Bengt Danielsson

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Bengt Danielsson
Bengt and Marie-Thérèse Danielsson.jpg
Bengt (left) and his wife, Marie-Thérèse Danielsson
Born (1921-07-06)July 6, 1921
Norrköping Municipality
Died July 4, 1997(1997-07-04) (aged 75)
Nationality Swedish
Occupation Anthropologist
Employer National Museum of Ethnology (Sweden)
Known for Crew member on the Kon-Tiki
Right Livelihood Award (1991)
Spouse(s) Marie-Thérèse Danielsson

Bengt Emmerik Danielsson (6 July 1921, Norrköping Municipality – 4 July 1997) was an anthropologist and a crew member on the Kon-Tiki raft expedition from South America to French Polynesia in 1947.


Danielsson was born in Sweden in 1921, obtained a Ph.D. in anthropology and was director of Sweden's National Museum of Ethnology for four years (1967–1971).[1]

After the Kon-Tiki expedition, Danielsson married in Lima a French woman, Marie-Thérèse (1923–2003), and they decided to settle in Raroia, the atoll on which the raft had made landfall.[2] They stayed there from 1949 to 1952, and in 1953 they moved to Tahiti. His doctoral thesis on the Tuamotus island chain, submitted to Uppsala University in 1955, was published the following year as Work and Life on Raroia.[3] He subsequently wrote many books and scripted many films, becoming one of the world's foremost students of Polynesia. He and his wife were particularly outspoken critics of French nuclear tests at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls, and of the destruction of Polynesian culture through colonialism.[2] Their daughter Maruia (1952–1972) died from cancer.[4]

Danielsson received the Right Livelihood Award for his campaigning work in 1991.[1] He died in July 1997 following a deterioration in his health,[1] and was buried in Mjölby, Sweden.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Danielsson, Bengt (1956). Work and Life on Raroia: An Acculturation Study from the Tuamotu Group, French Oceania. London: G. Allen & Unwin. 
  • Danielsson, Bengt (1962). What Happened on the Bounty. London: G. Allen & Unwin. 
  • Danielsson, Bengt (1965). Love in the South Seas. New York: Reynal. 
  • Danielsson, Bengt (1965). Gauguin in the South Seas. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. 
  • Danielsson, Bengt & Marie-Thérèse (1977). Moruroa mon amour. London: Hammondsworth, Penguin. 
  • Danielsson, Bengt & Marie-Thérèse (1986). Poisoned Reign: French Nuclear Colonialism in the Pacific. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-008130-5. 


  1. ^ a b c "Marie-Thérèse and Bengt Danielsson (Polynesia)". Right Livelihood Award. 
  2. ^ a b Cormick, Craig (29 January 1992). "Danielssons awarded alternative peace prize". Green Left. 
  3. ^ "In Memoriam: Bengt Danielsson" (PDF). Newsletter #99, Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania. December 1997. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]