Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Oceania is a name used for varying groups of islands of the Pacific Ocean. In its narrow usage it refers to Polynesia (including New Zealand), Melanesia (including New Guinea) and Micronesia. In a wider usage it includes Australia. It may also include the Malay archipelago. Uncommon usage includes islands such as Japan and the Aleutian Islands.
Although the islands of Oceania do not form part of a true continent, Oceania is sometimes associated with the continent of Australia for the purposes of dividing the whole world into continental groupings. As such, it is the smallest "continent" in area and the second smallest, after Antarctica, in population. This article primarily refers to the grouping of Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Australia. These traditional divisions are no more in use amongst researchers, who prefer to divide Oceania into Near Oceania and Remote 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.
If the narrower definition is accepted, every country but one in Oceania is borderless. The exception is Papua New Guinea which borders Indonesia. Wider definitions might also allow the borders of Indonesia with Malaysia and Timor Leste, and Malaysia's border with Brunei Darussalam to be considered within Oceania.
Regions and Countries
The traditional subdivision of Oceania into Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia (by the French Dumont d'Urville in 1831) is no longer recognized as correct by most geographers and scientists, but it is still the most popular one:
1 Often considered also Southeast Asian, because of past Indonesia occupation.
2 Some Indonesian islands lie in Melanesia - most notably the indonesian part of New Guinea - but as a whole Indonesia is regarded as an asian country.
See Countries on two continents for detais about notes 1, 2.
Territories in Oceania that belong to countries of other continents include:
- American Samoa (United States)
- Easter Island (Chile)
- French Polynesia (France)
- Guam (United States)
- Hawaii (United States)
- New Caledonia (France)
- Northern Mariana Islands (United States)
- Pitcairn Islands (United Kingdom)
- Wallis and Futuna (France)
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|
|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
- Oceania photos and information
- South Pacific Organizer
- Map showing Oceania in relation with America
- Map South Pacific
- Open-Site Oceania - Information about the different countries of Oceania.
- Jane's Oceania Home Page
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