The first settlers

Although anthropologists are uncertain about where and when the first people came to the Marshall Islands, most feel that it was either from the area of Indonesia, or from the area of Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji). It is believed that people have been in the Marshall Islands for several hundred years possibly for as long as 2,000 years or more. All Micronesian languages including Marshallese belong to the Austronesian (MICRONESIA)] (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. In general, it is agreed that the forebears of the Micronesians were of Asian origin as were the cultivated plants they brought with them. The settlement of this area was not a simple one-way movement of a large population but involved many small groups of individuals who landed on different islands either through chance or planned migration and then decided to stay.