An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands in the South Pacific Ocean  book cover
1st Edition

An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands in the South Pacific Ocean

ISBN 9781032352145
Published March 17, 2023 by Routledge
552 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

John Martin (1789-1869) was a London-based, Edinburgh-educated physician interested in anthropological matters. This is his only book. He was inspired to write it by a chance encounter with its subject, William Mariner (1791-1853) who spent four years (1806-1810) in Tonga, in the South Pacific, one of the earliest European residents at a time before European influence disturbance or modification society. Mariner, an extraordinarily mature and perceptive youth, became thoroughly imbued with Tongan language and culture as the adopted son of the most powerful chief in Tonga. Thanks to Martin’s intelligent engagement with Mariner resulted in a compelling narrative and a comprehensive account of Tongan society which became a classic. Often celebrated as an extraordinary real-life adventure story, it is a pioneering work of anthropology, and for 200 years it has been a primary and authoritative source for research into Tongan history and culture.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Illustrations

Preface and acknowledgements


A Note on Tongan Language and Orthography.

Selected Aspects of Tongan Culture

Tongan Who Was Who in An Account

Genealogical charts

Historical Introduction

An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands

Dedication to Sir Joseph Banks

Martin’s Preface

Martin’s Introduction

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23 Surgical Skill of the Tonga Islanders

Appendix : A Grammar and Vocabulary

Summary of Grammar Review



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Nigel Statham graduated BA in General Linguistics and Indonesian Languages (Australian National University), BTh (Hons), PhD (Melbourne) and studied field linguistics with the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Statham was for 40 years a translator and translation consultant in Pacific Island languages, and is fluent in Tongan. He was the general editor of the first Tongan Monolingual Dictionary (19,000 entries). His translations into Tongan include the explorers’ accounts of their visits to Tonga from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, the present work (‘Mariner’s Tonga’) and George Vason’s narrative of four years in Tonga. He also undertook the digitisation and editing of the diary of Rev. John Thomas, the pioneer missionary to Tonga, and a previously unpublished history of Tonga by Rev. E. E. Collocott, a later missionary. Ian C. Campbell graduated from the Universities of New England (BA (Hons)) and Adelaide (PhD). He was formerly Professor of History & Politics at the multinational University of the South Pacific in Fiji, and is the author of Worlds Apart: A History of the Pacific Islands, Island Kingdom: Tonga Ancient and Modern, and Tonga’s Path to Democracy, among other works, as well as numerous journal articles, book chapters and encyclopaedia entries on Tongan and other Pacific Islands topics.