Complex Chiefdom: Precursor of the State or Its Analogue?

скачать Автор: Grinin, Leonid - подписаться на статьи автора
Журнал: Social Evolution & History. Volume 10, Number 1 / March 2011 - подписаться на статьи журнала


It is often noted in the academic literature that chiefdoms frequently prove to be troublesome for scholars because of the disagreement as to whether to categorize this or that polity as a complex chiefdom or as an early state. This is no wonder, because complex chiefdoms, early states, as well as different other types of sociopolitical systems (large confederations, large self-governed civil and temple communities etc.) turn out to be at the same evolutionary level. In the present article it is argued that such complex societies can be considered as early state analogues. The most part of the article is devoted to the analysis of the most developed chiefdoms – the Hawaiian ones. It is argued that before the arrival of Cook there was no state in Hawaii. It should be classified as an early state analogue, i.e. a society of the same level of development as early states but lacking some state characteristics. It proceeds from the fact that the entire Hawaiian political and social organization was based on the strict rules and ideology of kinship, and the ruling groups represented endogamous castes and quasi-castes. The transition to statehood occurred only in the reign of Kamehameha I in the early 19th century. A scrupulous comparison between the Hawaiian chiefdoms and Hawaiian state is presented in the article.

Introductory remarks

This article is tightly connected with grinin and Korotayev's article (in the present volume). As it pays a great attention to important problems of multilinearity of social evolution, the peculiarities of its development, and its alternatives, there is no necessity to discuss them here. That is why I would just mention that we proceed from the point that a principally equal level of complexity of systems can be achieved not only in various forms but also through essentially different evolutionary pathways. Consequently, each level of political complexity corresponds to not one but to several alternative evolutionary lines (e.g., Bondarenko, Grinin, and Korotayev 2002, 2011; Grinin and Korotayev 2009a, 2009b; Grinin 2007c, 2007f, 2009, 2011a, 2011b).

The transition to a new level of complexity is inevitably realized in the bundle of models and forms. They can, on the one hand, be considered within a ‘horizontal’ dimension as equal versions of the same complexity level, and, on the other hand, can be analyzed within the evolutionary ‘vertical’ dimension. So theoretically, one may detect ‘main’ and ‘collateral’ development lines of social evolution (see in detail Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2011a, 2011b). But it took the new organizational principles a rather long time and a few generations of polity types to prove their advantage because possessing an evolutionary potential does not mean to have advantages in a concrete historical situation. Quite often it was just the other way round. Over entire epochs the evolutionary models coexisted and competed with each other (yet being mutually complementary), whereas in particular ecological and social niches some ‘collateral’ pathways, models, and versions could well have turned out to be more competitive and adequate.

I proceed from the assumption that complex chiefdoms, early states, and different other societal types (large confederations, large self-governed civil and temple communities etc.) which will be discussed below, should be considered as standing at the same evolutionary stage, which could be defined as a complex societies or early-state stage. The transition to it by definition cannot be fulfilled but in a very extensive variety of forms, developmental trends and combinations. Thus, on the basis that:

· at this stage there were many different polity types of comparable size and complexity level which were able to fulfil tasks of a certain type; and

· the states finally became the evolutionary leading (the most widespread) form,

it makes sense to divide the whole variety of the polity forms at the given stage into two large types. The first one incorporates the early states (this group includes different types of early states), the second one – the early state analogues (this group comprises different types of complex non-state societies, including complex chiefdoms).

Since there is no generally accepted definition of the state, within the framework of the present paper the following definitions are applied:

The state is a category designating a system of specialized institutions, organs, and rules that secure internal and external political life of a society; this system is a power, administration and order maintenance organization separated from the population that must possess the following characteristics: а) sovereignty (autonomy); b) supremacy, legitimacy, and reality of power within a certain defined territory and a certain set of people; c) the ability to coerce its subjects/citizens to fulfil its demands, as well as to alter relationships and norms.

The early state is a category used to designate a special form of political organization of a relatively large and complex agrarian society (or a group of societies/territories) that determines its external policy and partly its social order; it is a power organization a) that possesses supremacy and sovereignty (or, at least, autonomy); b) that is able to coerce the ruled to fulfil its demands; to alter important relationships and to introduce new norms, as well as to redistribute resources; c) that is based (entirely or mostly) on such principles that are different from the kinship ones.1

The early state analogue is a category which is used to designate various forms of complex stateless societies that are comparable to early states (however, usually they do not surpass the level of typical early states) with respect to their size, sociocultural and/or political complexity, functional differentiation and the scale of tasks they have to accomplish, but lacking at least one of the necessary features of the early state listed in its definition (for details see below; about the characteristics distinguishing the early state from their analogues see Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2010, 2011b).

This article proceeds as follows: the first part is devoted to a brief description of the theory of early state analogues and their concise classification (this theory has already been presented in a more elaborate way on the pages of the present journal [Grinin 2003, 2004b; see also Grinin 2011a, 2011b]); the second part is devoted to the analysis of complex chiefdoms as early state analogues on the basis of the case of the most developed chiefdoms – the Hawaiian ones. This is all
the more relevant since a considerable part of Earle's paper in the present special issue is devoted to these chiefdoms as well.

Thus, the paper mainly presents the analysis of only one type of the early state analogues – that of the complex chiefdoms. In academic literature it is often noted that in many cases the differences between complex chiefdoms and inchoate early states are hardly noticeable (see Kochakova 1999: 10; Kradin 2008, 2011; see also Earle 2011; see also Webb 1975), that they virtually overlap each other in size and complexity level (Webb 1974: 369; Skalník 2011), and that the chiefdoms often prove to be troublesome for scholars because of the disagreement as to whether to categorize this or that polity as a complex chiefdom or an early state (Smith 1985: 97).2 But all these difficulties, to my mind, show once more that in a certain sense it is more efficient to regard such chiefdoms not as pre-state societies, preceding the state, but as early state analogues.3

The Early state analogues: General Ideas

The early state can only develop within a society with a certain level of overall sociocultural and political complexity, within a society that has sufficient amounts of surplus and population number (see, e.g., Claessen and Skalník 1978c; Claessen 1978, 2002). However, the analysis of resources on complex societies as well as my own investigations show the following: a social system after it reaches such a size and level of sociocultural complexity which permit the transformation into a state, may continue its further development without being transformed into the early-state political form for a very long time or even never being transformed into a state. These complex societies after attaining these characteristics did not form a state but continued developing along other trajectories (see, e.g., Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2007a, 2007b, 2007d, 2009). In particular, a social system may have a rather high level of social stratification, but still it may lack any statehood. We know many polities that in respect of their political organization, power structure and administration differed considerably from the early state, and which, nevertheless, were quite comparable to the state as regards the complexity of their organization, solved tasks, and performed functions (see below for examples).4 It is wrong to consider such polities as pre-state ones. Many of their significant characteristics can well be regarded as being at generally the same level of sociocultural complexity as the early states. I have proposed to denote these alternatives to the early state forms as early state analogues (see, e.g., Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c, 2009, 2011a, 2011b; Grinin and Korotayev 2009а, 2009b) due to the following reasons:

1. In comparison with truly pre-state polities, both simple (such as big men collectivities, communities) and medium-complex polities (such as, e.g., simple chiefdoms, medium size tribes, and community confederations etc. [see Grinin and Korotayev 2011]), the early state analogues were not only larger, but also much more complex. we define the medium-complex societies in respect of the size within the interval of population of several hundred to (several) thousands (Ibid.); the early state analogues have the population numbering from several or more to dozens thousands. Thus, the early state analogues start from the upper level of medium-complex societies. Yet of course, a certain overlap of boundary cases is rather possible (and quite explicable within the framework of multilinear evolution approach).

2. In the meantime the early state analogues' sizes and complexity levels were quite comparable to the ones of the early states and they often competed quite successfully with states.

3. Both political structures (early state and early state analogues) supported the fulfilment of functions of similar complexity (see, e.g., Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2009, 2011a, 2011b), in particular:

– the establishment of the minimal level of political and ideological unity and solidarity within a growing society (a group of closely related societies) in order to solve common problems;

– the provision of external security as well as conditions for expansion of a substantially large social system (with a minimum population of several or more thousand, dozens thousands, and sometimes even hundreds thousands);

– the support of social order and redistribution of both necessary product and surplus under the conditions of a substantial level of the development of social stratification and functional differentiation, as well as of more complex tasks;

– providing a minimum level of the societal governing, including the norm creation and justice, as well as the fulfilment by population of necessary duties (military, material, labor etc.);

– creation of conditions for economic reproduction (especially where a coordination of common efforts was needed) according to the ecological environment.

4. Early states and their analogues were virtually at the same level of complexity, as they had common differences from all the pre-state polities, including the medium-complex ones. With respect to these differences one can mention (in addition to the above-said) the following characteristics: the increase in the number of complexity levels as regards the societal organization and administration (up to three and more),5 a substantial change of traditions and institutions connected with the regulation of sociopolitical life, a radical increase in functional differentiation, the division of a society in two or more strata which differ essentially with respect to their (formal and/or informal) rights, duties, and functions; the formation of ideology that justify and legitimate those sociopolitical changes in society.6

5. Consequently, the early states differ from their analogues not so much in their complexity and size, but rather in certain peculiarities of the political structure and administration ‘technique’; and historically – in the fact that the former at the moment of their formation had a certain combination of special conditions favorable for the state formation, whereas the latter lacked them (for more details see Grinin 2004b, 2007d, 2011a, 2011b).

The analogues' forms were rather diverse (see below) and the unification under one notion – the early state analogues – of a few rather different types of polities is primarily done in order to contrast the state alternative of political evolution of complex late archaic societies with other alternatives of political organization.

The main population interval of the early state analogues' sizes may be identified as lying between 15,000 and 70,000, but there were a number of analogues with population significantly less or many times larger than the defined extreme points (for the classification of the early states and comparable with them analogues as regards to their size see Table 1). Of course, the early states were generally larger than their analogues, because the states' developmental potential (and, consequently, their ability to expand) was much higher. However, at the initial phases of the state formation process while the state's evolutionary advantages were not manifested to the full, it is quite reasonable to suppose that sizes of early states and their analogues were much the same.

My analysis demonstrates that the early state analogues' formation was by no means an exception. What is more, it was just the early state formation that for a long time was a rather infrequent politogenetic event (see Grinin 2009b; see also Lloyd 1981: 229). The state form only became a typical and leading form of political organization of complex societies as a result of long evolutionary selection, whereas other forms for a long time constituting an alternative to the state were finally either transformed into states, or disappeared, or turned into collateral or dead-end types of sociopolitical organization.

The developmental pathways of analogues were rather different. Some of them turned out to be incapable to transform into states due to their very nature, some of them did not transform into states because their politogenesis was violently interrupted (as it happened with the Saxons and the Gaul etc.). Still many analogues got transformed into states. However, such transformation took place after they had achieved a rather high level of complexity and development that was quite comparable with the complexity level of many states. Moreover, the level at which some analogues could transform into states greatly varied. Some analogues got transformed into states when they had population of 10,000–15,000, some other did this when they had population of many dozens of thousands, still others did this when they had population in hundreds of thousands (see Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2009, 2011a, 2011b). This proves that in politogenesis the alternatives to the early state can be found at different complexity and development levels of the early state (on this see also below).

Yet not only the state analogues could become states but also, though much less frequently, vise versa the early states transformed into analogues (see, e.g., Korotayev 2000; Trepavlov 1995; Leach 1970; Skalník 1991; Tymowski 2008; Meillassoux 1963; Person 1981; Shifferd 1987).

early state analogues: classification

Since the main explanations of the classification, all examples and their detailed comments including the data on each analogous society mentioned below, are presented in a number of my other works including articles in Social Evolution & History (see, e.g., Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2007c, 2011a, 2011b) here I will confine myself to a brief reproduction of the classification and give only a few references.

I distinguish the following types of analogues:

1. Some independent self-governing urban, civil or civil-temple communities. For example, some temple-civil communities of ancient Arabia, as pre-Islamic Mecca (see, e.g., Bolshakov 1989: 44–58; Simon 1989; Dostal 1991; Peters 1994: 77–166; Simonsen 2000) or Raybūn (for details see Frantsuzoff 2000); as well as self-governed territories (including the ones established by colonists, like Iceland of the 10th – 13th centuries (Olgeirsson 1957; Gurevich 1972; Hjálmarsson 1993); territories inhabited by large groups of déclassé persons of various descent (‘outlaws’), that had their own bodies of self-government and constituted an organized and formidable military force – like, for example, the Cossacks of Don or Zaporozhye (Rozner 1970; Shtyrbul 2006: ch. 4; Petkevich 2006).

2. Some large tribal alliances with a relatively strong power of a paramount leader (‘king’) and comparatively large population. Some German tribal unions of the Great Migration and earlier periods (the Burgundianes, Salian Franks, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, etc.) that counted population from 80,000 to 150,000 people (Bessmertny 1972: 40; Le Goff 1992: 33; Neusyhin 1968; Oosten 1996; Budanova 2000; Кolosovskaya 2000) may serve as examples here. Of course, one can basically regard them as complex chiefdoms, yet the main difference is that they were not in a stationary (stable) condition (as, e.g., the pre-contact Hawaiian chiefdoms) but in a specific transitional one, i.e. they were in motion both in literal and in evolutionary senses, and it was just this movement that in many respects kept them within the frameworks of a single polity.

3. Large ethnic-political (tribal) alliances and confederations without ‘royal’ power (it was absent altogether or was sometimes abolished), but at the same time in such societies the processes of social and wealth stratification as well as functional differentiation had brought significant results and even went faster than the processes of political development. The examples of such ethnic-political alliances without ‘royal’ power could be found among the Saxons of Saxony (Kolesnitsky 1963) and some Gaul peoples (Clark and Piggott 1970: 310–328; Le Roux 2000; Thevenot 1996). The population united by such alliances could well reach tens (and sometimes hundreds) thousand people. The variations of such analogues could be represented by diverse confederations, including the tribal ones (e.g., of the Tuareg [Pershits 1968; Lot 1989; Khazanov 2008]), chiefdom confederations (about some of them as well as their definition see Gibson 2011), some heterarchies (see Crumley 1995, 2001; McIntosh 1999b; see also Claessen 2002: 109).

4. The quasi-state alliances of nomads that were large and militarily strong and may have looked like large states (for example, Scythia [Khazanov 1975, 2008] or the Xiongnu ‘Empire’ [Kradin 2001]). I find it unreasonable to apply the notion of chiefdoms (even the supercomplex ones, as Kradin does, e.g., in Kradin 2001 and in his paper in the present volume) to the nomadic empires of Inner Asia because they had up to 1,000,000–1,500,000 of population (Kradin 2001: 79) and so they are in principle incomparable to chiefdoms in size, and can be compared only with medium-size states.

5. Large complex chiefdoms (see below).

6. Large and developed polities with indeterminate characteristics, whose structure cannot be precisely described due to the lack of sufficient data; however, judging by what is known about them, they can be regarded neither as ‘pre-state polities’ nor as states. The Indus, or Harappan civilization can serve as an example of this kind (see, e.g., Lal 1984; Possehl 1998; Wright 2010; Vahia and Yadav 2011).

7. Corporative forms of analogues can be represented in particular by some secret societies. We have argued that the secret societies can be considered as chiefdom analogues (Grinin and Korotayev 2011 this volume). However, it is justified to suppose that some secret societies might have grown to the level of early state analogues, especially if they actually became a part of the power authorities as was observed, for example, among the Mende and Temne in West Africa (Kubbel 1988: 241). Among many African peoples such secret societies became that very structure from which the supreme sacral power developed (ibid.); this correlates quite well with the idea that the royal power sacredness was directly connected with the application of force (see Skalník 1991: 145).

I can cite an example of another rather unusual corporative analogue from the history of Asia Minor where in the early 2nd millennium BCE we observe the formation of a peculiar union (community) of merchants with its center in the city of Kanish that had a sort of constitution, self-government bodies, court, treasury, a chain of factories along the trading route connecting Mesopotamia with the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. Furthermore, this community was independent from any other political power and acted as the subject of international relations (Giorgadze 1989; 2000: 113–114; Yankovskaya 1989: 181–182; 2010).

Table 1

Types of early states and early state analogues

Polity size

Early state type and
its examples

Early state analogue type and its examples

From 5,000
to 15,000

The smallest early state (some Greek poleis)

Tribal confederations of the Tuareg

From 15,000
to 50,000

Small early state (typical city-states of Central Mexico at the eve of the Spanish Conquista)

Small early state analogue (Iceland in the 10th century)



to 300,000

Medium-size early state (the Hawaiian state in the 19th century)

Medium-size early state analogue (the Aedui, Arverni, Helvetii in pre-Caesar Gaul)

From 300,000

to 3,000,000

Medium-large early state (the early state in Poland, the 11th – 14th centuries)

Medium-large early state analogue
(the Xiongnu polity, 200 BCE –
48 CE)

More than

Large early state (the Incas' Empire)

There are no recognized stable large early state analogues


Complex chiefdoms in America. Large (let alone super large) complex chiefdoms can be considered early state analogues as they do not yield to small and medium states in size, population and complexity.7 As an example of very large chiefdoms one can point chiefdoms in America, e.g., in Venezuela. in particular, Spencer (1998) speaks about Caquetío chiefdoms in the 16th century. One of Caquetío chiefdoms comprised 23 villages under the authority of a paramount chief, and moreover at one of the village there lived about four thousand people. According to Federmann (in Spencer 1998: 108–109) this paramount chief could gather 30,000 fighting men. The other two chiefdoms could put forward 16,000 and 8,500, respectively (Spencer 1998: 108–109). Chiefdoms in Haiti in the late 15th and 16th centuries could serve as another example. Haiti at that time was probably the most populous island among the other Greater Antilles (Aleksandrenkov 1976: 143) and was composed of several huge chiefdoms which were at war with each other. Among the great number of chiefs (caciques) the Spanish singled out several more significant, paramount, chiefs. According to some data each of the four major chiefs had about 60–80 lower chiefs under his authority, and Las Casas even stated that Behechio, one of the paramount chiefs, had about 200 caciques under his command (Ibid.: 150–151).

Hawaiian chiefdoms: the complexity level. However, it is worth taking the Hawaiian chiefdoms as the most illustrative example of large chiefdoms as early state analogues. This is all the more relevant as prior to the contacts with the Europeans the social organization on the Hawaiian islands was the most complex of all Polynesian ones and, perhaps, even of all ever known chiefdoms (Earle 2000: 73–74; 2011; see also Johnson and Earle 2000: 284).

The existence of (an) early state in aboriginal Hawaii has always been a matter of controversy (van Bakel 1996). It is not surprising, as the Hawaiian chiefdoms' complexity and sophistication complicates their classification. However, this makes the procedure more important and challenging. That is why, I cannot agree that the matter whether the polities of the prehistoric Hawaiian Islands are classified as chiefdoms or states becomes largely irrelevant (Earle 2011: 29). It seems important for me to define whether the Hawaii is a state or its analogue in the form of a very complex chiefdom. Earle's definition of the Hawaiian Islands chieftaincies as state-like political organization (Ibid.: 37) is rather rightful, but this very fact indicates that to consider them as a state analogue is more efficient.

The Hawaiians made a considerable economic progress, in particularly, in irrigation and in stimulation of economy in whole, including creating fishponds and salt dam (see Earle 1997, 2000, 2011; Johnson and Earle 2000; Wittfogel 1957: 241). Among them a very high level of stratification and accumulation of surplus product by the elite was observed; a fundamental ideological explanation of upper stratum's privileges was also typical of them (van Bakel 1996; Seaton 1978; Claessen 2004). By the time of James Cook's discovery of the Hawaiian Islands there had been formed a political system with several large co-existing chiefdoms, whose borders were limited within separate islands (Hawai'i, Maui, O'ahu, and Kaua'i) with some adjacent small islands (Earle 2002: 78; 2011). The wars between large chiefdoms, as well as within one chiefdom, were rather common.8 From time to time, as a result of successful or failed wars or other political events, polities expanded or decreased in size.

Inhabitants in large chiefdoms numbered from 30 to 100 thousand people (Johnson and Earle 2000: 246). The chiefdoms were divided into ‘districts’; on the whole, at least in the largest chiefdoms, we can speak about four-tier system of hierarchy from paramount chiefs to land managers (konohiki) (Seaton 1978: 274; Earle 2011).

The Hawaiian polities: a state, a pre-state society or a state analogue. Thus, in these chiefdoms there were present all the objective conditions for early state formation: a sizeable area with ‘territorial’ division, large population, social stratification of high level, sufficient surplus, a system of forced redistribution, strong authority of paramount chief and his sacralization, a strict power hierarchy, developed ideology and so on. But concrete historical conditions and ‘triggers’, i.e. the dramatic and important changes in conventional life conditions had been absent (see Claessen 2002, 2004, 2010; Grinin 2002, 2003, 2009, 2011a, 2011b). That is why a state (according to my and many other researches' interpretation of such a polity) did not emerge in the pre-contact period.

The view that before the arrival of Cook's third expedition in 1778–1779 there had been no state in the Hawaii is shared by the majority of researches (e.g., Goldman 1970; Sahlins 1972а; Service 1975; Kirch 1986; Harris 1995: 152; Earle 1997, 2000; Johnson and Earle 2000). Still some anthropologists (e.g., Seaton 1978: 270; van Bakel 1996; Bargatzky 1985) believe that in the pre-contact Hawaiian Islands the early state (at least, an inchoate one) had existed. Of course, it depends to a large extend on the definition of a state.

Proceeding from my definition of an early state (see above), I think that we cannot speak of a state in Hawaii for that period. But at the same time, it is wrong to regard it as just a pre-state society.9 It should be considered as a society of the same level of development with early states but lacking some state characteristics (although these features were functionally replaced by some other), i.e. as an early state analogue. The process of rapid changes and transformations of the Hawaiian chiefdoms (early state analogues) into an early state started from James Cook's discovery of the islands. We can speak about qualitative changes indicating that early state in Hawaii had already been formed approximately after the military consolidation of the Hawaiian Islands into united polity, i.e. around 1810, when all the inhabited islands of the archipelago joined the Kingdom of Kamehameha I.

Which characteristics of the state did the Hawaiian chiefdoms not qualify for? Though methodologically it is correct to analyze the polity on the very threshold of transformation into the early state just from the viewpoint of early state concept, it would be worth starting to compare the Hawaiian polities with the definition of the state as a whole, and then proceeding to their comparison with early state. According to my definition, the state should not be just an organization of power separated from population, but a system of special (specialized) institutions, bodies and rules. The Hawaiian chiefdoms had a separated from the population power structure and were close to the state in this sense. But whether this organization represented a system of special and moreover specialized institutions, bodies and rules? No, in no way can one call the system of governmental authorities in Hawaii a specialized one. The determinative ‘specialized’ implies that these institutions, bodies and rules appeared in the first place for political and administrative governance, and that within the society they had that particular administrative focus.10 Whereas in Hawaii it represented a system on the whole, supporting the class and caste supremacy of chiefs of different ranks, in which political, economic, ethnic and spiritual aspects were closely intertwined. ‘Rule in Hawaii was a combination of noble prerogatives and duties’ (Seaton 1978: 275). Besides, the ideological point of this symbiosis – at least, in terms of stable basis for the upper stratum's power (ali’i, i.e. ‘noble’) – was of principal significance (see, e.g., Service 1975: 158), and therefore, the ideology could not be changed, and did not allow anybody to change social relations. To a lesser degree one can consider as specifically the state's ones the rules in the form of different kapus (taboos), by means of which the Hawaiian chiefs reinforced and often realized their authority, while the most significant kapus, on the whole, supported the upper estate (ali’i) power.11

Now let us analyze Hawaiian polities in terms of the conformity to the early state definition.

The major principle of political organization of power in the Hawaiian chiefdoms was tightly (tighter than in early states) connected with kinship hierarchy based on genealogical affinity with the ancestors, with the paramount chief's lineage and with the chief himself. According to the principle of primogeniture, the elder brothers' and sons' lines were considered higher-ranked. Consequently, blood brothers had different status. In fact, all the political and social organization was based on the strict rules and ideology of kinship, and the ruling groups represented endogamous castes and quasi-castes (see, e.g., Earle 1997: 34–35; Service 1975: 152–154; van Bakel 1996; Bellwood 1987: 98–99; Butinov 1985).

That is why, if we use the early state definition I presented (p. 237), the Hawaiian polities do not meet item ‘c’ which says that early state is a power organization formed (entirely or, at least, mostly) not on the kinship principle. The word ‘mostly’ means that in early states there is present an evident social mobility when establishing and enlarging the administrators' stratum (at least the medium civil and war administrators' stratum). Such a social mobility in Hawaii was very weak, if present at all. And the tighter are the restrictions for outside persons to enter an administration body, the more difficult is it for a polity to pass to real state management instruments (see Grinin 2004а: 110–111).

Though in many early states, as, e.g., in China of the Zhou period (Creel 1970, 2001; Vasilyev 1993) or even in Ancient Rus, the kinship relations played a critical part in the formation of rulers' upper stratum (e.g., ancient Russian principalities), the middle classes were recruited mainly from other strata and sources, including those with diminished rights (about Ancient Rus see, e.g., Klyuchevsky 1937; Froyanov 1999).12 Besides, in the course of time, as Claessen and Skalník have convincingly shown (Claessen and Skalník 1978а), the significance of kinship in the state decreases.

In the Hawaiian polities the kinship ideology was too important, so even the low stratum of the ruling estate consisted mostly of the chieftain elite's distant relatives. It is not surprising that entering even this low ruling stratum was extremely difficult, if possible at all, as it also included chiefs (though of a lower rank), their close relatives and distant kinsmen of ali’i (Service 1975: 152) and often kinsmen of the major chief family (see, e.g., Bellwood 1987: 98).13 A lower ranked chief could become a member of paramount chief's retinue or his warrior (Earle 1997: 44); and only the lowest strata (servants and craftsmen) were composed of non-relatives (yet, perhaps, not entirely, as in Hawaii even community members [maka’āinana] were considered distant relations of ali’i).14

There is one more crucial point, where the Hawaiian polities mismatch my early state definition – their insufficient or simply weak potential to ‘change relations and regulations’ by means of political power. I mean the possibilities to change relationships dramatically through reforms and political decisions. Of course, life in the Hawaiian chiefdoms forged ahead. The persons of chiefs', chieftaincies and chiefdoms boundary changed, revolts and uprisings were quite frequent events (Sahlins 1972a), and as a result of revolts and civil wars a chief of the lower line lacking clear ‘legal’ rights to the supreme title, could come to power; the land allotment could be redistributed; the taboos were enforced or abolished, the obligation norms varied within certain limits. But all the institutions and rules, major socio-political and ideological relations, governing principles remained traditional – i.e. based on kinship and caste division. Consequently, new or unconventional forms of life regulation (political, administrative, social etc.), which inevitably appear in early state, were almost absent.

As Service pointed out, the chiefdoms' socio-political system relying on long-term customs does not satisfy any more the requirements of a forming state which, though attempting to rule by means of ideology and traditions (customs), should develop the additional support in the form of a monopoly of force with a legal structure managing this force (Service 1975: 154; see also Webb 1974). On the whole, as we will see below, the reasons for the necessary change lied deeper. The matter is that in the early state the importance of political and administrative (military) instruments for internal management sharply increases, what requires new recruiting forms and new-type managers, modification of management technologies and retreat from traditional methods of life regulation (for details see Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2010; see also Shifferd 1987: 43, 47).

chiefdoms and
the Hawaiian state)

First of all, a few general points (see in detail Grinin 2003, 2011a, 2011b):

1. In analogous polities the development is bound to a lesser degree to the creation of new institutions, relations and forms, but to a greater degree to the overdevelopment of former tendencies (in pre-contact Hawaii this can be seen in the overdevelopment of chief's sacralization, of the kapu institute, of the kinship and pseudo-kinship system, and of the hyper strict division of genealogical lines of different priority and so on, in the whole ‘rank – mana – taboo’ system [Webb 1965: 25]). In the early state we have an inverse proportion: the reform, change and breach of traditions increase, and new forms of management, recruiting system, quite often new ideologies etc. appear.

2. In general, in the early state the supreme authority's capability to change the relations considerably suppresses that of the analogues.

3. On the whole, in the early states the tendency to changes is much stronger than in the analogous polities.

4. As a result, in the early states the speed and/or depth, systemic character of transformations and the rate of development on the whole increase compared to the analogues.15 The early state formation is always connected with significant shifts, and on a number of occasions with deep socio-political and demographic crisis.

As within the scope of this article I have no opportunity to make a thorough comparison of early state and their analogues (see in detail Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2010, 2011a, 2011b), in this section I will dwell at length only on some aspects vividly demonstrating the difference between an early state analogous polity and an early state in the following: the depth of transformation; the rate of changes; the means to realize transformations, especially reforming and breach of traditions. It is worth noting that differences between Hawaiian chiefdoms and Hawaiian state in all these issues were manifested in a classical form. However, such changes could not take place without the supreme power reinforcement, so I will start with this very process. At the same time, it is worth paying attention to some peculiarities typical for the Hawaiian state formation process: the systemic character of changes (that hardly appears in every early state or does not show itself immediately); high price that the Archipelago paid for such changes; and some others.

The supreme power reinforcement. The degree of centralization in pre-contact Hawaii was very high, so the process of Hawaiian transformation into an early state nominally went on under the same political regime as before. But by this example one can see that, if a state emerges on the basis of complex chiefdoms with strong chieftain authority, the new ‘king's’ power could be stronger and indisputable. It can be recalled that Kamehameha I, having united all the islands in the early 19th century, liquidated a part of local aristocracy, handed over the power over the islands from local dynasties to his relatives and surroundings, redistributed the lands of the conquered territory (Tumarkin 1964: 88–90; 1971: 21) and changed the manner of appointment of upper administrators. He also relocated his residence when moved to O’ahu Island, and such an action is typical of many early states (see Grinin 2003: 160). A considerable reinforcement of political power was carried out also through the weakening of priesthood (Service 1975: 158; Davenport 1969: 17), although it harmed the concept of chief's sacred status (Davenport 1969: 17). The son of Kamehameha I, Liholiho (that took the throne name of Kamehameha II) and his entourage launched the ‘Hawaiian cultural revolution’ (Service 1975: 156–158; Davenport 1969; Hiroa 1964; Tokarev and Tolstov 1956: 654; Tumarkin 1971; Latushko 2006). This sharp overturn began with violation of a number of the most reputable kapu. In particularly, Liholiho publicly entered his wives' places and ate with them (to be more precise, he accepted their invitation to meal together). Than Kamehameha II, following his surroundings' advice, sent around the decrees on the abolishment of the former religion and destroyed the worship places. Having army with firearms, the king rightfully believed that he needed the sacred support of the Heaven less than before which he proved by the victory in the started civil war. Though the reasons for this cultural revolution are widely discussed (see, e.g., Webb 1965), it is quite obvious, that it had a political bias, because the state objectively faced the necessity to eradicate the opposition, which in Hawaii stood not only for the former religion, but also for the former order. According to Service, a new state ruler often tends to consider old priesthood as an obstacle on the way to the strengthening of their power and absolutism (Service 1975: 158). While to break with the old ideology and to use the new religions and ideologies more suitable for the aims, frequently seems rather an appropriate way to carry out such a socio-political revolution. Besides, it appears that new rulers usually do not mind releasing from constraining and tiresome sacral duties, if it is possible.

Later the extent of central power in Hawaii – depending on kings' and regents' temper, as well as foreign influence – could oscillate, but the very fact of a unified state was not disputable any more, and separatism did not play any significant role.

The difference in the depth and rate of transformations of a society in the analogues and in the early states could be easily understood if one compares a certain stagnation of the socio-political pattern before Kamehameha I and the numerous changes he made during his rule.16 Among the major ones are the following: 1) the change of the system of appointment of high officials and islands' governors (kuhina), who from that time on were appointed according to the principle of personal loyalty still from among people of supreme status (the governors, in their turn, also appointed to the positions with the king's approval); 2) the partial separation of administrative power from the economic one due to the changed system of administrators appointment and landowning (the chiefs' estates were split and situated in different places and on different islands). Moreover, the nobility was separated from their ‘nests’ as the highest aristocrats should have stayed with the king; 3) the creation of the regular army and navy17 the police, and political investigation agency;18 4) the introduction of written language in management (co-existing along with oral tradition); 5) changes in the taxation and duty systems. Now the former included different customs and port-duties (and incomes from the monopoly of foreign trade), and the latter became not only severer (especially in respect of sandalwood harvesting) but partially transformed into a monetary form. In addition, there were made new economic arrangements, connected with foreign trade (storehouses building etc.) and irrigation.

Great changes in the state administration system also took place after Kamehameha I. Short reign of Kamehameha II (1819–1824) was marked by the above-mentioned cultural revolution. This created an ideological vacuum that was quickly filled by missionaries.19 In the issue their role fundamentally changes in the political and cultural ideological fields: the increase of the Europeans direct influence in every sphere of Hawaiian life; the establishment of Hawaiian written language and educational system reaching out to the whole population; changes in legislation including written laws practice; the Christianization of life.

In the 1840–185020 the reformation of state administration system after the Western constitutional patterns (with particular Hawaiian character) was performed, the king's authority was reduced and restricted, there were established the state councils, ministries, parliament, a peculiar election system; the safety for life and property was proclaimed, the naturalized Europeans got the right to be elected, etc.

The ways of changes: breaking traditions and reforming. The attitude towards traditions in the early states could vary, in particular it often depended on to what extent the tradition at that very moment suited the authorities' interests (whereas, of course, the reformers' psychological peculiarities played their role). The cultural revolution in Hawaii and the following adoption of Christianity certainly were the most dramatic demonstrations of breaking fundamental traditions. In political life the breach of traditions was also quite obvious and varied, particularly, in giving up native ceremonial21 and in imitating foreign palace ceremonials and rituals, clothes, mode of life, etc. (Johnson and Earle 2000: 294), in introduction of new forms of communication with people and new political formulas (in particular, those imprinted in constitutions), in attempts to reduce the estate inequality.

The early states could remain indifferent towards many traditions as they did not affect its functioning. Others, on contrary, were sometimes dramatically enforced and used by the state to lean on, and less important traditions were made significant or the major ones.22 Quite often it had to do with such ‘traditions’ as performing various labour, financial or military services. That is exactly what took place in the Hawaiian state in the 19th century. Because of the government expenditures increase, the court and aristocracy squandering and huge state debts, the commoners' obligations – relatively moderate in the pre-contact period – dramatically increased afterwards. It was especially pronounced in the compulsory sandalwood logging, which occasionally led to an agricultural crises, food deficit and even famine (Tumarkin 1971; Ellis 1963 [1827]: 79–80).

The reform became the main way of changing the existing order and modernization, which was promoted by foreign influence. In 1804 Kamehameha's service numbered already 50 Europeans (Lisyansky 1812: 184), and by the middle of the 19th century naturalized foreigners hold all the key positions. Many of fundamental reforms have already been mentioned above, but it is also worth pointing out significant changes of the 1840s that concerned adjustments of state and royal finances, state debt discharge etc., judicial and land reforms with introduction of private ownership and the right of free land disposal (including the one for foreigners), which led to profound changes in social structure and, eventually, to the loss of independence.

Systemic character, price for transformation and its peculiarities. Even a brief survey of changes shows that they were of systemic nature, actually involving within a relatively short period all spheres of life and all aspects of political, economic, religious and cultural activities. This consistency combined with rapidity of changes is generally uncharacteristic of the early states and was the Hawaiian state's peculiarity (and, to a certain extent, that of other Polynesian states). By all means, this is the result of the enormous and constantly increasing foreign influence on the reform process and of the growing economic interests in the Hawaii region among different immigrant groups and countries.

But as a rule one should pay a high price for such rapid changes. In Hawaii it resulted, first, in the depopulation, and then in the ethnic composition change, when by the 1900s the number of foreign immigrants eventually exceeded the number of the natives.23

It is useful to point out one more peculiarity (in general, uncharacteristic of the early states) of the Hawaiian polity transformation, to be precise of its second phase that began after Kamehameha I's death. The thing is that after the 1819 civil war (that broke out as a result of the former religion abolishment) the significance of wars and, respectively, of the army dramatically decreased. And along with that the stimuli for development, typical just for the early states evolution (which, as a rule, was accompanied with endless wars and directed all their forces to the development of the army and external activity) were reduced.24


1. So we can summarize that the pre-contact Hawaiian chiefdoms which can be considered as the early state analogues were prevented from becoming the state by the following circumstances:

· The decisive influence of the status obtained by a person within the kinship hierarchy on the possibility to get a position in the governmental hierarchy. The person's social status was defined by almost a single criterion: that of his genealogical closeness to the senior kinship line (see, e.g., Bellwood 1987: 97–98; Claessen 1996; Sahlins 1972a). Although, as has been mentioned above, in some early states the factor of kinship relation with the ruling clan was of great significance, still in Hawaii its importance was exceptional.25 With the unification of the Hawaiian Islands by Kamehameha I in the early 19th century and with the elimination or reduction of the importance of the defeated chieftain clans (also by means of the confiscation of their lands), the possibilities increased to incorporate people of humble or not enough noble birth, including foreigners, to the ruling stratum. Besides, the foreigners were allotted estates with corvée labor force (see Tumarkin 1964: 94, 88–90; 1971: 21ff.) and later they completely became the leading economic force.

·   Quite limited possibilities to introduce political innovations due to an excessive importance of traditions especially religious and genealogical (tightly interconnected). Kapus permitted the chiefs to response quite flexibly to situations and also they supported traditional relations. We may agree with Elman Service that the system of Hawaiian chiefdoms was a theocracy held together by an ideology which justified and sanctioned the rule of hereditary aristocracy buttressed by age-old custom and etiquette (Service 1975: 154). Thus, as the whole order was supported by the mentioned ideology of sacrality and superiority of noble clans and lineages, any changes undermined not just the ideology, but the ruling group's position itself.

·   The isolation of the Hawaiian archipelago which maintained the established political, social, and ecological balance (on the latter see Seaton 1978). meanwhile, for the formation of the early state as has already been mentioned, there was necessary the situation of sudden change of the customary life conditions (the triggers). With the Europeans arrival such changes appeared.26

·   The impossibility to redistribute drastically the power authorities (including ones connected with duties) in favor of the center. This was prevented by a number of circumstances connected with the peculiarities of the Hawaiian polities. For instance, the attempts to increase the norms of common people exploitation
(if we can trust sahlins [1972b]) ran against their resistance and often ended with rebellions initiated by the malcontent chiefs and priests. Besides, the isolation and the absence of external markets limited the aristocracy's and chiefs' stimuli for such redistribution of material resources. in the early 19th century the reinforcement of the king's political and economic power permitted the concentration in his hands by an order of magnitude more resources, and moreover, those were not natural commodity but the export goods and money (i.e. in Earle's terminology not staple finance but wealth finance).27

2. At the same time the scale and level of development of large Hawaiian chiefdoms give good reasons to consider them early state analogues. In particular, the population of the Hawaiian largest chiefdom situated in the Big Island of the Archipelago itself, numbered 100,000 people (Johnson and Earle 2000: 285) which was hundred times more than the population of the typical simple chiefdoms similar to those, e.g., in the Trobriand Islands (Ibid.: 267–279).28 Just the number of chiefs in the Hawai'i could amount to a thousand, i.e. it corresponded to the total population of one of the Trobriand chiefdoms (Ibid.: 291). In other words, in this case one can apparently speak about a sort of primitive caste which can be called the chieftain one. If to the number of chiefs on the Hawaii Island one adds other representatives of the elite (priests, warriors, and specialists) and their relatives, the elite number will obviously exceed the total population of some complex chiefdoms on Tahiti whose population according to Claessen (2004: 77) numbered 5,000 people.29 One should also bear in mind that in the process of state formation in Hawaiian Archipelago the total population reduced and consequently, the population of the Hawaiian state already in the 1830s (132,000 people according to some, perhaps, underestimated data [Latushko 2006: 147–148]) hardly exceeded the population of just one chiefdom on the Big Island. And later the depopulation of the Hawaiian state continued.30

So the Hawaiian polities are quite comparable to the early state and even surpass some of them in size, sociocultural complexity, level of social stratification and centralization of power (concerning the level of the latter in early states see, e.g., Shifferd 1987).

3. All this shows that the Hawaiian complex chiefdoms should be considered as small and medium-size early state analogues.


The two models of state formation

The variants of early states formation were very diverse (see, e.g., Tymowski 1981, 1987, 2008; Godiner 1991; Grinin 2004a, 2011a, 2011b; see also Lloyd 1981). Thereby a non-state polity can transform into a state:

1)   from the pre-state level, for example, by synoikismos of small communes;

2)   from the level of small early state analogues (for example, the Great Mongolian empire of Genghis Khan began from that level31);

3)   from the level of medium-size early state analogues (for example, the Hawaiian Islands);

4)   even from the level of medium-large early state analogues (for example, the Scythians in the late 5th – early 4th century bcE).

Within the frame of multilinear evolutionary theory and the concept of the early state analogues it is most important to mark out two fundamental models of the state formation process: the vertical and the horizontal (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Two models of the transition to the early state

The vertical model is a direct transition of inherently pre-state polities to the early state through their expansion or consolidation. This model was typical, for example, for Mesopotamia in the late 4th and 3rd millennia BC (Dyakonov 1983: 110), for Greek communities (Gluskina 1983: 36; see also: Frolov 1986: 44; Andreev 1979: 20–21). This holds, for example, for the state of the Betsileo in Madagascar in the early 17th century (Kottak 1980; Claessen 2002, 2004). More infrequent was this model with the emergence of large states, such as the Zulu state in the early 19th century that very rapidly (literally within 2–3 decades) passed a way from a conglomerate of chiefdoms to an empire (Ritter 1955; Gluckman 1960, 1987 [1940]; Service 1975: 109; Büttner 1981: 184).

The horizontal model implied at the first phase the formation of early state analogues, that in the terms of complexity were quite comparable to states and only after that these analogues transformed into a state. Note that at the final stage such a transition often proceeds rather quickly, sometimes in a ‘revolutionary’ way. This may be connected both with the unification of a few analogues into a larger state, for example, through military amalgamation (as this process went on in Hawaiian Archipelago), and also it could occur through an internal transformation of an early state analogue (as this was observed among the Scythians).

Thus, complex chiefdoms that can be characterized as early state analogues, while transforming into early state, accomplished the transition ‘horizontally’, that explains the rapidity and even ‘abruptness’ of changes that took place. In fact, in such complex chiefdoms many pre-conditions necessary for the transition to statehood had already existed long before, there was only required a necessary impulse.


1 The necessity to give a special definition of the early state consists in the fact that the state's most vivid attributes (the presence of bureaucratic apparatus, taxation system and administrative-territorial division) were not manifested in the early states (by the way, that is the reason why some scholars deny the early states as states proper). For detailed grounding of the terms ‘state’ and ‘early state’, as well as the analysis of different definitions of the state see Grinin 2011b: 21–32.

2 On the difficulties with classification of the states which already surpassed the pre-state level but failed to become states see also Lloyd 1981: 233; Marcus and Feinman 1998: 6; Doornbos 1994; Schaedel 1995.

3 Within the multilinear evolution approach the fact that chiefdoms and early states (and moreover, not only inchoate but also typical ones) virtually overlap each other is quite natural because societies can achieve the same level in different ways. On the contrary, if not for this overlapping, the evolution could be considered only as a unilinear process, when every state by definition is larger and more complex than any chiefdom which is not observed in reality. Moreover, the transition to the statehood could be carried out both ‘vertically’, i.e. from the lower level, and ‘horizontally’, i.e. from about the same level of complexity (see below).

4 See, for example, Alexeev et al. 2004; Beliaev et al. 2002; Bondarenko 1995, 2000a, 2000b; Bondarenko and Korotayev 2000a, 2000b; Bondarenko and Sledzevski 2000; Crumley 1995, 2001, 2005; Grinin 2003, 2004b, 2007e; Grinin et al. 2004; Grinin et al. 2006; Korotayev 1995; Kradin et al. 2000; Kradin, Bondarenko, and Barfield 2003; Kradin and Lynsha 1995; McIntosh 1999a; Possehl 1998; Schaedel 1995; Girenko 1993; Popov 1995a, 1995b, 2000; Shtyrbul 2006. See the full reference list in Grinin 2011a, 2011b.

5 But naturally that does not mean at all an obligatory presence of the settlements' hierarchical structure (on this see, e.g., Wright and Johnson 1975) and administrative hierarchy, as the hierarchies of that kind exist only in certain types of complex societies (in particular, see Drennan et al. 2011 in the present volume; see also Flannery 1998: 16).

6 The last two points are well spelled out in Claessen and Skalník 1978a, 1978b, 1978c, 1978d but only in respect of the early states.

7 The chiefdoms embracing up to a hundred settlements and which are so large and complex that deserve to be called states, are referred by, e.g., Carneiro (1981; 2000: 55–56), Rountree and Turner (1998), etc.

8 After a paramount chief's death the redistribution of chiefs' possessions alongside with their shift in the hierarchy usually took place which rarely had
a peaceful form. That is why the succession of a paramount chief usually involved fierce war among competing heirs (Earle 2011; Stingle 1983: 116).

9 They were a pre-state society only from historical view point but in no way from the stadial-level one (for details on such a division see Grinin 2004a: 94; 2011a: 88; 2011b: 245–247).

10 Such agencies and relations started to form only during Kamehameha I reign and especially after him, these were, e.g., police, courts, new laws and regulations, education institutions, monetary regulation institutions etc.

11 The existence of these institutions probably was one of the reasons that determined the lack of legislation and court based on it.

12 In general, in early states the role of foreigners, slaves, people with diminished rights in the formation of administrative apparatus was extremely important (see, e.g., Shifferd 1987; Grinin 2010: 43).

13 Although Seaton (1978: 274) assumes that the stratum of land managers (konohiki) could partially comprise commoners (maka’āinana), however, other researchers do not corroborate this. For example, Earle (2011: 39) writes that land manager (konohiki) was typically a lower ranked chief and often a former warrior.

14 But in the time of large-scale hostilities chiefs could recruit warriors among commoners, who could expect to get a plot of captured lands in the case of success.

15 Cf. the rates of development, say, of Kievan Rus and of its neighbors the Polovtsi (the Cuman), or of the Saxons in Britain and Saxony, or of the Mongolians before Genghis Khan Empire and after it, etc., and this idea will become clear. Already Claessen and Skalník pointed at the increasing speed of changes in the early state. They emphasized the idea that the evident characteristic of statehood formation is a snowball effect (cumulativeness): once it comes into motion, it grows faster and faster (Claessen and Skalník 1978a: 624–625); actually, we are dealing here with the positive feedback effect.

16 Within the scope of this paper I can only list those changes in brief.

17 The army equipped with guns and cannons and billeted on each island numbered several thousand people, and the fleet consisted of 60 deck boats, several brigs and schooners, besides, forts were built (Tumarkin 1964: 102–103; 1971: 20).

18 For example, V. M. Golovin (1965: 223) noticed ‘the espionage system was perfectly developed in Hawaii’.

19 Especially in the period of the queen regent Kaahumanu during the reigns of underage Kamehameha III (1824–1832).

20 It is the late period of Kamehameha III's independent reign (1824–1855) and the initial period of Kamehameha IV's reign (1855–1863).

21 One should say a rather impressive ceremonial. Each paramount chief would move about surrounded by 60 or so attendant warriors and personal specialists, who carried his symbols of office, personal regalia (such as his spittoon and flyswatter), and answered to his every whim (Earle 2011: 37).

22 For example, the Zulu youths had to study some kind of feats of war in military kraals where they stayed for quite a long time, and only after that they obtained the right to get married. Zulu ruler Chaka, who waged endless wars and was interested in a numerous army, excessively strengthened this tradition. He prohibited warriors to get married for years because they were constantly at military service. He gave this right to certain warriors or whole units only for meritorious service (see Ritter 1955).

23 According to certain data the number of immigrants in Hawaiian Islands in 1850 amounted less then 3 % and in 1900, as a result of mass inflow of Chinese and other workers, it counted almost three quarters of the population (Latushko 2006: 185).

24 Perhaps, such relatively peaceful existence in Hawaiian state weakened the power of Hawaiian aristocracy and lead to its replacement by foreign plantation owners. And the reduction of population alleviates demographic pressure and social tension.

25 However, in Zhou China the peculiar role of the kinship status in the ruler's clans in many respects was defined by the fact that the Zhou were a comparatively small ethnos in the conquered country (however, the same was in many other countries, for example, Kievan Rus). Besides, the administrative positions were held not only by the ruler's relatives but also by the aristocrats having abilities and services. Many offices were hereditary but this was not a norm at all. ‘People were appointed to the positions and promoted basing on their personal merits and abilities’ (Creel 2001: 88; see also Vasilyev 1993: 187 etc.). And to my mind, this essentially distinguish the Western Zhou as an early state from the Hawaiian chiefdoms as an early state analogues.

26 And by the way, with the account of the isolation of the Archipelago and Polynesia on the whole from the rest of the world, and due to the sea-girt territory of the islands, in neither case can I agree with the idea supported by Earle in the present volume (see p. 37) that Polynesia is a laboratory of how human societies develop (Sahlins 1972a; Goldman 1970; Kirch 2007). The conditions under which the Polynesian society developed should be regarded rather as a specific and not typical case. Consequently, the socio-political relations in Polynesia should be regarded through the perspective of these societies' peculiarity.

27 About the important role of foreign trade in early states see, e.g., Webb 1974: 374.

28 Some scholars estimate the population of the Hawai'i before Cook's arrival as being about 120 thousand and even give still larger figures (see Wright 2006: 6).

29 Claessen even regards them as early states (Claessen 2004: 77).

30 In particular, measles killed one fifth of Hawaii's people during the 1850s (Mintz 2007).

31 As by the moment of the start of his political career his father's confederation had already split (Fletcher 2004: 235).


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