Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/463

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THE HUMAN SPECIES.

result, the Oceanic negroes are ethnically similar to their African relatives. There is even the same succession of types, running from the pygmy Negritoes of Borneo and the Philippines, through the Negroes of Papua and Melanesia, to the Negroids of Micronesia. The Australians constitute the only exception. The racial affinities of this primitive people are somewhat doubtful, though they are in all probability derived from Negro stock. The Australians have lived so long isolated in their island continent, however, that in the course of time they have developed certain ethnic peculiarities.

Oceania is still connected through Malaysia with Indo-China. The Golden peninsula, in turn, is joined on the west with the Indo-Mediterranean-European region, and open on the north to the Asiatic area. During prehistoric times, migrations proceeded along both these lines in successive stages toward the east. From the peninsular portion, people belonging to the white race—Indonesians they are collectively called—passed through Malaysia and proceeded thence (probably in canoes or perhaps in proas) to the scattered islands of Polynesia. Monuments and stone records still mark the path of this Indonesian dispersion even as far as Easter island. Miscegenation with Negro natives doubtless occurred along the route, accompanied by adaptation to the different environments; but withal, the original type has been preserved, so that the surviving Indonesians, classified geographically as Polynesians, still show distinct Caucasic characteristics. The Mongols who pushed south somewhat later from the Asiatic area into the Golden peninsula became deeply impregnated with Indonesian blood in these parts. The mixed Malay race thus constituted subsequently spread out through the adjacent islands and eventually established their supremacy over Malaysia. Some of them, notably the Bujis, became a sea-faring folk, and by establishing commercial connections with the surrounding islands, extended Malaysian influence still further across the Pacific.

During the middle ages Saracen traders reached these parts from Arabia, and from very early times Chinese emigrants have continued to establish out-post settlements upon the littoral islands of Asia; but with these later influences we have not at present to deal. It is enough to know that the inhabitants of Oceania trace their ethnic origin to the three great races of the old world. In the tropical continental islands of Melanesia, the Oceanic Negroes predominate. Scattered over the oceanic islands of Polynesia are the Indonesian descendants of an ancient Caucasic line. Throughout Malaysia the Mongolic Malays prevail. The island continent of Australia contains a peculiar population, probably derived originally from Negro stock, while the tiny islets of Mikronesia support scanty settlements of mixed Melanesian-Polynesian people.