Historians and archaeologists define primary states-"cradles of civilization" from which all modern nation states ultimately derive-as significant territorially-based, autonomous societies in which a centralized government employs legitimate authority to exercise sovereignty. The well-recognized list of regions that witnessed the development of primary states is short: Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, China, Mesoamerica, and Andean South America. Drawing on archaeological and ethnohistorical sources, Robert J. Hommon demonstrates that Polynesia, with primary states in both Hawaii and Tonga, should be added to this list. The Ancient Hawaiian State is a study of the ancient Hawaiians' transformation of their Polynesian chiefdom into primary state societies, independent of any pre-existing states.
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