Pohnpei History and Culture

History and Culture of Pohnpei

Verbal tradition and scientific evidence suggest that Pohnpei was settled in the areas to the east, south and west. It is the capital of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). At Pohnpei wahu (respect or honor) is the historical and contemporary foundation that defines its culture, society and people. Like other Polynesian and Micronesian island cultures, Pohnpeians share a deep respect for nature - especially for plants. Each piece's oral history determines the value of the stone money.

History and culture in Pohnpei - Pohnpei

Verbal tradition and scholarly proofs indicate that Pohnpei was populated from the areas to the south and west. Archeological testimonies date the most ancient man's activities approximately at the beginning of the Christed Age. Particularly noteworthy is the Nan Madol magalithic site, situated directly on the south-eastern bank of Pohnpei.

Archeologists believe that the building began sometime in the 13th c. A.D. and lasted over a five hundred years or so. There is a line of lords, the sowers, who tried to rule the islands from Nan Madol. At the end of the 19th c. there were five chieftains who coexisted with several smaller, independent areas that had a less strict system of government.

Increased contacts with the European-American worlds in the 19th centuries led to increased commerce, Christianity, new illnesses and sickness. However, one of the main models of the Poohnpeian past was the distinctive capacity to adjust structurally to the powers of transformation. Opposition to alien rule is another powerful feature of this culture.

Poohnpeians attacked violence against the colonies of Spain (1886-1899) and Germany (1899-1914). The Poohnpeian opposition to the later colonialist movements of Japan (1914-1945) and America (1945-1983) contained less violent and subtler cultures.

Pohnpei ethnobotany

Ethnobotanics of Pohnpeiexamines the relation between flora, humans and tradition on Pohnpei, one of the four members of the Federated States of Micronesia. Pohnpei is still very much in the focus of tradition, which depends on the diversity of species, as it is based on both unspoilt and cultivated environments, indigenous and imported flora and fauna, and exceptional sea creatures.

It is the fruit of decades of research by a research project led by Mwoalen Wahu Ileilehn Pohnpei (Pohnpei Council of Tradional Leaders), a research group of locals and internat... He deals with the use of indigenous and imported plants that have preserved man's lives on the islands and their outer Atlas for generation after generation, which includes Piper methystysticum (locally known as Sakow, and recognised as Kana throughout the Pacific), which is indispensable for the definition of the Pohnpeians' culturality.

Work is also focused on ethnic medicine, the conventional system for the treatment of diseases and related convictions. Pohnpei, like the micronesian area, is one of the world's largest centres of botanic endemism: it is home to many plants that can't be found anywhere else in the canyon. This book aims to give the reader a feeling for the ethnic botanic tradition that still prevails in the area, to make them become sensitive to modernisation and to motivate the locals to keep this old tradition intact.

Presenting the results of the most extensive ethnobotanic research to date in this part of Micronesia, it is setting a new benchmark for trans-disciplinary research and teamwork.

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