By Sally Miller
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Additional info for Studies in the Economic History of the Pacific Rim (Routledge Studies in the Growth Economies of Asia, 10)
In the Irano-Arabic, Hindu, Indonesian and Chinese worlds ‘the idea of a common geographical space defined by the exchange of ideas and material objects was quite strong, not only in the minds of merchants but also in those of political rulers and ordinary people’ (Chaudhuri 1985:21). No such coherence has ever been attributed to the vastly more expansive world encompassed by the Pacific Ocean. The few Pacific-wide histories that have been attempted focus on the region’s integration into a wider global economy which is seen as beginning when Europeans began to move into the Pacific.
Genetic investigation and radiocarbon dating allow origins to be established. If the species concerned cannot be transferred between its areas of distribution by non-human agency such as seeds eaten and excreted by birds, then human travel is implied. Large bodies of ocean form major barriers to many species of flora (and fauna) because of their reproductive vectors’ limited tolerance to moisture and salinity (Davies 1979:60–61). It is significant that the flora and fauna of the Pacific Islands diminishes noticeably the further east one goes as distances from continental land masses increase and gaps between neighbouring islands also increase (Oliver 1989:10–13).
They are at their most consistent between May and September. The remainder of the year is characterized by winds from the west as well as trade winds. Large areas of doldrums lie between the two trade-wind belts as far west as the Solomon Islands. The doldrums are noted for their light, variable winds and calms as well as squalls, heavy showers and thunderstorms (Oliver 1989:8– 9; Irwin 1992:11–13; Muller and Oberlander 1978:122–124). The western third of the Pacific is dominated by monsoon and typhoon weather patterns arising from the periodic heating and cooling of the Asian land mass.
Studies in the Economic History of the Pacific Rim (Routledge Studies in the Growth Economies of Asia, 10) by Sally Miller