.. e Pacific that support the theory of contact between the peoples of the Polynesian islands and the Inca culture. Peruvians contend that a race from the North who lived on Lake Titicaca fled to the west on great rafts made of balsa. Their leader’s name was Kon-Tiki (Kon-Tiki 19). Furthermore, the Polynesians contend that they are descendants of a group that had come across the sea from a land in the east which was scorched by the sun (Kon-Tiki 19). The leader of this legendary group- Tiki; who was said to be a direct scion of the sun god.
It is said, Tiki, he was both god and chief. It was Tiki who brought my ancestors to these islands where we live now. Before that, we lived in a big country beyond the sea (Kon-Tiki 12). Many who oppose the theory of Inca colonization of the Pacific islands point to the vast distances between Peru and the Pacific islands as evidence against the possibility of their migration. This, as Heyerdahl points out, is in error. The distance from Peru to the Tuamoto island chain is 4,000 miles.
However, after a raft or sailboat has traveled 1,000 miles over the sea surface, it will have reached the Tuamotos. This is due to the Humbolt Current, which flows up from Antarctica, along the coast of South America, and due west, towards Asia. In Thor Heyerdahl’s 101 day crossing from Peru to the Tuamotos, the ocean displaced his raft, the Kon-Tiki, 3,000 miles, and the wind was actually responsible for only one thousand miles of displacement. Unfortunately, on a west-to-east journey, the sea distance to be covered is 7,000 miles. That would mean a 700-day journey just to overcome the current.
However, any craft attempting that journey would have to tack several hundred miles in order to avoid the trade winds. Most experts, Heyerdahl included, feel that such a voyage would be impossible (Early Man 33). This would serve to explain the failure of a return route to Peru and negates an Asian migration to the eastern-most. The distances between the islands are also frequently misconceived. Easter Island, source of the oldest remnants of civilization is the furthest removed from Asia as all the islands, suggesting a migration from South America, which is only 2,000 miles from Easter Island, while the nearest island is 2,000 miles west, and it is 8,000 miles to mainland Asia (Kon-Tiki 127). Nonetheless this tiny, dry desolate island is the home of the oldest statues and pyramids in the Pacific islands.
The famous red-haired statues discovered on the island are found elsewhere, but only on the islands closest to the Americas. In addition, the details and skill levels shown in the construction of these statues decreases as distance from America increases (Kon-Tiki 133-136). This all points towards a westward spread of culture, rather than the traditional eastward diffusion suggested by most anthropologists. Once again, legend offers evidence for the westward migration theory, this time involving Easter Island. The first Europeans to visit the island, were astonished to see mysterious white men on shore,..
with long flowing beards (Kon-Tiki 138). This race, characterized by their light skin, red hair, and artificially-lengthened ear lobes, are said to have first come to Polynesia around 400 AD The Polynesians contend that this race, known as the big-ears, led by the sun-god Kon-Tiki, came from the east, and built the statues that bear an incredible likeness to them. They continued west, scattering from Hawaii to New Zealand, and intermingled with and dominated the scattered tribes that lived on the islands (Kon-Tiki 139). The statues on Easter Island are the oldest, and most similar to the statues found around Lake Titicaca. Decorating the statues on Easter Island are tufts of red hair, long ears, and a belt carved around the stomach. These belts are also on every statue in the ruins around Lake Titicaca, and are the emblem of the sun-god (Kon-Tiki 140). These remarkable similarities suggest a common designer. The traditional names of the islands also serve as evidence towards a westward migration, as Heyerdahl points out.
One of Easter Island’s native names is Rapa Nui, which means Great Rapa. To the west is an island of the same size, with the name Rapa Iti, which means Little Rapa. As it is common tendency for a second home to be referred to as Little , or New , this suggests that it is a satellite of Rapa Nui. Indeed, the natives contend they came from the East. The other aboriginal name for Easter Island is Mata-Kite-Rani, which means the eye that looks toward heaven. There are no significant mountains on Easter Island, compared to say, Tahiti or Hawaii (Kon-Tiki 141).
Rani, which means Heaven, has two meanings: literal Heaven, and the homeland of the Polynesians’ ancestors. Finally, Mata-Rani means the eye of heaven, and is a traditional name for a spot on the Pacific coast of Peru [directly] opposite Easter island and right at the foot of Kon-Tiki’s [the god/leader of the Peruvians cum Polynesians] old ruined city in the Andes (Kon-Tiki 141). The third native name of Easter Island, Te-Pito-te-Henua, means navel of the islands, which suggests it was an important part of the Polynesian Islands. On the island’s eastern shore, near the supposed landing site of the original ‘long-ears’ is a spherical stone, known as the golden navel, and considered the symbolic navel of the island. This takes on greater significance because tradition refers to the discovery of the islands as the birth of the islands.
As the navel is where the umbilical cord ties a fetus to the mother, this seems to suggest that Easter Island was the last link to the motherland-Peru ( Kon-Tiki 140). The final factor in considering the westward migration theory is the logistics of such journeys. Once again, Thor Heyerdahl provided absolute evidence for the feasibility of this voyage with his Kon-Tiki expedition of 1947. He and five other men, four Norwegians and a Swede, sailed from Callo, Peru, to an island near Tahiti. As with his Ra expedition, twenty-five years later, only traditional tools, food and equipment were used, with the exception of running lights and meteorological equipment (Kon-Tiki supplement 4). It has now been over half a century since Heyerdahl first suggested the theory westward migration theories.
As time goes by, more evidence has served to reinforce his ideas. There are still indecipherable hieroglyphs in Peru and Polynesian islands. If they are ever unraveled, they may well present new evidence, either for or against the theories. The similarities between these carvings and glyphs on the west coast of North America has sparked debates on connections between these areas, either directly or via Peru. There are also numerous references towards white men, with blonde hair.
Mayans refer to them as having come with the reed-boatmen. Some members of the group who fled Lake Titicaca with Kon-Tiki were white. The Spanish conquistadors reported blonde and red-haired white men in Peru and on Easter Island (Ra 260). Perhaps these white men’s ancestors were Vikings-it is generally accepted that Leif Erikson traveled at least as far south as New England, and some legends of North American Natives have made reference to explorers that fit Norse characteristics ( Early Man 130). Explanations for the similarities in these three distant cultures have included divine intervention, extra-terrestrial intervention, or an as-yet undiscovered master race of humans, perhaps from Atlantis, that brought the societies together. Indeed, Heyerdahl’s theories, once considered outlandishly radical, are now considered tame by many people.
The possibilities are certainly endless, but in light of the evidence so far gathered, the idea of westward migration seem the most logical explanation for the similarities between Egyptian and Inca cultures, and the colonization of the Pacific Islands. History.