The pacific Ocean Basin to 1850

Rainer F. Buschmann

in The Oxford Handbook of World History

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

The pacific Ocean Basin to 1850

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The Pacific Ocean is the world's largest and deepest ocean, spanning about one-third of the earth's surface. Despite its size, the Pacific has received only scant global historical attention when compared to the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. However, the Pacific has played a prominent role intermittently in world history, highlighted by Austronesian expansion, Manila Galleon trade, eighteenth-century European exploration, and the intense island-hopping military campaigns of World War II. At the same time, such historical interest did not translate into a familiar timeline integrating this watery geographical feature into a larger world historical framework. This article argues that there is more discontinuity than continuity to this ocean, and its history is best broken down by three distinct periods of exploration and settlement.

Keywords: Pacific Ocean; settlement; Asia; world history; Austronesian expansion; Manila Galleon trade; European exploration; military campaign; World War II; Atlantic Ocean

Article.  8137 words. 

Subjects: History ; Maritime History

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