Oceanian hecatomb. History of the depopulation of the Pacific and its consequences (16th-20th century)

This book questions the official account of the impact of the first Western contacts in Oceania, which holds that the populations of the majority of the islands were little affected by the introduction of new viruses and bacteria, resulting in an overall decline in the demography of the Pacific between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries that was much less severe than on the American continent. Archaeological findings and data from oral and written traditions from the first contacts as well as the missionary and colonial periods now refute this assertion, clearly illustrating that a significant proportion of Oceanians were swept away by the catastrophic epidemics that followed contact. This demographic hecatomb led to a destabilisation of traditional social systems and an increase in deadly conflicts, even before the upheavals associated with Christianisation and the colonial period. This new perspective on the period of first contact calls for a fresh analysis of the history of Oceania in recent centuries.

Christophe SAND. 2023. Hécatombe océanienne. Histoire de la dépopulation du Pacifique et ses conséquences (XVIe-XXe siècle). Papeete, Au vent des Iles.

The publication of the book was also covered in an article by Sylvain Derne in Le Monde Diplomatique.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)