After much of the western world let go of its colonies in the years following World War II, the United States did the opposite in Guam: it not only re-occupied the island, but established a (massive) military base there. The culture in Guam is a melange of the legacy of Spanish colonialism (particularly seen in surnames), indigenous CHamoru (Chamorro) people, and American colonization interrupted by Japanese occupation during WWII. With a total population equivalent to that of a middling US city, it is perhaps not surprising that there has been a dearth of literature from the island. 

During the 1910s, Hong Kong’s new Governor Francis Henry May seconded a delegation of Sikh police officers to Fiji. May had had a recent stint as Governor of Fiji and before that Captain Superintendent of the Hong Kong Police Force. He felt that Hong Kong’s police force could teach Fiji a thing or two. While it was by no means unusual for the British to employ Sikh policemen in their imperial possessions, Fiji differed in that it already had a population of Indian indentured servants who worked the sugarcane fields on a contract for five years. 

It helps to come to Islands & Cultures—a collection of essays focusing largely if not exclusively, as goes the subtitle, on “sustainability”—with at least some background on Polynesia, not because such background is necessary to follow the arguments in the various papers, but because otherwise one will be spending a great deal of time on the Internet chasing down one interesting reference after another.

The first Hawaiians ran late. Sumner La Croix claims they first voyaged from the Society Islands around 1250 when Kublai Khan was a boy rather than, as some others have it, twelve centuries earlier while Christ was awaiting death and resurrection. Discovery fed flood, with the long century that followed bringing new waves of immigrants to fill the land, before changing ocean currents slammed the door closed on economic migrants for four hundred years.