A useful addition to the agreed history

Alongside the financial reparations and apology, the settlement includes an agreed account of the Moriori history, a necessary step in correcting the myths and narratives the Crown disseminated over many generations.

Moriori had a pacifist philosophy which chief Nunuku-Whenua introduced to his people around the 16th century. The covenant of peace banned rank, violence and warfare. The imi lived undisturbed for many centuries until their first contact with European settlers in 1791, who arrived on the HMS Chatham, bringing with them diseases and the start of a new colonial era.

“In late 1835, about 900 people of two mainland Māori tribes sailed on a British ship to Rēkohu … the newcomers were welcomed and fed by Moriori in accordance with tikane Moriori (Moriori custom). Some Moriori wanted to resist the invaders, but the elders…urged the people to obey Nunuku’s law of peace … Upon returning to their villages they were attacked, and many were killed. Māori accounts put the number of Moriori killed in 1835–36 at about 300, or about one-sixth of the population. Those Moriori who survived the invasion were enslaved and forced to do manual labour,” the official account of Moriori history states.

Not that this should be all that much of a surprise. Barring that once and once only expansion into Terra Nullius history has been a series of one group invading and slaughtering another (true, often enough, just the men getting the chop, the women becoming the mothers of the new mixture).

The importance of this being that no one group – or at least, very rarely, as here – is the sole and original inhabitant who should be compensated for having been subject to that process. Because they’re just the latest example of second dog in that place, where once they – or their ancestors – were first dog and doin’ it to the then second.

True of Britain with neolithics and Celts and Angles and Saxons and Romans and Normans and on. True of all those varied First Nations and Native Americans, Incas, Aztecs, Olmecs and Mayans, true of Bantu and Maori and on and on.

“You bastards, you nicked our land!” might be an effective tactic these days but it’s hardly unusual as an occurence.

31 thoughts on “A useful addition to the agreed history”

  1. BiNK, indeed the similarity in behaviour between our third-world immigrant friends and an invading army is rather striking.

    All Europeans – Celts, Angles, Saxons, Iberians, Frogs, Slavs etc are all descended from the Yamnaya, a nomadic steppe people who invaded Europe from the East starting about 5000 years ago. They exterminated the men and ‘married’ ( i.e raped and enslaved) the women, leading to, well, Europeans.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24132230-200-story-of-most-murderous-people-of-all-time-revealed-in-ancient-dna/

  2. @Jonathan
    That’s a story I’d be sceptical about. Nomads from the steppes wouldn’t have the agricultural toolkit to survive in an environment other than the steppes. It was subsistence farming at the time. It doesn’t produce much surplus for those with the toolkit, let alone a newcomer. They’d starve.
    More likely the Yamnaya managed to produce a warrior class who could conquer settled farmers in neighbouring lands. But not with their families along. Sure they can butcher the locals & have a one time feast on their latest crops. Then what do they eat? More likely the locals get a temporary new ruling class who interbreed with them & get subsumed in a couple of generations. So some additions to the gene pool. Britain was conquered by the Romans, but we’re not all Italians.

  3. I suppose western Europe could support a small population of pastoralists. I doubt they’d be much motivated to engage in wholesale genocide however. Qui bono?
    More likely they replaced the previous elite, capturing what small agricultural surplus there was. This seems to be the pattern for the Bantu, Maori, Bolsheviks and Nazis down the ages: kill the rich.

  4. BiS and Philip, certainly in Iberia, they literally eradicated the male line, the evidence is somewhat less clear re: the rest of Europe though.

    About 4,500 years ago they arrived in Britain, replacing 90 percent of the gene pool, possibly as a result of the diseases they brought and climate change. But on the Iberian Peninsula, something more dramatic took place.

    It appears there was some sort of “violent conquest”, notes New Scientist, where local males were either killed or enslaved and the females claimed by the Yamnaya. This is evidenced by a “complete Y-chromosome replacement,” according to Reich. In other words, Spanish men disappeared completely from the gene pool.

    https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/spanish-men-were-completely-wiped-out-by-the-arrival-of-a-new-tribe-4000-years-ago/

  5. This is a surprise. Usually pastoralists lose out to farmers, as Jacob usurped Esau.
    Farmers have natural advantages, not least the ability to outbreed by a factor of three to one. (Infanticide is routine for nomads, families can’t travel with more than one infant.)
    So to succeed the invaders would need some special tech advantage. The second article (above) suggests the wheel and the horse. Their wheels were very primitive (it’s the axle that is the key invention, later). A horse, with no bridle, no stirrup, no girth is not a great war machine.
    Farmers are used to digging. So they can build fortifications. What special weapon would the invaders have used to conquer so absolutely?

  6. About 4,500 years ago they arrived in Britain, replacing 90 percent of the gene pool, possibly as a result of the diseases they brought and climate change.

    Did they drag their coal fired power stations over with their SUVs, or something?

  7. So to succeed the invaders would need some special tech advantage….What special weapon would the invaders have used to conquer so absolutely?

    Dunno. Maybe the chariot, which seems to have been invented in the same region as the Yamnaya originated from.
    As there are no written records and scant archaeological finds, it’s difficult to know how they managed to do what the DNA evidence shows they undoubtedly did.

    https://indoeurope.quora.com/The-Invention-of-the-Chariot-The-Sintashta-culture-also-known-as-the-Sintashta-Petrovka-culture-or-Sintashta-Arkaim?share=1

  8. : PJF:

    Did they drag their coal fired power stations over with their SUVs, or something?

    Lol.

    Little reported fact is that the British isles were around 2 degrees C warmer in the Bronze Age than now…

  9. @BIS
    Britain was conquered by the Romans, but we’re not all Italians.

    Neither were the Romans all Italians. A lot of naturalisation went on, particularly of time-served soldiers.

  10. “…the locals get a temporary new ruling class.”

    See the Patels, Javids, Sunaks and Kwartengs in ours.

  11. Yes. I wonder what they’ll be writing about the Brits in a few hundred years. in the annex entitled “Forgotten Tribes”

  12. @Jonathan
    “certainly in Iberia, they literally eradicated the male line, ”
    Bollocks. Down here you need a very specific agricultural toolkit. And a lot of local knowledge. You come down here & try to farm the land without it you will starve. There’s even people today think they’re very clever, come down buy a bit of land, think they can make a living off of it. Very few make enough to feed themselves. You eradicate the male line, there goes all your knowledge & experience. You don’t leave any descendants.
    Historians like heads on coins versions of history. It’s more academic. The sort of bloke gets his head on a coin is a thug on a horse with a sword backed up by some mates a bit thicker than he is. He’s dependant on people know how to breed the horse & make the sword & put some food on the table.

  13. Even in Ireland the replacement of the Neolithic people (distant origins in Turkey) by the invaders (distant origins in the Ukraine) seems to have been near complete. Modern DNA just confirms the fact.

    What isn’t understood is why the late Neolithic people – e.g. in the British Isles – seem to have declined in numbers and to have switched from arable farming to pastoralism before the invaders turned up. Soil exhaustion? Infectious diseases? Crop diseases? Weather? Piracy by the new folk? Nobody seems to know.

    ‘It isn’t true because I can’t believe it’s true’ is a pretty feeble argument. It sounds like the Woke. You’d really need to demolish both the ancient DNA and present day DNA. Or argue that the DNA people are lying their heads off. But to what end?

  14. “A Useful Addition To The Agreed History”: well that “Addition” was the conventional wisdom when we lived there. I suppose it’s just taken ages for the law to catch up with the historians.

    Mind you, when we did live there the newspaper accounts of Maori history seemed to exaggerate a little how long they’d lived in NZ and rather suppressed the truth about some of their habits. For well understood reasons the Maori diet had long been deficient in protein and fat, meaning that probably they did eat each other.

  15. Bollocks. Down here you need a very specific agricultural toolkit.

    I can’t read the full NS article, but assuming it (and the science behind it) is correct then the DNA says what it says.

    Your viewpoint about the continuity of local knowledge makes sense, and certainly it’s true that most takeovers don’t involve total genocide. But maybe there was some particular set of circumstances in Iberia that permitted eradication of the local male line. Maybe the females held sufficient knowledge; maybe some males were kept around long enough to pass on sufficient knowledge; maybe the tribes initially lived alongside long enough for the conquerors to pick up sufficient knowledge. Memes can continue without genes.

    If the DNA sampling is accurate and representative then it is a fact on the ground that must be accounted for.

  16. “So to succeed the invaders would need some special tech advantage….What special weapon would the invaders have used to conquer so absolutely?”

    From what I read they were cattle-farming semi-nomads. With Ox-carts. And horseback riding.

    Philip’s “A horse, with no bridle, no stirrup, no girth is not a great war machine.” is patent bollocks.

    Ever heard of mounted archery? A horseback archer is the ideal way to manage and protect a herd from predators and unfriendly neighbours. And bows are a very effective weapon and had already been well-developed for several millennia. You also don’t need saddle, stirrups, or even reins to fire a bow from horseback.
    They’re also the first step up to a “warrior class”. There’s a bit of prestige and risk involved in actually catching and breaking a wild one yourself..

    Farmers can dig, yes, and from what we can tell early settlements did clump together with some sort of rudimentary defenses. However, those “farm-villages” were mostly at best 4-5 family groups with most people very much busy tilling the soil.
    How much chance do you think they’d stand against 5-10 likely lads on horseback with bows that pop up “out of nowhere”?

    And the whole thing doesn’t even need to have “conquest” in mind. The herding is successful, new herds split off from the parent herd and go look for newer pastures. And the herd guards roaming up front to actually find these pastures find the occasional Bonus. And trophy wives.
    Repeat that for a couple of centuries and you end up all over Europe, and Asia for that matter..

    Fun bit that most people don’t realise is that the “core” culture in the “heartlands” stayed basically the same over the millennia, and later gave rise to Atilla and his pals.
    And in that same vein… oh dear.. some 800 years later a bloke called Ghenghis did a bit of a number on the chinese, and his pals got as far as the Huns did into Europe.

    The “secret weapon” was simply the first appearance of fast-moving mounted artillery. Something that’s still at the core of any military nowadays. Even an air force is an extension of that principle…

  17. @ BiS:

    Bollocks. Down here you need a very specific agricultural toolkit. And a lot of local knowledge.

    The DNA evidence says otherwise; and they had local knowledge – the local women – and don’t think that this happened overnight, we’re talking about a process happening over many decades or even a couple of centuries.

    @ Grikath:

    The “secret weapon” was simply the first appearance of fast-moving mounted artillery. Something that’s still at the core of any military nowadays. Even an air force is an extension of that principle…

    Fire. Manoeuvre. Shock effect. The principles of mobile warfare since the year dot.

  18. Despite the Maori being responsible they had to throw in the fact that they arrived in a British ship because really it’s the white peoples fault for everything.
    Also this is a great con as they killed the men and raped the women so any surviving Morioi that are compensated are the descendants of the invaders and the compensation is coming from European settlers that weren’t responsible in the first place

  19. It was indeed, or had been, a British ship. The Maoris had hired it fair and square. (That was “the history” when we lived there. Maybe it’s changed since then?)

    Anyway the important lesson is that the British – and various others e.g. French explorers, American whalers, … – had not exterminated the Moriori when it was easily within their power to do so. It was their fellow Polynesians who did that.

    That is the important lesson, isn’t it? Or is the important lesson “don’t let savages get control of Western weapons and ships”?

  20. Perhaps societies decline from the inside, and invaders just give them a little push and so they collapse. Gibbon famously blamed the fall of the Roman empire on Christianity, and Jared Diamond has some stuff to say (that I’ve forgotten).
    We might be seeing something similar today. The pitiful birth rates in countries like Italy and Russia may be a consequence of loss of confidence.

  21. @Jonathan
    You need an understanding of the mechanics of the thing. Capabilities. What subsistence farming’s actually like.
    Sure, a tribe of herdsmen out on the steppes can put together a raiding party. But that’s an enormous investment of wealth. How many? 20 maybe 30 warriors on horses. Man on a horse can move a great distance in a short time. Then the horse needs to graze & the warrior to eat. Sure they can pillage & rape. Kill all the men of the settlements they encounter. Then what happens? Subsistence farming’s a precarious existence. You don’t get it right, don’t get a crop in, you don’t survive the winter. Since the warriors have largely depopulated the settlement, it doesn’t get a crop in & there is no settlement the next year. They keep doing that & they’ll created a depopulated cordon between the steppes & the rest of the world. It’s impossible to cross because there’s no food available to those crossing it.
    The warriors settle down with the women & learn to farm the land? Tall order but they might just cut it. But subsistence farming doesn’t produce the surplus necessary to support bands of warriors on horses. They’re now farmers prey to the next bunch of raiders & pillages from the steppes.
    The problem is that herdsmen from the steppes don’t bring anything useful with them when they move to land other than the steppes. You can’t herd in a forest. The lifestyle isn’t optimal for the environment. Subsistence farming is. The genes can travel thousands of miles. But the people carrying them aren’t any longer the Yamnaya. They’re farmers.

  22. @ BiS

    We don’t need to understand the mechanism in order to say that it happened; the DNA evidence shows that it did, absolutely, happen. The ‘How’ is a question for archaeologists, historians and geneticists to answer.
    As Galileo said: ” And yet it moves…”

  23. The speed of movement of armies, tribes and raiders has been remarkably stable over time. About 15 miles a day max. The invasion of Iraq bumped it up a bit, thanks to not having a bunch of camp followers, but only to about 40 miles a day.
    Quite a lot of Europe is suitable for grazing even if it’s not the most productive land use. But even five miles a day is sufficiently fast to subjugate the whole of Europe in a few years without creating desert barriers by overgrazing.
    So I go back to my original question: What was the key to overcome the aboriginals’ incumbency advantage? (Don’t say the wheel: wheels made of a slice of tree trunk are too fragile.)

  24. To answer my own question.
    Pastoralists have lower birth rates, higher infant mortality but a more protein rich diet, which makes the survivors fitter and stronger. The primitive (before Columbian exchange) vegetarian diet is piss poor.

  25. A strange feature of this thread: people on here are generally sceptical of appeals to the authority of ‘The Science’™ yet there seems to be a lot of trust in the ‘expert’ view on this matter.

  26. Philip… What on earth makes you think “primitive” diets were in any way vegetarian?

    Just asking because, at least when it comes to Eurasia, every bit of archeological evidence points to the contrary..
    Plus that it defies logic.. You mean those primitive people didn’t know how to fish and hunt in the relatively untouched forests and plains around them? Or that the bit of their building setup that’s clearly stable wasn’t?
    How about those slaughter pits you find at the communal “ritual sites”? Did they just kill the animals and left the meat to go to waste? Cor blimey!!

    Vegetarian my bunny arse.

    @BiS I think you forget that the Iberian Plateau looked very different at that time. Something to do with the medieval/renaissance spanish and portuguese doing a number on it in their push for world domination through deforestation and subsequent soil erosion..
    It used to be a forested plain that was relatively fertile. Between the Armadas and the Spanish Grain the spanish literally fucked themselves up.

  27. . . . there seems to be a lot of trust in the ‘expert’ view on this matter.

    My hedging wasn’t conversational politeness; the “if” was genuine. There may be a narrative being weaved here – that we Europeans are genetically evil bastards.

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