—Oceanian, adj., n./oh'shee an"ee euh, -ah"nee euh/, n.the islands of the central and S Pacific, including Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and traditionally Australasia. 23,400,000; ab. 3,450,000 sq. mi. (8,935,500 sq. km).Also, Oceanica /oh'shee an"i keuh/.
* * *Collective name for the islands scattered throughout most of the Pacific Ocean.The term especially refers to islands of the central and southern Pacific, including Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia, and sometimes Australia, New Zealand, and the Malay Archipelago. In its most restricted sense, excluding Australia but including Papua New Guinea, Oceania includes more than 10,000 islands, with an area of about 317,000 sq mi (821,000 sq km); with Australia the land area is about 3,453,550 sq mi (8,944,700 sq mi). Pop. (2001 est.) including Australia, 31,377,000.
* * *collective name for the islands scattered throughout most of the Pacific Ocean. The term, in its widest sense, embraces the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas. A more common definition excludes the Ryukyu, Kuril, and Aleutian islands and the Japan archipelago. The most popular usage delimits Oceania further by eliminating Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines, because the peoples and cultures of those islands are more closely related historically to the Asian mainland. Oceania then, in its most restricted meaning, includes more than 10,000 islands, with a total land area (excluding Australia, but including Papua New Guinea and New Zealand) of approximately 317,700 square miles (822,800 square km).Oceania has traditionally been divided into four parts: Australasia ( Australia and New Zealand), Melanesia (Melanesian culture), Micronesia, and Polynesia (Polynesian culture). As recently as 33,000 years ago no human beings lived in the region, except in Australasia. Although disagreeing on details, scientists generally support a theory that calls for a Southeast Asian origin of island peoples. By 2000 about 12 million islanders lived in Oceania (excluding Australia), and many indigenous cultures were revolutionized by intensive contact with non-Oceanic groups who had intruded from various parts of the Western world. (The arts of the region are discussed in several articles; see art and architecture, Oceanic; music and dance, Oceanic; and Oceanic literature.) Pop. (2001 est.) including Australia, 31,377,000.
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