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The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire by Kent Flannery & Joyce Marcus

The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire by Kent Flannery & Joyce Marcus

Author:Kent Flannery & Joyce Marcus [Flannery, Kent & Marcus, Joyce]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
ISBN: 9780674064690
Amazon: 0674064690
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Published: 2012-05-07T04:00:00+00:00


Land and Power in Tonga

At the heart of the Tongan invasions of other islands was an important difference between the aspirations of Samoan and Tongan chiefs. Samoan ali’i, as we have seen, wanted to accumulate noble titles. Tongan chiefs wanted garden land.

In Samoa and Fiji, land was the corporate property of clans or villages. In Tonga, all agricultural land was controlled by the Tui Tonga but could be delegated to lesser chiefs. Commoners might be given permission to create gardens on the high chief’s land, but in the end the chief could take anything he wanted. On Tongatapu alone, seven tracts were set aside for the Tui Tonga.

Most chiefs also controlled the best fishing areas. Only commoners who lived on the coast could fish; those who lived inland were limited to trading yams, taro, and fruits for fish. The first fish from each catch, like the thighs of sacrificed animals delivered to Kachin chiefs, went to the Tui Tonga.

The wealth generated by gardens and fishing stations gave Tongan chiefs added incentive to invade resource-rich areas such as Western Samoa. Chiefly monopoly of resources also denied lesser nobles a way to support their followers, undermining the traditional continuum of rank based on sacred life force.



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