History of the Philippines

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5000 BCE Jan 1 - 300 BCE

Austronesian Migrations from Taiwan


The Austronesian peoples, sometimes referred to as Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of peoples in Taiwan, Maritime Southeast Asia, Micronesia, coastal New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Madagascar that speak Austronesian languages. They also include indigenous ethnic minorities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Hainan, the Comoros, and the Torres Strait Islands.

Based on the current scientific consensus, they originated from a prehistoric seaborne migration, known as the Austronesian expansion, from pre-Han Taiwan, at around 1500 to 1000 BCE. Austronesians reached the northernmost Philippines, specifically the Batanes Islands, by around 2200 BCE. Austronesians used sails some time before 2000 BCE. In conjunction with their other maritime technologies (notably catamarans, outrigger boats, lashed-lug boat building, and the crab claw sail), this enabled their dispersal into the islands of the Indo-Pacific.

Aside from language, Austronesian peoples widely share cultural characteristics, including such traditions and technologies as tattooing, stilt houses, jade carving, wetland agriculture, and various rock art motifs. They also share domesticated plants and animals that were carried along with the migrations, including rice, bananas, coconuts, breadfruit, Dioscorea yams, taro, paper mulberry, chickens, pigs, and dogs.