The Lapita people are considered to be the ancestors of all Polynesians. They originated from an unknown part of Southeast Asia, and began migrating toward the Pacific around 1500 B.C.

Marquesans are considered to be one of thirty-six closely-related groups of people that are descended from the Lapita.  Other closely-related groups are the Tahitians, Hawaiians, Samoans, Easter Islanders, and the Maori of New Zealand.

Polynesians were the most able and sophisticated sailors in the ancient world. They navigated the huge landless expanses of the Pacific using the stars, forms & rhythms of ocean swells, cloud formations, and the flight patterns of seabirds.

There is debate over when the Marquesas were first settled, but according to scientists the earliest proof of human settlers dates back to around 200 BC, when it is supposed that seafarers from Samoa and Tonga discovered the islands.

They probably arrived in double-hulled sailing canoes that were large enough to transport people, animals, plants and equipment necessary to establish a new settlement. Plants they brought with them were breadfruit, taro, bananas, sugarcane, turmeric, kava, gourds and possible, coconuts.

Among the animals were pigs, dogs and chickens accompanied by stowaway rats. Chickens and roosters were mainly reared for their feathers, which were fashioned into elaborate headdresses worn at feasts and ceremonies.

Such was the demand for feathers that one explorer noted that some roosters walked about "plucked quite bare,"