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For other uses, see Oceania (disambiguation).
World map showing Oceania (geographically)
World map showing Oceania (geographically)

Oceania is a geographical (often geopolitical) region consisting of numerous countries and territories – mostly islands – in the Pacific Ocean, usually including Australia and New Zealand. For the oceans of the Earth, see Oceans.



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 Australia, 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.

Countries and territories of Oceania

Geopolitical map of Oceania
Geopolitical map of Oceania

Oceania has been traditionally divided into Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia (originally by the French explorer Dumont d'Urville in 1831). This subdivision is no longer recognized as correct by most geographers and scientists — who prefer to divide Oceania into Near Oceania and Remote Oceania — but it is still the most popular one.

Most of Oceania consists of small island nations. Australia is the only continental country and Papua New Guinea is the only country with a land border, which it shares with Indonesian western New Guinea.

The nations of Oceania have varying degrees of independence from their colonial powers and have negotiated a wide range of constitutional arrangements to suit their circumstances. The following list contains the countries and territories that are classified as part of Oceania by the United Nations; other countries are sometimes considered part of Oceania see Other Interpretations below.






  1. Commonwealth Realms are independent constitutional monarchies in which Elizabeth II reigns as Queen
  2. See administrative divisions of France

Other interpretations of Oceania

  • Australia is sometimes not included in Oceania, although a term like Pacific islands would normally be used to describe Oceania without Australia
  • Hawaii and the United States territories with no indigenous population in the North Pacific are sometimes included, but are normally grouped with the United States in North America. Hawaiians are a Polynesian race.
  • Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the eastern Pacific Ocean, part of the territory of Chile, and is sometimes included in Oceania.
  • On rare occasions the term may be stretched even further to include other Pacific island groups such as the Aleutian Islands.

Oceania in ecology

Oceania is one of eight terrestrial ecozones, which constitute the major ecological regions of the planet. The Oceania ecozone includes all of Micronesia, Fiji, and all of Polynesia except New Zealand. New Zealand, along with New Guinea and nearby islands, Australia, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia, constitute the separate Australasia ecozone.

Population density

This is a list of countries/dependencies by population density in inhabitants/km².

Unlike the figures in the country articles, the figures in this table are based on areas including inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers) and may therefore be lower here.

country pop. dens. area population
  (/km²) (km²) (2002 est.)
Nauru 587 21 12,329
Tuvalu 429 26 11,146
Marshall Islands 407 181 73,630
American Samoa (US) 345 199 68,688
Guam (US) 293 549 160,796
Federated States of Micronesia 194 702 135,869
Northern Mariana Islands (US) 162 477 77,311
Tokelau (N.Z.) 143 10 1,431
Tonga 142 748 106,137
Kiribati 119 811 96,335
Cook Islands (N.Z.) 87 240 20,811
East Timor 68 15,007 1,019,252
French Polynesia (Fr.) 62 4,167 257,847
Samoa 61 2,944 178,631
Wallis and Futuna (Fr.) 57 274 15,585
Norfolk Island (Aus) 53 35 1,866
Fiji 47 18,270 856,346
Cocos Islands (Aus) 1 45 14 632
Palau 42 458 19,409
Solomon Islands 17 28,450 494,786
Vanuatu 16 12,200 196,178
New Zealand 15 268,680 3,908,037
Papua New Guinea 11 462,840 5,172,033
New Caledonia (Fr.) 11 19,060 207,858
Niue (N.Z.) 8.2 260 2,134
Christmas Island (Aus) 2 3.5 135 474
Australia 2.5 7,686,850 19,546,792
Pitcairn Islands (UK) 1.0 47 47
Total 3.7 8,523,655 32,642,390

1 Located in the Indian Ocean, not in Oceania.
2 This Christmas Island is in the Indian Ocean—not the one part of the Line Islands;
a territory of Kiribati

See also

External links

Countries in Oceania
Australia : Australia · Norfolk Island
Melanesia : Fiji · New Caledonia · Papua New Guinea · Solomon Islands · Vanuatu
Micronesia : Guam · Kiribati · Marshall Islands · Northern Mariana Islands · Federated States of Micronesia · Nauru · Palau
Polynesia : American Samoa · Cook Islands · French Polynesia · New Zealand · Niue · Pitcairn · Samoa · Tokelau · Tonga · Tuvalu · Wallis and Futuna

Continents and regions of the World







North America




South America
Geological supercontinents :
Gondwana • Laurasia • Pangea • Rodinia

Regions of the World
Africa: Central Africa | East Africa | Great Lakes | Guinea | Horn of Africa | North Africa | Maghreb / Northwest Africa | Sahel | Southern Africa | Sub-Saharan Africa | Sudan | West Africa
Americas: Andean states | Caribbean | Central America | Great Lakes | Great Plains | Guianas | Latin America | North America | Patagonia | South America | Southern Cone
Asia: Central Asia | East Asia | East Indies | Far East | Indian subcontinent | North Asia | Southeast Asia | Southwest Asia (Middle East / Near East, Levant, Anatolia, Arabia)
Europe: Balkans | Baltic region | Benelux | British Isles | Central Europe | Eastern Europe | Northern Europe | Scandinavia | Southern Europe | Western Europe
Eurasia: Caucasus | Mediterranean | Post-Soviet states
Oceania: Australasia | Melanesia | Micronesia | Polynesia | Aleutian Islands | Pacific Rim
Polar: Arctic | Antarctic
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