Oceanica) is a geographical, often geopolitical, region
consisting of numerous lands—mostly islands
in the Pacific
Ocean and vicinity.
The term "Oceania" was coined
in 1831 by French explorer Dumont
. The term is used today in many languages to
denote a continent comprising Australia and proximate Pacific
islands, and is one of eight terrestrial
The boundaries of Oceania are defined in a number of ways.
definitions include parts of Australasia
such as Australia, New Zealand, and New
Guinea, and all or part of the Malay Archipelago. Ethnologically
, the islands that are included in
Oceania are divided into the subregions
, and Polynesia
Oceania is traditionally understood as being composed of three
regions: Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. As with any region,
; increasingly, geographers and scientists divide Oceania
into Near Oceania
and Remote Oceania
Most of Oceania consists of island nations comprising thousands of
coral atolls and volcanic islands, with small human populations.
is the only continental country but Indonesia has land borders with Papua New Guinea, East
Timor, and Malaysia. If the Australia-New Guinea continent is included then
the highest point is Puncak
Jaya in Papua at and the lowest point is Lake Eyre, Australia at below sea
Territories and regions
Descriptions of the regions and constituents of Oceania vary
according to source. The table below shows the subregions and
countries of Oceania as broadly categorised according to the
scheme for geographic
used by the United
. The information shown follows sources in
cross-referenced articles; where sources differ, provisos have been
clearly indicated. These territories and regions are subject to
various additional categorisations, of course, depending on the
source and purpose of each description.
|Name of region, followed by countries
and their flagsRegions and constituents as per
categorisations/map except notes
2-3, 6. Depending on definitions, various territories cited
below (notes 3, 5-7, 9) may be in one or both
of Oceania and Asia or North America.
Zealand is often considered part of Polynesia rather than Australasia.
|Christmas Island and Cocos Islands are Australian external
territories in the Indian Ocean southwest of Indonesia.
||Flying Fish Cove
|Coral Sea Islands
|MelanesiaExcludes parts of Indonesia, island territories in Southeast Asia (UN region) frequently
reckoned in this region.
|(Oceanian part only)Indonesia is generally considered a territory of Southeastern Asia (UN region); wholly or
partially, it is also frequently included in Australasia or Melanesia. Figures include Indonesian portion of
Guinea (Irian Jaya) and Maluku Islands.
|Papua New Guinea is often considered part of Australasia and Melanesia. It is sometimes included in the
Malay Archipelago of Southeast Asia.
||MelekeokOn 7 October 2006, government officials moved their
offices in the former capital of Koror to
Melekeok, located 20 km northeast of Koror on Babelthuap Island.
|Wake Island (USA)
Pago, FagatogoFagatogo is the seat of government of American
||—Tokelau, a domain of New Zealand, has no capital: each atoll
has its own administrative centre.
|Total minus mainland Australia
- See also: List of Oceanian
countries by population
Interpretative details and controversies
Map of Oceania
Regions of Oceania
- New Zealand is the western corner of the Polynesian Triangle. Its
indigenous Māori constitute one of the
major cultures of Polynesia. It is also, however, considered part
of Australasia. More restricted definitions of the region may
exclude New Zealand.
- Hawaii is the
northern corner of the Polynesian
Triangle and is generally included in Oceania, though
politically it is part of the United States. The Hawaiian
language is a Polynesian member of the Oceanic language family, and Hawaiian culture is one of the major
cultures of Polynesia.
- The U.S.
territories in the North Pacific are generally considered part
Nui, or Easter
Island, is the eastern corner of the Polynesian
triangle. A Polynesian island in the eastern Pacific
Ocean and part of the territory of Chile, it is
generally included in Oceania, in which case the most easterly
place in Polynesia and Oceania is its dependency Isla Salas y
Gómez 415 km to the East.
line in Indonesia dividing Oceania from Asia
varies in location and is sometimes considered to be the Wallace Line. See the transcontinental
Timor is often reckoned as a part of Oceania due to its
location to the east of the Wallace Line and its cultural ties to
Pacific peoples. (See transcontinental
country) Biogeographically, East Timor lies within Wallacea, an ecological transition zone between
Asia and Australasia. This transition is less known and less
favoured these days as a continental boundary.
- Australia is sometimes not included in Oceania. Terms
such as Pacific Islands or
South Sea Islands might be used to describe Oceania
without Australia (and New Zealand). The term "Australasia"
invariably includes Australia, and usually includes New Zealand,
Papua New Guinea, and some other parts of Oceania. This term is
sometimes controversial, though, as it may may be interpreted as
implying an association with Asia — a separate continent — or too
great an association with Australia. The term is actually derived
from the word "Austral", meaning "of, relating to, or
coming from the south". This word represents the common root of
both names: Australia and Australasia.
- Although Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands belong to the Commonwealth of Australia, they are west of Sumatra and are commonly associated with Asia, and not with
its widest sense, the term may embrace the entire insular region
between Asia and the Americas, thereby
including other islands in the Pacific
Rim such as the Ryukyu, Kuril and Aleutian islands, the Japanese Archipelago and Taiwan.
- Amateur radio defines the
continental boundaries somewhat differently. The Worked All Continents award includes
all of Indonesia and the Philippines in Oceania, places Easter
Island with Chile, and makes some other minor changes.
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, New
Guinea and nearby islands, Australia, the Solomon
Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia constitute the separate Australasia ecozone.
The Pacific Games
(formerly known as
the South Pacific Games) is a multi-sport event, much like the
Olympics, (albeit on a much smaller scale), with participation
exclusively from countries around the Pacific. It is held every
four years and began in 1963.
and Rugby Union
are two of the region's most popular
sports. Rugby union being the national sport of New Zealand, Samoa,
Fiji and Tonga. Rugby League is the national sport in Papua New
Guinea (the second most populous country in Oceania after
Australia) and is very popular in Australia and has a significant
following in New Zealand.
Australia has won the Rugby
League World Cup
a record 9 times. New Zealand won their first
World Cup in 2008
Australia hosted the second tournament in 1957
. Australia and New Zealand
jointly hosted it in 1968
. New Zealand hosted the
final for the first time during the worldwide 1985-1988
Australia hosted the most recent one in 2008
.Australia has won the
Rugby World Cup
a record 2 times.
New Zealand won the inaugural World Cup in 1987. Australia and New
Zealand jointly hosted the World Cup in 1987. Australia hosted it
in 2003 and New Zealand is to host it in 2011.
Cricket is a popular summer sport in Australia and New Zealand. Australia
ruled International cricket
as the number
one team for more than a decade, and have won the last three
Cricket World Cups
. New Zealand is also considered a strong competitor in the
sport, with the New Zealand
Cricket Team, also called the Black Caps, enjoying success in
many competitions. Both Australia and
Zealand are Full
members of the ICC. Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea are some of the Assosciate/Affiliate
members of the ICC from Oceania that are governed by the
Cricket Council. Beach
, a greatly simplified variant of Cricket played on a
sand beach, is also a popular recreational sport in Australia
Cricket is culturally a significant sport for summer in Oceania.
Boxing Day Test is very popular in
Australia, conducted every year on December, 26th at the Melbourne
Cricket Ground, Melbourne.
Australian rules football
Australian rules football
is the national sport in Nauru
and is very
popular in Australia. It is also very popular in Papua New
Confederation (OFC) is one of six football confederations under the auspices
of FIFA, the
international governing body of the sport.
The OFC is the
only confederation without an automatic qualification to the
World Cup Finals
. Currently the
winner of the OFC qualification tournament must play off against an
side to qualify for the World Cup.
Currently, Vanuatu is the only country in Oceania to call football
(soccer) its national sport.
Oceania has only been represented at four World Cup Finals —
and New Zealand
. However, Australia is now no
longer a member of the Oceania Football Confederation, having
joined the Asian Football
Both Australia and New Zealand have qualified for the 2010 World
Cup making it the first time two countries from Oceania countries
have qualified for the World Cup at the same time.
- List of IOC members (122) by
continent. International Olympic
Committee: 112th session, Moscow 2001
- Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary (based on
Collegiate vol., 11th ed.) 2006. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster,
- See, e.g., The Atlas of Canada - The World -
- "Oceania". 2005. The Columbia Encyclopedia,
6th ed. Columbia University Press.
- Ben Finney, The Other One-Third of the Globe, Journal
of World History, Vol. 5, No. 2, Fall, 1994.
- The use and scope of this term varies. The UN designation for
this subregion is "Australia and New Zealand."
- Max Cryer, Curious Kiwi Words, 2002, p153 - "A larger portion
of the rest of the world calmly refers to this geographic area as
Oceania, a term many New Zealanders have never heard, let alone
- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
- FIFA world cup 2010 - Oceania preliminary