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Oceania is a geographical (often geopolitical) region consisting of numerous countries and territories – mostly islands – in the Pacific Ocean. The exact scope of Oceania is controversial, with varying interpretations including East Timor, Australia, New Zealand, or none of these.
The primary use of the term Oceania is to describe a continental region (like Europe or Africa) that lies between Asia and the Americas, with Australia as the major land mass. The name Oceania is used, rather than Australia, because unlike the other continental groupings, it is the ocean rather than the continent that links the nations together. Oceania is the smallest continental grouping in land area and the second smallest, after Antarctica, in population.
Countries and territories of Oceania
Image:Oceania-map.JPG Oceania has been traditionally divided into Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia (originally by the French explorer Dumont d'Urville in 1831). This subdivision is no longer recognised as correct by most geographers and scientists — who prefer to divide Oceania into Near Oceania and Remote Oceania — but it is still the most popular one.
Most of Oceania consists of small island nations. Australia is the only continental country, and Papua New Guinea and East Timor are the only countries with land borders, both with Indonesia.
The nations of Oceania have varying degrees of independence from their colonial powers and have negotiated a wide range of constitutional arrangements to suit their circumstances. The following list contains the countries and territories that are classified as part of Oceania by UNESCO; other countries are sometimes considered part of Oceania (see Other Interpretations below).
- East Timor - republic
- Fiji - republic
- New Caledonia - sui generis collectivity of France2
- Papua New Guinea - Commonwealth Realm1
- Solomon Islands - Commonwealth Realm1
- Vanuatu - republic
- Guam - organised, unincorporated territory of the United States
- Kiribati - republic
- Marshall Islands - republic in free association with the United States
- Micronesia, Federated States of - republic in free association with the United States
- Nauru - republic
- Northern Mariana Islands - organised, unincorporated commonwealth in political union with the United States
- Palau - republic in free association with the United States
- Wake Island - unorganised, unincorporated territory of the United States
- American Samoa- unorganised, unincorporated territory of the United States
- Cook Islands - self-governing state in free association with New Zealand
- French Polynesia - "overseas country" of France2
- Niue - self-governing state in free association with New Zealand
- New Zealand - Commonwealth Realm1
- Pitcairn - overseas territory of the United Kingdom
- Samoa - constitutional monarchy under Malietoa Tanumafili II
- Tokelau - semi-autonomous territory of New Zealand
- Tonga - absolute monarchy under King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV
- Tuvalu - Commonwealth Realm1
- Wallis and Futuna Islands - overseas collectivity of France2
- Commonwealth Realms are independent constitutional monarchies in which Elizabeth II reigns as Queen
- See administrative divisions of France
Other interpretations of Oceania
- Australia is sometimes not included in Oceania, although a term like Pacific islands would normally be used to describe Oceania without Australia
- Hawaii and the United States territories with no indigenous population in the North Pacific are sometimes included, but are normally grouped with the United States in North America. Hawaiians are a Polynesian race.
- Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the eastern Pacific Ocean, part of the territory of Chile, and is sometimes included in Oceania.
- On rare occasions the term may be stretched even further to include other Pacific island groups such as the Aleutian Islands.
Oceania in ecology
Oceania is one of eight terrestrial ecozones, which constitute the major ecological regions of the planet. The Oceania ecozone includes all of Micronesia, Fiji, and all of Polynesia except New Zealand. New Zealand, along with New Guinea and nearby islands, Australia, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia, constitute the separate Australasia ecozone.
This is a list of countries/dependencies by population density in inhabitants/km².
Unlike the figures in the country articles, the figures in this table are based on areas including inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers) and may therefore be lower here.
|American Samoa (US)||345||199||68,688|
|Federated States of Micronesia||194||702||135,869|
|Northern Mariana Islands (US)||162||477||77,311|
|Cook Islands (N.Z.)||87||240||20,811|
|French Polynesia (Fr.)||62||4,167||257,847|
|Wallis and Futuna (Fr.)||57||274||15,585|
|Norfolk Island (Aus)||53||35||1,866|
|Cocos Islands (Aus) 1||45||14||632|
|Papua New Guinea||11||462,840||5,172,033|
|New Caledonia (Fr.)||11||19,060||207,858|
|Christmas Island (Aus) 2||3.5||135||474|
|Pitcairn Islands (UK)||1.0||47||47|
1 Located in the Indian Ocean, not in Oceania.
2 This Christmas Island is in the Indian Ocean—not the one part of the Line Islands;
a territory of Kiribati
- Jane's Oceania Home Page
- Map showing Oceania in relation with America
- Map South Pacific
- Oceania photos and information
- Open-Site Oceania - Information about the different countries of Oceania.
- Pacific Pictures
- South Pacific Organizer
|Regions of the World|
|Africa:||Central Africa | East Africa | Great Lakes | Guinea | Horn of Africa | North Africa | Maghreb | Northwest Africa | Sahel | Southern Africa | Sub-Saharan Africa | Sudan | West Africa|
|Americas:||Andean states | Caribbean | Central America | Great Lakes | Great Plains | Guianas | Latin America | North America | Northern America | Patagonia | South America | Southern Cone|
|Eurasia:||Anatolia | Arabia | Asia | Balkans | Baltic region | Benelux | British Isles | Caucasus | Central Asia | Central Europe | East Asia | Eastern Europe | East Indies | Europe | Far East | Indian subcontinent | Levant | Mediterranean | Middle East | Near East | North Asia | Northern Europe | Post-Soviet states | Scandinavia | Southeast Asia | Southern Europe | Southwest Asia | Western Europe|
|Oceania:||Australasia | Melanesia | Micronesia | Polynesia | Pacific Rim|
|Polar:||Arctic | Antarctic|
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