First Contact: The Death of Captain Cook. A case study in ethnohistory. Ethnohistory is the study of historical situations through the lens of anthropology It provides a way to understand history from the perspective of those who did not write the historical accounts.
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A case study in ethnohistory
Lono was invoked since Cook arrived during the Makahiki, the time of the year associated with Lono in the traditional calendar. Since his ships carried long white sails, similar to the banners carried in Makahiki processions, people assumed that he was also a representative of the god.
Cook’s men bound the King’s arms behind his back, which in Hawaiian custom is reserved for people about to be sacrificed.
His men had also signaled their readiness to kill local people.