the rest of the islands in Kiribati and also Samoa.

People arrived on these islands thousands of years ago, and there have been migrations to and from Kiribati since antiquity.[145]

Evidence from a range of sources, including carbon dating and DNA analyses, confirms that the exploration of the Pacific included settlement of the Gilbert Islands by around 200 BC. The people of Kiribati are still excellent seafarers, capable of making ocean crossings in locally made vessels using traditional navigation techniques.[146]

Marakei[edit | edit source]

Astronaut photo shows Marakei, Kiribati, with villages and main landmarks. Credit: Government of USA, Government of Kiribati.{{free media}}
Shrine shows one of the four "ghosts" of Marakei. Credit: Obkiribati1.

Marakei is located at 2°00'N 173°17'E.

Two narrow channels, which are not navigable at low tide, link the lagoon with the sea; these are called Baretoa Pass and Raweta Pass.[126]

The construction of causeways have also resulted to significant reduction in the flushing of the lagoon that has resulted in low levels of oxygen in the lagoon, which has resulted in the water becoming stagnant so that fish no longer found in the lagoon.[147] The erosion and accretion that are occurring along the shoreline is identified as being linked to aggregate mining, land reclamation and the construction of causeways that has been thought to change the currents along the shoreline.[147]

There are different stories told as to the creation of Marakei and the other islands in the Southern Gilberts. An important legend in the culture of Marakei is that spirits who lived in a tree in Samoa migrated northward carrying branches from the tree, Te Kaintikuaba, which translates as the tree of life.[147] It was these spirits, together with Nareau the Wise who created the islands of Tungaru (the Gilbert Islands).[148][149]

The "katabwanin" is a tradition unique to Marakei; first time visitors need to pay their respects to the four ghosts of Marakei, travelling anticlockwise, before any other activities. Offerings of tobacco, sweets or money at the shrines of Nei Reei, Nei Rotebenua, Nei Tangangau and Nei Nantekimam will secure a happy stay in Marakei.

This shrine in the image on the left is at the northern tip of the island, near the airport.

Kuria[edit | edit source]

Astronaut photo shows Kuria, Kiribati with villages and main landmarks. Credit: Government of USA, Government of Kiribati.{{free media}}
Dancers welcome important visitors to Kuria Island, Kiribati. Credit: Photo taken by Government of Kiribati employee in the course of their work.
Kuria Islands is viewed from the air. Credit: Flexmaen.

Kuria is located at 0°13'N 173°24'E.

The myths and oral traditions of the Kiribati people have been recorded.[150][151]

Aranuka[edit | edit source]

Astronaut photo shows Aranuka, Kiribati with villages and main landmarks. Credit: Government of USA, Government of Kiribati.{{free media}}
Map shows the Gilbert Islands. Credit: Pitichinaccio.{{fairuse}}

Aranuka is located at 0°09'N 173°35'E.

Aranuka is by tradition the island in the middle of Kiribati and the location for the formation and separation of all the islands of Kiribati which was first started by the God of our Ancestors, Nareau. That is why Aranuka was formerly named and known as Ananuka – the middle of it.[152]

Abemama[edit | edit source]

Credit: .{{free media}}
Abemama atoll is photographed from the air. Credit: Flexmaen.

Abemama is located at 0°24'N 173°50'E.

Abemama (Apamama)[153] is an atoll, one of the Gilberts group in Kiribati, and is located 152 kilometres (94 miles) southeast of Tarawa and just north of the Equator. Abemama has an area of 27.37 square kilometres (10.57 square miles) and a population of 3,299 2015. The islets surround a deep lagoon. The eastern part of the atoll of Abemama is linked together by causeways making automobile traffic possible between the different islets. The outlying islands of Abatiku and Biike are situated on the southwestern side of the atoll.[154]

Abemama was formerly known as Roger Simpson Island,[155] Dundas Island, Hopper Island, or Simpson Island.[156]

Most of the important food crops in Kiribati such as coconut, giant taro, pandanus and breadfruit grow well in Abemama.[154]

Nonouti[edit | edit source]

Map shows Nonouti. Credit: Government of USA, Government of Kiribati.{{free media}}
NASA astronaut image shows the eastern part of Nonouti Atoll, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati. Credit: NASA.

Nonouti is located at 0°40'S 174°20E.

The eastern area of the atoll consists of tiny islets and islands which form a continuous line.[157]

Tabiteuea[edit | edit source]

Satellite photograph shows Tabiteuea (NE top). Credit: .{{free media}}
A drawing featuring a warrior of Drummond Island in 1841. Credit: Alfred Thomas Austin.{{free media}}
Drawing of a native of the island, shows his distinctive conical headdress. Credit: Alfred Thomas Austin.{{free media}}

Tabiteuea is located at 1°21'S 174°48'E.

The islanders have customary fishing practices related to the lagoon and the open ocean.[158]

Tabiteuea North has a land area of 26 km2 (10 sq mi) and a population of 3,600 as of 2005, distributed among twelve villages (capital Utiroa)[159]

Tabiteuea South has a land area of 12 km2 (4.6 sq mi) and a population of 1,299, distributed among six villages (capital Buariki).[160]

Onotoa[edit | edit source]

Beru[edit | edit source]

Tamana[edit | edit source]

Nikunau[edit | edit source]

Arorae[edit | edit source]

Howland Island[edit | edit source]

Howland Island is seen from space. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

Howland Island is located at 0°48'25.85"N 176°36'59.48"W.

For statistical purposes, Howland is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands.[161] The island has an elongated banana-shape on a north–south axis, and covers 2.6 square kilometres (640 acres).[162]

The island is visited every two years by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.[163]

Sparse remnants of trails and other artifacts indicate a sporadic early Polynesian presence. A canoe, a blue bead, pieces of bamboo, and other relics of early settlers have been found.

"Howland's Island, although naturally uninhabitable, gave various indications of early visitors, probably natives drifting from windward islands, whose traces were still visible in the remains of a canoe, a blue bead, pieces of bamboo, and other distinctly characteristic belongings."[164] The island's prehistoric settlement may have begun about 1000 BC when eastern Melanesians traveled north[165] and may have extended down to Rawaki Island, Kanton Island, Manra Island and Orona of the Phoenix Islands, 500 to 700 km southeast. K.P. Emery, an ethnologist for Honolulu's Bernice P. Bishop Museum, indicated that settlers on Manra Island were apparently of two distinct groups, one Polynesian and the other Micronesian,[166] hence the same might have been true on Howland Island, though no proof of this has been found.

The difficult life on these isolated islands along with unreliable fresh water supplies may have led to the dereliction or extinction of the settlements, much the same as other islands in the area (such as Kiritimati and Pitcairn Islands) were abandoned.[167]

Baker Island[edit | edit source]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service aerial view shows Baker Island. Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.{{free media}}

Baker Island is at 00°13'N 176°28'W.

Winslow Reef[edit | edit source]

Winslow Reef is a submerged coral reef located at 01°36'S 174°57'W.

"We had one particularity: coming down on Winslow Reef, p. d. (position doubtful): two positions in the directory, a third (if you cared to count that) on the chart; heavy sea running, and the night due. The boats were cleared, bread put on board, and we made up our packets for a boat voyage of four or five hundred miles, and turned in, expectant of a crash. Needless to say, it did not come, and no doubt we were far to leeward."[168]

The reef was discovered by the whaler Phoenix in 1851, and the name of the whaler became attached to the entire group of islands.[169] Perry Winslow was the master of Phoenix on this voyage.[170]

Nikumaroro[edit | edit source]

Gardner Island is located at 04°40'S 174°31'W.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) made several expeditions to Nikumaroro during the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, finding possible evidence, but no conclusive proof, of this theory.[171] Investigation and expeditions to the island continue.[172]

McKean Island[edit | edit source]

McKean Island is located at 03°36'S 174°08'W.

Actively worked for guano in the mid-19th century, it was abandoned by 1870, and no further use has been made of it.[173]

Carondelet Reef[edit | edit source]

Carondelet Reef is located at 05°34'S 173°51'W.

Carondelet Reef is a horseshoe-shaped reef of the Phoenix Islands, also known as the Rawaki Islands, in the Republic of Kiribati, is located 106 km southeast of Nikumaroro, and has a least depth of 1.8 meters, reported to be approximately 1.5 km in length.[174]

Carondelet Reef was named after the vessel which reported it in about 1899.[175]

Kiribati[edit | edit source]

This is a map of Kiribati. Credit: US Dept of Congress, 1989.{{free media}}
This is a map of the Pacific Ocean basin. Credit: National Geographic Society.

Kiribati is located at 1°25'N 173°00'W. It's one of those volcanic peaks in the central Pacific as shown on this map of the Pacific Ocean basin.

Kiribati consists of 32 atolls and one solitary island (Banaba), extending into the eastern and western hemispheres, as well as the northern and southern hemispheres. It is the only country that is situated within all four hemispheres.[176] The groups of islands are:

  • Banaba: an isolated island between Nauru and the Gilbert Islands
  • Gilbert Islands: 16 atolls located some 1,500 kilometres (932 mi) north of Fiji
  • Phoenix Islands: 8 atolls and coral islands located some 1,800 kilometres (1,118 mi) southeast of the Gilberts
  • Line Islands: 8 atolls and one reef, located about 3,300 kilometres (2,051 mi) east of the Gilberts

Banaba (or Ocean Island) is a raised-coral island. It was once a rich source of phosphates, but was exhausted in mining before independence.[177][178] The rest of the land in Kiribati consists of the sand and reef rock islets of atolls or coral islands, which rise only one or two metres above sea level.

The soil is thin and calcareous. It has a low water-holding capacity and low organic matter and nutrient content—except for calcium, sodium, and magnesium. Banaba is one of the least suitable places for agriculture in the world.[179]

Kiritimati (Christmas Island) in the Line Islands is the world's largest atoll. Based on a 1995 realignment of the International Date Line, the Line Islands were the first area to enter into a new year, including year 2000. For that reason, Caroline Island has been renamed Millennium Island.[180]

Orona[edit | edit source]

Hull Island is located at 04°30'S 172°10'W.

An ancient stone marae stands on the eastern tip of the island, together with ruins of shelters, graves and other platforms.[181]

Kanton Island[edit | edit source]

Canton Island is shown on NLT Landsat 7 (Visible Color) Satellite Image. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
This globally biologically important area is called the Polynesian/Micronesian hotspot. Credit: Kerry Lagueux, New England Aquarium.{{free media}}

Kanton Island is located at 02°48'38"S 171°40'32"W.

Kanton has been described as being shaped like a large pork chop.[182] From its northwest to southeast points is a distance of 14.5 km (9.0 mi), while the land rim varies in width from 50–600 m (160–2,000 ft) and 1.5–7 m (5–25 ft) in elevation. The southeast corner of the island is known as "Pyramid Point." The sole entrances to the lagoon are on the west side, with the main channel exhibiting currents of 6–8 knots (3–4 m/s).[183] The lagoon itself is filled with marine life, holding 153 different species of fish,[184] including tuna, sharks, stingrays and eels. An unpaved road runs around the island, though its current state of repair is uncertain. Canton Island Airport Airport codes CIS PCIS lies at the northwest corner of the island, but it currently lacks any commercial scheduled service. The World Port Index number of Kanton Island is 56025.[185]

Birnie Island[edit | edit source]

Birnie Island is located at 03°35'S 171°33'W.

There is no anchorage, but landing can be made on the lee beach.[186]

Manra[edit | edit source]

Sydney Island is located at 04°27'S 171°15'W.

Two groups of people were present on Manra, one from eastern Polynesia, the other from Micronesia, where wells and pits from these early inhabitants were found.[187]

Enderbury Island[edit | edit source]

Astronaut image shows Enderbury Island in the Pacific Ocean. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

Enderbury Island is located at 3°08'S 171°05'W.

Rawaki[edit | edit source]

Phoenix Island is located at 03°43'S 170°43'W.

Rawaki does have several freshwater pools, the only known freshwater wetlands in the Phoenix Islands.[188] Worked for guano from 1859 to 1871, Rawaki was abandoned and no human use seems to have been made of it thereafter.[189]

Jarvis Island[edit | edit source]

Satphoto shows Jarvis Island; note the submerged reef beyond the eastern end. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Map shows the central Pacific Ocean including Jarvis and neighboring islands. Credit: United States Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook.

Jarvis Island, formerly known as Bunker Island, or Bunker's Shoal is located at 0°22'S 160°01'W in the South Pacific Ocean.[190]

It is an unincorporated, unorganized territory of the United States, administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system.[191]

The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians, and share many similar traits including language family, culture, and beliefs.[192]

Kiritimati[edit | edit source]

Photograph was taken from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

Christmas Island is located at 1°53'N 157°24'W.

Archaeologists have since identified remains of coral marae platforms and/or village complexes on Kiritmati dateable as far back as the 14th century, and show that the inhabitants of the Line Islands were more than just castaways.[193]

Malden[edit | edit source]

NASA orbital photo shows Malden Island (north at top). Credit: .
Boat Landing on Malden Island shows ruins of old settlement. Credit: Angela K. Kepler.
Early Polynesian ruins are shown on Malden Island. Credit: .

Malden is located at 4°1'S 154°56'W.

The island is chiefly notable for its mysterious prehistoric ruins.

In 1924, the Malden ruins were examined by an archaeologist from the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Kenneth Emory, who concluded that they were the creation of a small Polynesian population which had resided there for perhaps several generations some centuries earlier.

The ancient stone structures are located around the beach ridges, principally on the north and south sides. A total of 21 archaeological sites have been discovered, three of which (on the island's northwest side) are larger than the others.[194] These sites include temple platforms, called marae, house sites, and graves. Comparisons with stone structures on Tuamotu atolls show that a population of between 100 and 200 natives could have produced all of the Malden structures. Maraes of a similar type are found on Raivavae, one of the Austral Islands. Various wells used by these ancients were found by later settlers to be dry or brackish.[195]

Darwin[edit | edit source]

Darwin is located at 1.678°N 92.003°W in the Galápagos Islands.

Isabela[edit | edit source]

Isabela is located at 00°30'S 91°04'W in the Galápagos Islands.

Galápagos Islands[edit | edit source]

Satellite photo shows the Galápagos islands overlaid with the names of the visible main islands. Credit: NASA.
Topographic and bathymetric map shows the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Credit: Eric Gaba.{{free media}}

The islands are found at the coordinates 1°40'N–1°36'S, 89°16'–92°01'W. Straddling the equator, islands in the chain are located in both the northern and southern hemispheres, with Volcán Wolf and Volcán Ecuador on Isla Isabela being directly on the equator.

According to a 1952 study by Thor Heyerdahl and Arne Skjølsvold, potsherds and other artifacts from several sites on the islands suggest visitation by South American peoples in pre-Columbian era.[196] The group located an Inca flute and shards from more than 130 pieces of ceramics, which were later identified as pre-Incan. However, no remains of graves, ceremonial vessels and constructions have ever been found, suggesting no permanent settlement occurred before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century.[197] It is not clear who the first visitors to the islands were, but they were probably sailors blown off course or people on hapless fishing boats blown out to sea. Most of them were likely unimpressed by the lack of fresh water on the islands. Whether the Incas ever made it here is disputed; in 1572, Spanish chronicler Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa claimed that Topa Inca Yupanqui, the second Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire had visited the archipelago, but there is little evidence for this, and many experts consider it a far-fetched legend, especially since the Incas were not seafaring people.[198]

Ecuador[edit | edit source]

This is the equator marker in Cayambe, Ecuador. Credit: Kryptonit.
The volcano Cayambe is located on the equator. Credit: Fabricio Guzmán T.
This shows the equatorial marker Mitad del Mundo, Quito, Ecuador. Credit: Diego Delso.
Tumaco-La Tolita mythological figure is shown in feathered costume. Between 100 BC and 100 AD. Found in Esmeraldas. Credit: Marsupium.

The volcano Cayambe is located at 0.029°0′0″N 77.986°0′0″W. It is the only permanent snow (glacier) capped peak along the equator.

An equatorial marker in Cayambe, Ecuador, is shown on the right.

Another equatorial marker in Ecuador is Mitad del Mundo, Quito, second image down on the right.

Ecuador is located at 2°00'S 77°30'W.

The archeological evidence suggests that the Paleo-Indians' first dispersal into the Americas occurred near the end of the last glacial period, around 16,500–13,000 years ago.

Colombia[edit | edit source]

Prehistoric art at the Chiribiquete National Park are more than 20,000 years old. Credit: EFE.
San Agustín Archaeological Park
Ciudad Perdida ("The Lost City")
Muisca raft refers to the ceremony of the legend of El Dorado. Credit: Pedro Szekely from Los Angeles, USA.

Colombia is located at 4°N 72°W.

Owing to its location, the present territory of Colombia was a corridor of early human civilization from Mesoamerica and the Caribbean to the Andes and Amazon basin. The oldest archaeological finds are from the Pubenza and El Totumo sites in the Magdalena Valley 100 kilometres (62 mi) southwest of Bogotá.[199] These sites date from the Paleoindian period (18,000–8000 BCE). At Puerto Hormiga and other sites, traces from the Archaic Period (~8000–2000 BCE) have been found. Vestiges indicate that there was also early occupation in the regions of El Abra and Tequendama in Cundinamarca. The oldest pottery discovered in the Americas, found at [San Jacinto, dates to 5000–4000 BCE.[200]

Indigenous people inhabited the territory that is now Colombia by 12,500 BCE. Nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes at the El Abra, Tibitó and Tequendama sites near present-day Bogotá traded with one another and with other cultures from the Magdalena River Valley.[201] Between 5000 and 1000 BCE, hunter-gatherer tribes transitioned to agrarian societies; fixed settlements were established, and pottery appeared. Beginning in the 1st millennium BCE, groups of Amerindians including the Muisca, Zenú, Quimbaya, and Tairona developed the political system of cacicazgos with a pyramidal structure of power headed by caciques. The Muisca inhabited mainly the area of what is now the Departments of Boyacá and Cundinamarca high plateau (Altiplano Cundiboyacense) where they formed the Muisca Confederation. They farmed maize, potato, quinoa and cotton, and traded gold, emeralds, blankets, ceramic handicrafts, coca and especially rock salt with neighboring nations. The Tairona inhabited northern Colombia in the isolated mountain range of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.[202] The Quimbaya inhabited regions of the Cauca River Valley between the Western and Central Ranges of the Colombian Andes.[203] Most of the Amerindians practiced agriculture and the social structure of each indigenous community was different. Some groups of indigenous people such as the Caribs lived in a state of permanent war, but others had less bellicose attitudes.[204] The Incas expanded their empire onto the southwest part of the country.[205]

Suriname[edit | edit source]

Suriname is located at 4°N 56°W.

The early history of Suriname dates from 3000 BCE when Native Americans first inhabited the area. The largest nations at the time of colonialization were the Arawaks, a nomadic coastal tribe that lived from hunting and fishing, and the Caribs. The Caribs conquered the Arawaks along much of the coast, and into the Caribbean, using sailing ships.[206][207] They settled in Galibi (Kupali Yumï, meaning "tree of the forefathers") on the mouth of the Marowijne river. While the Arawak and Carib lived off the coast and savanna, smaller groups of indigenous peoples lived in the rainforest inland, such as the Akurio, Trió, Warrau, and Wayana.

Brazil[edit | edit source]

This is the The Marco Zero monument marking the equator in Macapá, Brazil. Credit: Jorge Andrade from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Cave painting at Serra da Capivara National Park is one of the largest and oldest concentrations of prehistoric sites in the Americas.[208]
Burial urn, Marajoara culture, American Museum of Natural History. That culture appeared to flourish between 800 AD and 1400 AD, based on archeological studies.[209]

On the right is the equatorial marker in Macapá, Brazil.

Brazil is located at 10°S 52°W.

Some of the earliest human remains found in the Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provide evidence of human habitation going back at least 11,000 years.[210][211]

The earliest pottery ever found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon dated to 8,000 years ago (6000 BC). The pottery was found near Santarém and provides evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture.[212] The Marajoara culture flourished on Marajó in the Amazon delta from 800 CE to 1400 CE, developing sophisticated pottery, social stratification, large populations, mound building, and complex social formations such as chiefdoms.[209]

Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people,[213] mostly semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting, fishing, gathering, and migrant agriculture. The indigenous population of Brazil comprised several large indigenous ethnic groups (e.g. the Tupis, Guaranis, Gês and Arawaks). The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, and there were also many subdivisions of the other groups.[214]

Before the arrival of the Europeans, the boundaries between these groups and their subgroups were marked by wars that arose from differences in culture, language and moral beliefs.[215] These wars also involved large-scale military actions on land and water, with cannibalistic rituals on prisoners of war.[216][217] While heredity had some weight, leadership status was more subdued over time, than allocated in succession ceremonies and conventions.[215] Slaver among the Indians had a different meaning than it had for Europeans, since it originated from a diverse socioeconomic organization, in which asymmetries were translated into kinship relations.[218]

Caviana[edit | edit source]

Satellite picture by Sentinel-2 shows Ilha Caviana. Credit: European Space Agency.{{free media}}

Caviana is located at 0°10'N 50°00'W.

Marajó[edit | edit source]

Satellite image shows the mouths of Amazon River in Brazil, with Marajó Island in the center, and the cities (in red) of Macapá (left) and Belém (right). Credit: NASA.{{free media}}

Marajó is located at 0°59'S 49°35'W in the delta of the Amazon River.

The island was the site of an advanced pre-Columbian society, the Marajoara culture, which existed from approximately 400 BC to 1600 AD. The island has been a center of archaeological exploration and scholarship since the 19th century.[219] Scholars from the 1980s forward have divided the pre-Columbian period into the Ananatuba phase (c. 1100–c. 200 BC), the Mangueiras phase (c. 1000 BC–c. 100 AD), the Formiga phase (c. 100-400 AD), the Marajoará phase (c. 400-1200 AD), and the Aruã phase (1200-1500 AD).[219]

Since the 1990s, there has been debate over the origins and sophistication of Marajó's pre-Columbian society. Based on fieldwork in the 1940s and 1950s, the archaeologist Betty Meggers initially argued that the Marajoara culture had been founded by emigrants from the Andes, and that the society steadily declined until its final collapse in around 1400 AD, due to the Marajó's poor soil fertility and other environmental factors. Megger's hypotheses subsequently became associated with environmental determinism. However, her claims has since been rejected by the archaeologist Anna Curtenius Roosevelt, who re-excavated Marajó in the 1980s. According to Roosevelt, the Marajoara culture developed independently within the Amazon, and featured both intensive subsistence agriculture and major public works.[220]

Roosevelt estimated that Marajó had a population of possibly over 100,000 people at its peak.[221] The population lived in homes with tamped earth floors, organized themselves into matrilineal clans, and divided tasks by sex, age, and skill level.

Mosqueiro[edit | edit source]

Island of Mosqueiro shows the city of Belém in yellow, and the town of Vila in red. Credit: Wellber Drayton.{{free media}}

Mosqueiro is located at 1.1°S 48.4°W.

Rocas Atoll[edit | edit source]

Rocas Atoll, Brazil, photographed from the International Space Station by the crew of Expedition 22. Credit: Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center.

The atoll is of volcanic origin and coralline formation.

Rocas Atoll is located at 03°52'S 33°49'W.

Fernando de Noronha[edit | edit source]

Satellite picture shows Fernando de Noronha. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Main island is from the airplane down to Fernando de Noronha - from North-East. Credit: Chronus.{{free media}}

Fernando de Noronha is located at 3°51'13.71"S 32°25'25.63"W.

Ascension[edit | edit source]

Satellite picture shows Ascension Island in 2010. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.{{free media}}
Ascension is a volcanic island and the Devil's Ashpit is located at about 7°57'21.58"S 14°19'49.75"W. Credit: ERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD.{{free media}}

Ascension Island is located at 7°56'S 14°22'W.

Although volcanic activity is mainly associated with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge plate boundary 80 km to the west, Ascension also displays some features which are commonly associated with hotspot volcanism. This appears to be the result of a smaller mantle plume that originally formed under the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, before the African plate, along with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge itself, drifted eastward – leaving the (stationary) plume at its current location west of the ridge.[222] Its last eruption may have occurred in the sixteenth century. Due to its short above-water history, its soil consists mostly of clinker.[223]

The island consists of a wide range of alkaline rocks atypical for oceanic islands, ranging from basalt through trachyandesite and trachyte to rhyolite.[222]

Bobowasi[edit | edit source]

Bobowasi Island is located at 04°52'N 02°15'W.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Cool Planet | Oxfam Education". Oxfam.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  2. Bay, Edna (1998). Wives of the Leopard: Gender, Politics, and Culture in the Kingdom of Dahomey. University of Virginia Press. 
  3. Akinjogbin, I.A. (1967). Dahomey and Its Neighbors: 1708–1818. Cambridge University Press. OCLC 469476592. 
  4. Law, Robin (1986). "Dahomey and the Slave Trade: Reflections on the Historiography of the Rise of Dahomey". The Journal of African History 27 (2): 237–267. doi:10.1017/s0021853700036665. 
  5. Creevey, Lucy; Ngomo, Paul; Vengroff, Richard (2005). "Party Politics and Different Paths to Democratic Transitions: A Comparison of Benin and Senegal". Party Politics 11 (4): 471–493. doi:10.1177/1354068805053213. 
  6. Harms, Robert W. (2002). The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade. Basic Books. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-465-02872-6. https://books.google.com/books?id=0YILMba_EnoC. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  7. Alpern, Stanley B. (1998). Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-85065-362-2. https://books.google.com/books?id=Fdtg4e5_WoIC. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Chisholm (1911).
  9. 9.0 9.1 EB (1878).
  10. "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd ed." (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010..
  11. "Satellite View and Map of São Tomé and Príncipe" Nations Online. Retrieved 2014-9-26.
  12. Projecção a nível distrital 2012 - 2020, Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  13. Instituto Nacional de Estatística.
  14. Sailing Directions (Enroute), Pub. 123: Southwest Coast of Africa (PDF). Sailing Directions. United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. 2017. p. 74.
  15. McNeil Jr, Donald G. (16 September 2010). "Precursor to H.I.V. Was in Monkeys for Millenniums, Study Says". The New York Times.
  16. Aymemí, R.P Antonio (1942). The History of the Bubis on Fernando Po. Colleen Truelsen (trans.). Imprenta de Galo Saez. Chapter 1. 
  17. Digital.CSIC: Arqueología en el Estuario del Muni (Guinea Ecuatorial)
  18. Bostoen (K.), Clist (B.), Doumenge (C.), Grollemund (R.), Hombert (J.-M.), Koni Muluwa (J.) & Maley (J.), 2015, Middle to Late Holocene Paleoclimatic Change and the Early Bantu Expansion in the Rain Forests of Western Central Africa, Current Anthropology, 56 (3), pp.354-384.
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