Portal:Oceania

The Oceania Portal

An orthographic projection of geopolitical Oceania

Oceania (UK: /ˌsiˈɑːniə, ˌʃi-, -ˈn-/, US: /ˌʃiˈæniə/ (listen), /-ˈɑːn-/) is a geographical region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western hemispheres, Oceania is estimated to have a land area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi)[discuss] and a population of over 41 million. When compared with the continents, the region of Oceania is the smallest in land area and the second smallest in population after Antarctica. Its six major population centres are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Auckland, and Adelaide.

Oceania has a diverse mix of economies from the highly developed and globally competitive financial markets of Australia, French Polynesia, Hawaii, New Caledonia, and New Zealand, which rank high in quality of life and Human Development Index, to the much less developed economies such as Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Western New Guinea, while also including medium-sized economies of Pacific islands such as Fiji, Palau, and Tonga. The largest and most populous country in Oceania is Australia, and the largest city is Sydney. Puncak Jaya in Papua is the highest peak in Oceania at 4,884 metres.

The arrival of European settlers in subsequent centuries resulted in a significant alteration in the social and political landscape of Oceania. In more contemporary times there has been increasing discussion on national flags and a desire by some Oceanians to display their distinguishable and individualistic identity. The rock art of Aboriginal Australians is the longest continuously practised artistic tradition in the world. Most Oceanian countries are multi-party representative parliamentary democracies, with tourism being a large source of income for the Pacific Islands nations. (Full article...)

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New Hebrides, officially the New Hebrides Condominium (French: Condominium des Nouvelles-Hébrides, lit. "Condominium of the New Hebrides") and named for the Hebrides Scottish archipelago, was the colonial name for the island group in the South Pacific Ocean that is now Vanuatu. Native people had inhabited the islands for three thousand years before the first Europeans arrived in 1606 from a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queirós. The islands were colonised by both the British and French in the 18th century, shortly after Captain James Cook visited.

The two countries eventually signed an agreement making the islands an Anglo-French condominium that divided New Hebrides into two separate communities: one Anglophone and one Francophone. That divide continued even after independence, with schools teaching in either one language or the other, and with different political parties. The condominium lasted from 1906 until 1980, when New Hebrides gained its independence as the Republic of Vanuatu. (Full article...)
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Moai facing inland at Ahu Tongariki, restored by Chilean archaeologist Claudio Cristino in the 1990s

Moai /ˈm./ (listen) or moʻai (Spanish: moái, Rapa Nui: moʻai, meaning "statue" in Rapa Nui) are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island in eastern Polynesia between the years 1250 and 1500. Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island's perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads, which comprise three-eighths the size of the whole statue. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna). The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island in 1722, but all of them had fallen by the latter part of the 19th century. The moai were toppled in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, possibly as a result of European contact or internecine tribal wars.

The production and transportation of the more than 900 statues is considered a remarkable creative and physical feat. The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 metres (33 ft) high and weighed 82 tonnes (80.7 tons). The heaviest moai erected was a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tonnes (84.6 tons). One unfinished sculpture, if completed, would have been approximately 21 m (69 ft) tall, with a weight of about 145–165 tons. (Full article...)
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