The world’s smallest continent, the region consists of approximately 10,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Know the main data about the continent.
Oceania is the name given to the continent or region formed by about 10,000 islands located in the Pacific Ocean. The world’s smallest continent, it is formed by 14 countries and divided into four regions: Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
Located below Asia and above Antarctica, the continent was named after Oceania by the French explorer Dumont d’Urville in 1831. Most of its territory corresponds to Australia, the largest island, which occupies 85% of the continent.
Being in a tropical region, Oceania has a hot and humid climate, with varied fauna and flora. For example, animals that only exist in Australia, such as kangaroos and marsupials, are famous.
The most developed countries in Oceania are Australia and New Zealand. They are major producers of wool, rich in various ores and precious metals, as well as having prosperous food and chemical industries.
Through Countryaah, get to know the main data, countries and capitals in Oceania:
Number of countries: 14
Population (2018): 41,261,000¹
Total area (km2): 9,008,458 km²
Population density (per km2) (2018): 4.9¹
GDP (2018): 1,535,831,000 (in dollars) ¹
GDP per capita (2086): 38,561.00 (in dollars) ¹
Countries and capitals (divided by region)
Data from: AllCityPopulation
- Australia – Canberra
- New Zealand – Wellington
- Papua New Guinea – Porto Moresby
- Solomon Islands – Honiara
- Vanuatu – Port Vila
- Fiji – Suva
- Palau – Ngerulmud
- Kiribati – South Tarawa
- Federated States of Micronesia – Palikir
- Marshall Islands – Majuro
- Nauru – Yaren
- Samoa – Apia
- Tonga – Nuku’alofa
- Tuvalu – Vaiaku
Oceania (Prehistory & History – Independence)
Worldwide decolonization reached relatively late to Oceania. Samoa gained independence from New Zealand in 1962, and in the following two decades many other states followed suit. The US-dominated areas of Micronesia, except Guam, became independent in the 1980s after difficult negotiations, while American Samoa has maintained close ties with the United States. Hawaii was incorporated in 1959 as a state in the United States. France, as the only one of the colonial powers of the past, maintains control over its New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna possessions.
Modern oceanic societies are characterized by colonial movements and border settlements of the colonial era. In Papua New Guinea, an independence movement in Bougainville, which belongs to Papua New Guinea but feels more closely connected to the Solomon Islands, has waged an armed struggle against the state. In Fiji, equal groups of Melanesians and Fiji Indians (introduced as laborers by the British colonial power) face each other in an ethnic contradiction that in 1987 triggered a Melanesian military coup. In New Caledonia, Canucks have made several vain attempts to gain independence through armed insurgency against the French-dominated majority. In New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii, the contradictions between the indigenous minorities and the white majority since the 1970s have led to numerous serious conflicts.
Oceanic societies are characterized by a growing divide between the educated elite of the state and the general population, which is tied to subsistence economics. Externally, the countries’ economic dependence on foreign powers, which have special interests in the area, continues.
Samoa was populated from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines from around 1500 BC. The Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen discovered Samoa in 1722. Louis de Bougainville explored the islands in 1768. The Christian mission began in the 1830s; the missionaries were followed by American and European traders. In 1899, Samoa was divided between Germany and the United States; Germany got Western Samoa. New Zealand occupied Western Samoa in 1914. Nearly a fifth of the population died during the flu epidemic 1918-19. New Zealand was given the mandate over the islands in 1920.
In 1946, the mandate for Samoa was renewed as a UN area of supervision. The islands gained more and more autonomy and after a revolt in 1961, Samoa in 1962 became the first Polynesian territory to become an independent state. Malietoa Tanumafili 2 was elected monarch (1963-2007). Western Samoa joined the Commonwealth in 1970.
General voting rights were introduced in 1990. In 1997, the country changed its name from Western Samoa to Samoa. The number of tourists increased significantly in the 1990s. Samoa was hit by catastrophic cyclones in 1990 and 1991 and the number of tropical storms has increased in recent years due to climate change.
Tonga was populated around 1000 BCE. of Austronesian- speaking people. The Tongans developed a stratified social system led by a ruler whose empire in the 13th century reached all the way to Hawaii.
The Dutchman Jacob le Maitre visited the islands in 1616 and Abel Tasman in 1643. James Cook came in 1773 and 1774, and called them the Friendly Islands. The first European settlers arrived in Tonga in the late 18th century and a Methodist mission was established in 1826; it abolished traditional religions. In 1845, Tonga became a united kingdom under the baptized king Tupou 1, and it was granted a constitution in 1875.
In 1905, Tonga and the United Kingdom entered into a friendship agreement and Tonga became a British protectorate, but did not lose political independence. At the death of George Tupou 2 in 1918, the throne went to daughter Salote Tupou 3. She was popular and also popular in the United Kingdom, and reigned until 1965.
The Protectorate was dissolved in 1970 when Tonga gained independence. From 1965 to 2006, Tonga was ruled by King Taufa’ahau Tupou 4. Since the 1990s, Tonga has had high inflation and unemployment. To reduce dependence on imports, wave energy and solar energy are utilized.
|Country||Percentage of the population using the internet (percent)||Number of mobile subscriptions per 100 residents|
|Australia||87 (2017)||114 (2018)|
|Fiji||50 (2017)||118 (2017)|
|Kiribati||15 (2017)||47 (2018)|
|Marshall Islands||39 (2017)||28 (2017)|
|Micronesia Federation||35 (2017)||21 (2017)|
|Nauru||57 (2017)||95 (2017)|
|New Zealand||91 (2017)||135 (2018)|
|Palau||27 (2004)||134 (2015)|
|Papua New Guinea||11 (2017)||48 (2017)|
|Solomon Islands||12 (2017)||74 (2018)|
|Samoa||34 (2017)||64 (2017)|
|Tonga||41 (2017)||106 (2017)|
|Tuvalu||49 (2017)||70 (2017)|
|Vanuatu||26 (2017)||80 (2017)|
In 1989, the island of Henderson, located 68 km northeast of Pitcairn, was included in the United Nations World Heritage List to be preserved as a bird sanctuary. On the island live 5 species that are not found anywhere else.
In early 1992, significant mineral deposits formed by underground volcanoes were discovered within the country’s territorial area. These were manganese, iron, copper, zinc, silver and gold deposits. The extraction of these minerals could drastically change the economy of the islands.
In 1995, Robert John Alston was appointed new governor to replace David Moss.
The population decline on Pitcairn continues. In January 1998, it was down to 30 people, of whom only 8 are able to work. About a dozen people had emigrated the year before.
The island is Britain’s last colony in the Pacific and relies on the ships arriving with goods as it does not have an airport itself. The lack of manpower to work with these boats can amplify the migration. London is trying to avoid this by constructing a small runway that can be used in emergencies.
In January 2000, the 44 residents of the island found that the United Kingdom no longer had any interest in it, as the British crown by decree removed the last subsidies on electricity and customs duties on the products. The population therefore began to consider instead obtaining French overseas territory status.
In 2002, 20 residents were involved in a case of child sexual abuse. Some of them continued to live on Pitcairn, others outside. The case had begun rolling in 1999 when a female Kent police officer who trained local policemen discovered that the sexual exploitation of 12-15 year old girls was widespread on the island. In August, residents broke the silence that had otherwise surrounded the subject for hundreds of years when they told the New Zealand Herald that it was an ancient cultural tradition on the island that was due to the early sexual activity of the children. As the island is difficult to reach, the UK decided to conduct the trial – the first in over 100 years – in New Zealand, the UK or an overseas area.
In 2003, only 6 of the 20 were held responsible for the sexual offenses against minors. In October 2004, Mayor Steve Christian was sentenced to 3 years in prison for sexual assault. 4 other men were sentenced to 2-6 years in prison. In May 2005, an appeals court rejected the sentenced complaints that UK law had been applied during the sentencing hearing, but the sentenced persons took further legal action to overturn the verdict. That failed and in October 2006 they began their prison sentence.
In December 2010, Mayor Mike Warren was charged with possessing large amounts of child pornography. Warren struggled to get the case in Pitcairn while the prosecution wanted to bring him to trial in New Zealand. Warren was placed before a judge in 2012, and it was decided to put him on trial in 2013.
In January 2014, Shawn Christian assumed the post of mayor. It was his brother who had been convicted of sexual assault 10 years earlier.