What Are The Different Theories On The Origin Of The Archipelago?


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Connor Sephton answered
There are three different theories that debate the origin of the archipelago in the Philippines. These three theories are F. Landa Jocano's Local Evolution Theory, William Solheim's Island Origin Theory and the Austronesian Expansion Theory. Each has a very different perspective about how the archipelago originated to be in the Philippines.

  • F. Landa Jocano's Local Evolution Theory
This theory is based on fossilized evidence of ancient humans that migrated not just to the Philippines but also to Borneo, New Guinea and Australia. Jocano argues that the evidence suggests that there were inhabitants in the Philippines as early as 22,000 years ago. This means that the inhabitants could not have come from the Malay Peninsula. Rather, present Filipinos are a product of a long process of evolution and movement of man.

  • William Solheim's Island Origin Theory
Solheim argues that the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network explains the diffusion of cultural traits through the Asia-Pacific region. Simple migration theories do not match the projections of cultural spread. The NMTCN explains why the pattern has diffused in a number of directions.

The spread of the cultural traits is much more likely to have happened through a trading network rather than several separate migrations. This is one of the most dominant theories that is still in use.

  • The Austronesian Expansion Theory
This is the idea that the Malayo Polynesians entered the archipelago from Taiwan and migrated to the Philippines around 4000 BCE. These people then displaced any earlier settlers.

The only aspect that the theories have in common is that by 1000 BCE the inhabitants of the archipelago had divided into four social groups; warrior societies, hunter-gatherer tribes, petty plutocracies and maritime centered habor principalities. Any information about the archipelago before this time is still highly debated.

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