The Oceania Portal

Map of Oceania

Oceania is a geographical (often geopolitical) region consisting of numerous countries and territories—mostly islands—in the Pacific Ocean. The exact scope of Oceania is controversial, with varying interpretations including East Timor, Australia, and New Zealand.

The primary use of the term Oceania is to describe a continental region (like Europe or Africa) that lies between Asia and the Americas, with Australia as the major land mass. The name Oceania is used, rather than Australasia, because unlike the other continental groupings, it is the ocean rather than the continent that links the nations together. Oceania is the smallest continental grouping in land area and the second smallest, after Antarctica, in population.

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Royal Palace of Tonga, in Nuku'alofa.

The Kingdom of Tonga (Tongan for "south") is an archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean consisting of 169 islands, 36 of them inhabited, and is divided into three main groups – Vava'u, Ha'apai, and Tongatapu, which together cover an 800-kilometre (500 miles)-long north–south line. Tonga is a monarchy. Criticism of the monarch is held to be antithetical to Tongan culture and etiquette.

The largest island, Tongatapu, on which the capital city of Nuku'alofa is located, covers 257 square kilometres (99 sq mi). The population is 112,422 (2005 est).

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The Freedom Tower Silver Dollar is a "one dollar" coin minted under license of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in 2004. Despite vague statements in advertisements, it is not issued by the United States Mint and is not considered legal tender. The CNMI receives royalty fees from proceeds of the sale of the coin. The coin is actually minted by SoftSky, a Wyoming commemorative coin maker.

The obverse of the coin features a rendered image of the original design proposal for the Freedom Tower by Daniel Libeskind that was to be built on the former site of the World Trade Center in New York. Also on the obverse are the United States national motto "In God We Trust" and the words "Freedom Tower, July 4, 2004." The reverse features an image of the former World Trade Center and the words "We Will Never Forget", along with a small symbol of a star on a stone pillar within a circle. This latter unidentified icon is in fact the coat of arms of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The distributors purport that the coins have been struck using silver recovered from a vault in the rubble of the World Trade Center. The validity of this claim has not been confirmed, although the attorney general's office easily determined that the coin was only silver clad. The CNMI coin was named "Stupid Investment of the Week" by CBS MarketWatch on September 24, 2004.

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