Pacific Islands

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The Pacific Ocean has an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 islands; the exact number has not been precisely determined. These islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania (although Oceania usually also includes Australia), and are traditionally grouped into three: (1) Melanesia, (2) Micronesia, and (3) Polynesia.

Melanesia means black islands. These include New Guinea (the largest Pacific island,which is divided into the nation of Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya), New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands

Micronesia means small islands. These include the Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Polynesia means many islands. These include New Zealand, the Hawaiian Islands, the Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island.

There are also many other islands located within the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean, but these are not considered part of Oceania. These islands include the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador; the Aleutian Islands in Alaska; the Russian islands of Sakhalin and Kuril Islands; the island nation of Japan, which includes the Ryukyu Islands; Taiwan; the Philippines; the South China Sea Islands; and most of the islands of Indonesia. However, it should be noted that the inhabitants of these islands are not considered to be Pacific Islanders and are usually identified with their nearest continent.

The Pacific Islands’ Geography

  • About 25,000 islands dot the Pacific Ocean.
  • The region is divided into three areas; Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
  • The region’s islands are also classified in two groups; high islands and low islands.
  • Volcanoes form high islands.
  • High islands support more people and have a more fertile soil.
  • Low islands are reef or atolls.
  • Low islands are built on coral reefs.
  • Low islands are quite small.
  • Melanesia is the most populated island region.
  • Most of Melanesia’s large islands are high islands.
  • Most of the islands of Micronesia lie north of the equator.
  • Polynesia is the largest island region in the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Pacific Island region has few natural resources.

List of Islands

  • Western Samoa (see Samoa)

See also

Countries in Oceania
Australia : Australia · Norfolk Island
Melanesia : Fiji · New Caledonia · Papua New Guinea · Solomon Islands · Vanuatu
Micronesia : Guam · Kiribati · Marshall Islands · Northern Mariana Islands · Federated States of Micronesia · Nauru · Palau
Polynesia : American Samoa · Cook Islands · French Polynesia · New Zealand · Niue · Pitcairn · Samoa · Tokelau · Tonga · Tuvalu · Wallis and Futuna
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