Oceania, the smallest continent of the earth; 8.5 million
km2, 42.5 million inhabitants (2019).Oceania
consists of Australia, New Zealand and the island regions of
Melanesia (with eastern New Guinea), Micronesia and
Polynesia in the Pacific. Hawaii and western New Guinea,
which geographically and ethnically-culturally belong to the
region, are part of states in neighboring continents and are
often not included in Oceania. The American, Japanese and
Russian archipelagos in the North Pacific do not belong to
Oceania either. In return, the Australian territories in the
Indian Ocean are normally counted towards Oceania.
Originally, only New Zealand and the South Sea Islands were
considered Oceania; previously the continent was commonly
called Australia or Australia and Oceania
or Australia with Oceania.
- Area: 8.5 million km2
- Population: 42.5 million inhabitants (2019)
- Population growth: 1.0% per year
- Highest mountain: Mount Wilhelm, Papua New
Guinea (4 509 m asl), Mount Kubor, Papua New Guinea (4
359 m asl), Mount Herbert, Papua New Guinea (4 267 m
asl), Mauna Kea, Hawaii (4,205m asl), Mauna Loa, Hawaii
- Longest river: Murray – Darling, Australia
(about 4,900 km)
- Largest lake: Lake Eyr, Australia (3,500 -
13,000 km2, depending on the season)
Countries and territories
|American Samoa (USA)
||7 700 000
||25 000 000
|Christmas Island (Australia)
||Flying Fish Cove
|Cocos Islands (Australia)
|Cook Islands (New Zealand)
|French Polynesia (France)
||1 432 000
|Niue Island (New Zealand)
|Northern Mariana Islands (USA)
|Norfolk Island (Australia)
|New Caledonia (France)
||4 900 000
|Papua New Guinea
||8 600 000
|Pitcairn Island (United Kingdom)
|Easter Island (Chile)
|Tokelau Islands (New Zealand)
|Wallis and Futuna Islands
Like most other islands in the area, Pitcairn's first
residents were Polynesians. The first European to visit the
island was British Captain Robert Pitcairn, who arrived in
In 1789, the British ship HMS Bounty was on its way back
to the UK after a 6-month stay in Tahiti, when parts of the
crew did mutiny, the captain and those parts of the crew who
would not mutilate in a small boat. After a brief stay in
Tahiti, the mutineers settled on Pitcairn.
The myths were led by Fletcher Christian. They consisted
of 8 crew members, 6 Tahitians and 12 women. Ten years
later, only one of the mutineers, John Adams, lived
surrounded by 11 women and 23 children. Led by alleged
"visions," Adams began to teach the children and populate
Pitcairn, who was subsequently made into British colony.
By 1937, the population was 200, but it has gradually
declined as young people leave to look for work in New
Pitcairn was governed by the governor of Fiji in 1952-70.
In 1970, it became subordinate to the British High
Commissioner of New Zealand, who serves as governor in
cooperation with the island's administrative council.
The island's communication with the outside world
basically has two forms: a radio transmitter and the ships
approaching its shores.
Despite the lack of educational resources, schooling is
compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 15. A New
Zealand teacher works for a period of 2 years at a time and
is also responsible for editing Pitcairn Miscellany - a
small 4-page newsletter.
No racial discrimination exists on the island and its
residents are guaranteed equality. The island's
administrative council consists of 11 members of different
races. Five of these are selected from the island's
residents over the age of 18 who have stayed at least 3
years on the island.
The island's only national celebration is the celebration
of the Queen's (Elisabeth II) birthday. It is celebrated on
the 2nd Saturday in June. The Queen is the country's head of
state and since 1990 has been represented by Governor and
High Commissioner David Moss.
The population lives on fishing and subsistence farming.
The fertility of the island's valleys provides the basis for
a varied production of fruits and vegetables: citrus fruits,
sugarcane, watermelons, bananas, potatoes and beans. Still,
the island's main source of revenue is the sale of stamps to
In 1963, a forestry program was initiated. It is
concentrated on the planting of miro trees,
suitable for the production of all kinds of crafts.
In 1987, the governor of the islands signed a fisheries
agreement with Japan. It gives the Japan Tuna Fisheries
Cooperative Association the right to fish within the
country's 200 mile ocean rights zone. The agreement expired
again in 1990.
That same year, the British High Commissioner of Fiji, as
a representative of Pitcairn, signed a South Pacific
Regional Agreement for the Protection of the Environment
with the aim of curbing the spread of nuclear waste in the
area. Co-signers were the United States, France, New Zealand
and 6 other states from the region.