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For the fictional superstate in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, see Oceania (fiction).

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:

Population density

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.

country pop. dens. area population
  (/km²) (km²) (2002 est.)
Nauru 587 21 12,329
Tuvalu 429 26 11,146
Marshall Islands 407 181 73,630
American Samoa (US) 345 199 68,688
Guam (US) 293 549 160,796
Micronesia 194 702 135,869
Northern Mariana Islands (US) 162 477 77,311
Tokelau (N.Z.) 143 10 1,431
Tonga 142 748 106,137
Kiribati 119 811 96,335
Cook Islands (N.Z.) 87 240 20,811
East Timor 68 15,007 1,019,252
French Polynesia (Fr.) 62 4,167 257,847
Samoa 61 2,944 178,631
Wallis and Futuna (Fr.) 57 274 15,585
Norfolk Island (Aus) 53 35 1,866
Fiji 47 18,270 856,346
Cocos Islands (Aus) 1 45 14 632
Palau 42 458 19,409
Solomon Islands 17 28,450 494,786
Vanuatu 16 12,200 196,178
New Zealand 15 268,680 3,908,037
Papua New Guinea 11 462,840 5,172,033
New Caledonia (Fr.) 11 19,060 207,858
Niue (N.Z.) 8.2 260 2,134
Christmas Island (Aus) 2 3.5 135 474
Australia 2.5 7,686,850 19,546,792
Pitcairn Islands (UK) 1.0 47 47
Total 3.7 8,523,655 32,642,390

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

See also

External links

Last updated: 10-21-2005 00:25:51
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