Oceania is the most isolated continent in the world, and its geographical barrier made it the last to be discovered by Europeans. Due to this delay in its discovery it became known as “new world”.
As in America and Africa, Oceania was occupied by natives before the arrival of Europeans, then in a short time a large part of these peoples were practically decimated and those who remain claim their rights to this day.
The most isolated continent in the world consists of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Its configuration corresponds to a huge archipelago, with formation derived from volcanic eruptions. It is surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Pacific to the north, east and south.
Oceania has an area of 8.4 million km2, and this covers all hemispheres. The largest country on the continent is Australia. Besides, there are several islands scattered throughout the Pacific Ocean.
The largest country on the continent, Australia, is considered an island-continent, as it is located between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean with an area of 7.6 million km2 , which represents 90% of the total in Oceania.
The territory of New Zealand is bathed by the Tasman Sea to the west, Pacific to the east, located entirely in the southern temperate zone. It is 1750 km from Australia to the east, and the country in question is considered an archipelago, as it consists of two main islands: one located to the north and the other to the south, between the two is the Cook Strait.
The set of islands scattered across the Pacific is divided into three: Micronesia (small islands), Melanesia (black islands) and Polynesia (many islands) which concentrates a large part of the islands in Oceania. Among all the islands, the most important are: Hawaii and French Polynesia – where Tahiti is located.
There are also eleven archipelago-states on the continent with small areas, of which the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu stand out.
- The ABBREVIATIONFINDER provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the continent name of Australia.
Cook Islands, New Zealand home rule of the South Pacific; 293 km2, 17,700 residents (2001). The islands are located 3000 km NE of the mother country and consist of a northern and a southern group. The main island of Rarotonga with the capital Avarua is located in the southern group where 90% of the population lives; the northern, more dispersed group consists of small coral islands and reefs and is home to a more traditional culture. The Cook Islands are formally an independent country, but the residents have New Zealand citizenship, and a larger number have emigrated to New Zealand, where they are called Cook Island Maori because they are Polynesians closely related to New Zealand’s indigenous people.
The economic basis is weak; Imports of goods are usually 10-15 times larger than exports. The main sources of income are aid from New Zealand and significant tourism. In addition to the large public sector, the tourism industry is the most important employer. Also the sale of stamps and the cultivation of cultured pearls contribute to the economy along with private transfers from those taken to New Zealand.
The Cook Islands have a tropical climate. Precipitation varies widely. The north-facing slopes of Rarotonga are located in the trade wind belt and have an annual rainfall of over 200 cm, while the northern islands are quite dry. All the islands are formed as a result of volcanic activity. Rarotonga as the youngest is clearly volcanic, while various stages of atoll development and coral reef formation can be observed on the other islands.
Archaeological evidence suggests early Polynesian immigration and an organized society from approximately 1100. In 1595, Spanish sailors were the first Europeans to meet the northern group of the Cook Islands, and in the 1770’s, Captain James Cook visited the southern group and called it the Hervey Islands. From 1821 onwards, foreign missionaries and merchants, in collaboration with powerful chiefs, gradually gained greater influence over the development of society on the islands, which in 1824 was given the name Cook Islands. In 1888, Britain declared the islands a protectorate, and in 1901 it was annexed by New Zealand, which as a colonial power retained full control of the country until 1965.
Guam, the southernmost and largest of the islands in the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific; 541 km2, 155,000 residents (2000). Just under half of the population state that they are of local (chamorro) descent. Guam is a so-called Unincorporated Territory under the United States with a single seat (without the right to vote) in the House of Representatives in Washington. The local government is run by an elected senate in the capital city of Agana.
One-third of Guam’s area is occupied by US military bases. Anderson Air Force Base occupies the northern part of the island; from here, bombing raids departed during the Vietnam War. Apra Harbor is a naval base with shipyard and support base for the United States’ strategic submarine nuclear strike force. Agriculture and industry are of limited importance, while tourism is rising sharply; it is predominantly Japanese who, among other things, visit the war memorials from World War II.
Guam consists of low volcanic mountains to the south and a coral plateau to the north. The climate is tropical-humid, and Guam is occasionally hit by typhoons, thus in 1992 by “Omar”, which destroyed thousands of houses and threw several of the naval base’s warships ashore.
Guam was populated between 3000 and 2000 BC. The culturally homogeneous chamorro population subsisted on simple farming and fishing. Mutual giving and worship of the spirits of the deceased were important cultural traits.
In 1521, Magellan landed as the first European on Guam. Other seafarers followed and in 1565 claimed the island for Spain. The island was for a long time the supply station for Spanish galleons from Manila, which sailed once a year between the Spanish colonies of the Philippines and Mexico.
Many years of fighting with the Spaniards reduced the number of chamorro from over 50,000 to approximately 3000, and in the late 1600-t. Spain gained full control of the Marianas. During colonial times, the culture of the Chamorro was strongly influenced by Mexico and later by the Philippines. Today’s chamorro are of mixed descent.
In 1898, Guam was taken over by the United States. Until 1950, the U.S. Department of the Navy administered the island, interrupted only by Japanese occupation 1941-44 during World War II, before Guam was recaptured by the United States after a series of fierce battles. The island gained limited autonomy in 1950, and the population has since pushed for it to be expanded. However, this is complicated by the economic dependence on the United States.
Check out a collection of historical maps including Australia, New Zealand, Cocos or Keeling Islands, Kadavu (Fiji Islands), Samoa Islands, Tongatabu Island and Tasmania.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Oceania and the Pacific
Browse a collection of political and shaded relief maps of Oceania, Easter island, West Pacific islands and Pacific ocean. Check out the map of East Asia and Oceania.
Australia/Oceania – Graphic Maps
Find an overall view of Australian and Oceania, a country and island map list, and facts and figures about the nations and countries.
Australia/Oceania Regional Map
Access a detailed and informative map of Australia and the thousands of islands comprising Oceania.
Australia/Pacific – National Geographic Xpeditions
Provides an index of maps of Oceania, Australia and New Zealand that are available for downloading and printing.
Australia/Pacific – University of Texas Library
Take a look at this comprehensive collection of maps for the countries, states and territories of this Pacific region.
Australian Maps Collection
Browse a long list of links to Australian maps covering nearly every region of the country, and including the Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania.
Historical Maps of Australia and the Pacific
Find maps of this country and nearby islands from different periods from its history. Includes topographic and archive images.
Oceania – Travel.com Map
Medium-sized graphical map of the entire Oceanic region pinpoints the island countries spread out in the ocean. Click any one for more info.