T he Polynesian people are considered to be by linguistic, archaeological and human genetic ancestry a subset of the sea-migrating Austronesian people and tracing Polynesian languages places their prehistoric origins in the Malay Archipelago, and ultimately, in Taiwan. Between about 3000 and 1000 BC speakers of Austronesian languages began spreading from Taiwan into Island Southeast Asia, as tribes whose natives were thought to have arrived through South China about 8,000 years ago to the edges of western Micronesia and on into Melanesia, although they are different from the Han Chinese who now form the majority of people in China and Taiwan.
Micronesia began to be settled several millennia ago, although there are competing theories about the origin and arrival of the first settlers. There are numerous difficulties with conducting archaeological excavations in the islands, due to their size, settlement patterns and storm damage.
As a result, much evidence is based on linguistic analysisThe earliest archaeological traces of civilization have been found on the island of Saipan, dated to 1500 BCE or slightly before the ancestors of the Micronesians settled there over 4,000 years ago.