Oceania and Australasia

paul d'Arcy

in The Oxford Handbook of World History

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199235810
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Oceania and Australasia

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Oceania and Australasia are relatively recent and externally imposed terms. The term Australasia refers collectively to the lands south of Asia, or present-day Australia and New Zealand. Oceania refers to the Pacific Islands east of present-day Indonesia and the Philippines across to Pitcairn Island in the southeast Pacific and also includes the western half of the island of New Guinea, which is now part of Indonesia. These islands are generally divided into three geographical areas: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Present-day national borders cut across previous indigenous exchange areas or unite peoples with little previous sense of collective identity, especially in the larger Pacific Island nations of southwest Oceania. The region's value and prime relevance to world history lies in its comparative value in terms of European explorers and traders, and subsequent settler societies and their relations with, and impact upon, indigenous peoples.

Keywords: Australia; New Zealand; Philippines; Indonesia; indigenous exploration; European settlers; Pacific Islands; Melanesia; Micronesia; world history

Article.  8578 words. 

Subjects: History ; Maritime History

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