Polynesian Historical Timeline


This is a timeline representing the history of Polynesia. This is a very small sample and these dates are not difinitive. This Polynesian timeline is meant to be read as a linear comparison of estimates and theoeries about events related to history of the people and Polynesians in the Pacific throughout history.


Polynesian Timeline BCE until 1501 CE

Estimated Date Event
3000 BCE - 1000 BCE Migration of Autronesian people from East Asia to Maritime Southeast Asia
1500 BCE - 1000 BCE Lapita Culture (Neolithic Austronesian people) villages and settlements in the Pacific area from Pupua New Guinea to Tonga and Sāmoa.
1000 BCE - 900 BCE First settlements in Fiji, Tonga, and Sāmoa by Lapita Culture, likely the begining of Polynesian culture
900 BCE - 900 BCE Pottery related to Lapita Culture found in Tikopia dated to 900 BCE
830 CE - 1000 CE First exploration, migration and settlements of Polynesians from west to Rarotonga
830 CE - 1200 CE First exploration, migration and settlements of Polynesians from West (Tonga, and Sāmoa) to East Polynesia (Rarotonga, Tahiti)
900 CE - 900 CE First exploration, migration and settlements of Polynesians in Hawaiʻi
900 CE - 1250 CE Tangi‘ia Nui from Tahiti and Karika from Sāmoa settle in Rarotonga
900 CE - 950 CE Estimated date of Tuʻi Tonga ʻAhoʻeitu, the first King of Tonga and the expansive Tongan empire
900 - 1200 Estimated Polynesian migrations to and settlement in Tikopia from Tonga, Tuvalu, ʻUvea, Futuna, and later Sāmoa from 900 - 1200
900 - 1200 Estimated Polynesian migrations to and settlement in Anuta from Tonga, ʻUvea and later Sāmoa from 900 - 1200
900 - 900 Polynesian migration to and settlement in Niuē from Sāmoa estmated around 900 CE
1000 - 1100 Estimated date for settlement of Tokelau atolls likely by Sāmoans
1000 - 1200 Polynesian migration, settlement and trade between Mangareva and Hiti au rereva (now aka. Pitcairn Island)
1050 - 1210 First exploration, migration and settlements of Polynesians in Rapa Nui (now aka. Easter Island / Isla de Pascua)
1100 - 1200 Migration to and settlement in Tuamotu islands likely from Tahiti and/or surrounds islands such as Ra‘iātea.
1200 - 1200 First exploration, migration and settlements of Polynesians in Aoteatoa (now aka. New Zealand)
1200 - 1200 Likely exploration and voyaging of Polynesians arriving in South America and/or contact between Polynesians with natives of South America
1200 - 1500 Tongan empire expand durring this era with Tuʻi Tonga Momo (#10) and his son Tuʻi Tonga Tuʻitātui (#11) at its height
1250 - 1300 Tuʻi Tonga Talakaifaiki is defeated by Tuna, Fata, and Savea. Tuʻi Tonga then leaves Sāmoa
1300 - 1350 The departure of Tuʻi Tonga from Sāmoa include events such as the oratory "Mālie toa, mālie tau..." and the establishment of the Mālietoa paramount chief title and dynasty in Sāmoa.
1300 - 1400 Possible date range for migrations to Tuvalu from Sāmoa and Tonga
1500 - 1500 Migration to and settlement in Niuē from Tonga estimated around 1500

Polynesian Timeline 1502 until 1699

Estimated Date Event
1520 - 1520 Fleet led by Ferdinand Magellan enters Pacific, sailing from the Altantic Ocean November 1520.
1568 - 1568 Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña Neira sights island (atoll) near Tuvalu, possibly Nui island (atoll) in 1568
1642 - 1642 Abel Tasman arrives at Aotearoa (now aka. New Zealand) sighting land on December 13, 1642

Polynesian Timeline 1700 until 1799

Estimated Date Event
1722 - 1722 Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen arrives at Rapa Nui on Eastern April 5, 1722
1722 - 1722 Jacob Roggeveen arrives at Tuamotu islands May 1722
1722 - 1722 Jacob Roggeveen arrives near shore of Sāmoa islands June 1722
1765 - 1765 Commodore John Byron sails near and sights Atafu atoll, Tokelau in 1765
1769 - 1769 Lieutenant James Cook arrives at Matavai Bay, Tahiti April 13, 1769
1769 - 1769 Tupaia of Ra‘iātea travels with Lt James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks on Endeavour, recruited for his skills in navigation and knowledge of Polynesian islands July 1769
1769 - 1769 Tupaia facilitates culture and communication between the Māori people and Lt James Cook upon arrival at Aotearoa (now aka. New Zealand) October 6, 1769
1774 - 1774 Commander James Cook arrives near shore of Niuē island June 1774
1778 - 1778 Post-Captain James Cook arrives at Waimea, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi January 1778
1788 - 1788 Pōmare I becomes first king of unified Tahiti in modern recorded history.
1789 - 1789 After a mutiny on HMS Bounty, Lieutenant William Bligh and crew in a launch boat, travelled an estimated 5,600 kilometers (3,480 miles) from Tofua, Tonga to arrive in Timor on June 14, 1789
1790 - 1790 Mutineers of the HMS Bounty, Tahitian men and Tahitian women arrive and settle on Hiti au rereva (now aka. Pitcairn Island) on January 15, 1790

Polynesian Timeline 1800 until 1899

Estimated Date Event
1810 - 1819 Kamehameha I (Paiʻea) becomes Aliʻi nui (supreme high chief) of all Hawai‘ian Islands, unifying them into the Ke Aupūni o Hawai‘i (Kingdom of Hawaiʻi) April 1810
1819 - 1824 Kamehameha II (Liholiho) becomes Aliʻi nui of Hawai‘i on May 20, 1819
1825 - 1854 Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) becomes Aliʻi nui of Hawai‘i on June 6, 1825
1842 - 1842 France declares Tahiti a French protectorate called Établissements français d'Océanie (EFO) (French Establishments/Settlements of Oceania)
1848 - 1848 Great Māhele came into effect established by Kamehameha III and the 1840 Constitution to divide and allocate land in Hawai‘i March 7, 1848
1850 - 1850 Kuleana Act of 1850 confirmed resolutions of the King and Privy Council created a system for private land ownership including granting common people allodial titles for their own land in Hawai‘i August 6, 1850
1855 - 1863 Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho) becomes Aliʻi nui of Hawai‘i on January 11, 1855
1863 - 1872 Kamehameha V (Lot Kapuaiwa) becomes Aliʻi nui of Hawai‘i on November 30, 1863
1873 - 1874 Lunalilo (William Charles Lunalilo) is elected Aliʻi nui of Hawai‘i on January 8, 1873
1874 - 1891 Kalākaua (David Kalākaua) is elected Aliʻi nui of Hawai‘i on February 12, 1874
1887 - 1887 The HHMS Kaʻimiloa, Hawaiʻian Royal Navy ship of King Kalākaua traveled from Hawaiʻi to Sāmoa
1887 - 1887 King Kalākaua forced to sign Ke Kumukānāwai o ka Makahiki 1887, the 1887 Constitution of the Hawaiʻian Kingdom (aka. Bayonet Constitution).
1891 - 1893 Liliʻuokalani (Lydia Kamakaʻeha Liliʻuokalani) becomes Aliʻi nui of Hawai‘i on January 29, 1891
1893 - 1893 Ke Aupūni o Hawai‘i (Kingdom of Hawaiʻi) and Queen Liliʻuokalani is overthrown and abolished led by Committee of Safety on January 17, 1893
1893 - 1893 Aupuni Kūikawā o Hawaiʻi (Provisional Government of Hawaiʻi) established by the Committee of Safety
1894 - 1898 United States of America annexation of Hawaiʻi as a Territory of the United States on August 12, 1898
1898 - 1898 United States of America annexation of Hawaiʻi and established Panalāʻau o Hawaiʻi (Territory of of Hawaiʻi) in 1898

Polynesian Timeline 1900 until 1999

Estimated Date Event
1904 - 1904 Tui Manu’a Elisala signed Deed of Succession of Manuʻa to the United States of America on July 16, 1904
1909 - 1909 Official end to the Tui Manu’a title with Tui Manu’a Elisala (#40). The First Tui Manu’a was Tui Manu’a Satiailemoa.
1914 - 1961 Sāmoa i Sisifo, Territory of (Western Sāmoa) occupied and administered by New Zealand encompassed the western islands of Sāmoa including Upolu, Savaiʻi, Apolima and Manono
1919 - 1919 Germany surrenders claims of the western islands of Sāmoa with the Treaty of Versailles in on June 28, 1919
1957 - 1957 Polynesian South Pacific island group name changed to French Polynesia, (now aka. Pōrīnetia Farāni Polynésie française)
1959 - 1959 94% of Hawaiʻi voters vote in favor for the statehood bill. Hawaiʻi becomes the 50th state of the United States of America on August 21, 1959
1962 - 1962 Sāmoa i Sisifo is granted independence as the Independent State of Western Sāmoa, when the Western Sāmoa Act 1961 went into effect on January 1, 1962. Sāmoa now celebrates its independence day on June 1 each year
1970 - 1970 Tonga joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970
1975 - 1975 Pius "Mau" Piailug, Micronesian navigator from island of Satawal is recruited by the the Polynesian Voyaging Society to share and teach his knowledge of non-instrument navigation
1976 - 1976 Inaugural voyage of Hōkūleʻa, a waʻa kaulua voyaging canoe of the Polynesian Voyaging Society completes an ocean voyage from Hawaiʻi to Tahiti using traditional navigation techniques of Mau Piailug, Captain Kawika Kapahulehua and crew in 1976
1992 - 1992 Cook Islands Voyaging Society established in 1992
1997 - 1997 Sāmoa i Sisifo (Western Sāmoa) changes the name of the country from Western Sāmoa to Sāmoa. Offically, the country is known as Independent State of Samoa (Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa).

Polynesian Timeline since 2000

Estimated Date Event
2003 - 2004 French Polynesia designated as of overseas country of France
2009 - 2009 Aiga Folau o Sāmoa or Sāmoa Voyaging Society (SVS) established in 2009
2011 - 2011 Sāmoa changed its time zone from UTC−11 to UTC+13 also moving the International Date Line (IDL) from the west of Savaiʻi island to the east of Upolu island. The IDL is now in between Sāmoa and American Sāmoa since December 2011
2014 - 2014 Hōkūleʻa of the Polynesian Voyaging Society begins the Mālama Honua worldwide voyage to circumnavigate around the earth with a Polynesian sailing voyaging canoe in 2014
2017 - 2017 Hōkūleʻa of the Polynesian Voyaging Society completes the Mālama Honua worldwide voyage returning to Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi in 2017
2018 - 2018 Aunofo Havea Funaki is first Tongan female licensed captain and founder of Tonga Voyaging Society


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Location names of Polynesia >>

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