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DEFINITION: An archipelago of 169 islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean (western Polynesia) inhabited at least 3,000 years ago by Austronesian-speaking peoples who made elaborately decorated Lapita pottery similar to that found on Fiji. It was settled, like neighboring Samoa, by Lapita colonists in the late 2nd millennium BC. Tonga maintains a pottery sequence throughout the 1st millennium BC, after which pottery manufacture ceases. After 1000 AD, large monuments appear which are related to the growth of the powerful centralized chiefdoms.

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