Where Is Oceania? 4 Things to Know About This Remote Corner of the Globe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Where Is Oceania? 4 Things to Know About This Remote Corner of the Globe

Have you heard of Oceania? If not, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. Few people outside of the region are familiar with this remote corner of the world, despite its rich cultural background. Let’s shine some light on the area with four things you might not have known about Oceania.

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Oceania Is the Region Between Asia and the Americas

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First and foremost, where the heck is Oceania? Oceania is the collective name for the islands that rest between Asia, Australia, and North America. The area is generally broken into four parts:

  • Australasia (Australia and New Zealand)
  • Melanesia
  • Micronesia
  • Polynesia

Broadly, this range encompasses most of the tiny islands and archipelagos that dot the Pacific. In fact, Oceania contains over 10,000 islands across its entire geography. But of course, not every island in the Pacific qualifies as part of Oceania.

The islands included in Oceania’s territory are grouped together for their similarities in heritage and cultural traditions. But others in the area, such as Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines, have cultures more firmly rooted in the Asian continent proper. Therefore, common definitions often exclude them from Oceania’s boundaries.

Oceania Contains 14 Different Countries

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Within the above four regions, there’s a surprising amount of political diversity. The Oceania region is home to 14 different countries:

  • Australia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • New Zealand
  • Solomon Islands
  • Fiji
  • Vanuatu
  • Samoa
  • Kiribati
  • Tonga
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Palau
  • Marshall Islands
  • Tuvalu
  • Nauru

In addition to these countries, the greater Oceania region boasts many islands that belong to mainland countries located elsewhere in the world. Many of the countries listed above (like Australia or Fiji) are sovereign nations in their own right, though many of the smaller island nations became independent only recently. Others are even more complicated.

Take Samoa, for example: An archipelago with both sovereign and owned islands. While the western islands of Samoa are self-managed, the eastern island — dubbed “American Samoa” — is an official territory of the U.S. And given just how many islands there are throughout Oceania, it’s fair to say that this region has a more complicated political landscape than other isolated areas.

Oceania’s Economy Is Dominated by Tourism

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Though home to over 40 million people, Oceania is considered somewhat remote compared to many other parts of the world. And though many of its member nations have thriving import/export economies that bring in substantial income, the vast majority of the region’s economy is dominated by a single industry: tourism.

According to state reports, tourism contributed $57 billion to Australia’s economy in 2017/2018. Other regions in the area, such as New Zealand and the Hawaiian Islands, report similar figures, with tourism making up substantial portions of their GDP.

Part of the region’s desirability comes from its isolation. Wealthy travelers from Japan, China, the Americas, and the U.K. regularly visit the Oceanic region on holidays, likely because of the area’s unique climate, diverse wildlife, and “beachside paradise” allure. And while tourism is a challenging income source to maintain, it has the potential to bring significant revenue to otherwise impoverished areas.

Oceania Is Home to Ancient Artistic Tradition

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With so many diverse member states and cultural histories making up its foundation, it makes sense that Oceanian art would be rooted in human history. In fact, the longest continuously-practiced artistic tradition in the world is found in Oceania: The rock art of Australian Aboriginal cultures, some of which date back over 40,000 years!

But that’s only the beginning. The Oceanic region is known for artistic works of all kinds, including sculptures, paintings, feather works, tattoos and bark weaving. You might be familiar with one of the region’s most iconic and mysterious artistic creations, the Easter Island Moai.

These giant, monolithic statues were carved by the Rapa Nui people of Polynesia sometime between 1400 and 1650 CE. And while they’re just one of the many amazing cultural artifacts to come out of Oceania, they’re certainly an impressive sight to behold.

The Diverse World of Oceania

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Unlike other regions, Oceania is too diverse to lay claim to a specific culture or set of beliefs. Its constituent nations are diverse, and so are its inhabitants. So if you ever get a chance to get down there and see the area for yourself, we suggest you take it! It’s a remote region of the world unlike any other.

7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

There are landmarks all around the world that excite, delight, and pique your curiosity. It doesn’t matter if the landmarks are human-made, naturally occurring, or even on dry land—they are sure to be impressive, and when they’re underwater, you’ll be wrapped in a quiet enveloping silence that is sure to leave you in awe.

Chuuk Lagoon – Micronesia

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A shipwreck that will excite even the most casual wreck enthusiast, Chuuk (also called Truk Lagoon) was a stronghold of Japan during WWII. It was bombed in 1944 and now boasts a ghost fleet of 60 ships and almost 300 airplanes. Inside the ships, a guided snorkeling tour can highlight some of the forgotten gas masks, ammunition, and guns, all settled on the sea floor. This underwater site is also home to reef sharks and a colorful array of ships.

Green Lake – Styria, Austria

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Up until mid-June, you would not know that Greek Lake is actually one of the most sought-after underwater sites for snorkeling tours. In June, snow from the Hochschwab Mountains melts, and this Austrian park transforms into an underwater gem for a few weeks. The lake, which is generally just a meter deep, becomes 12 meters deep. Trees, benches, and picnic tables all become submerged for a short time every year. This meltwater lake doubles in size every year when the snow from the Karst Mountains also melts. A snorkeling tour will make you feel like you are in a forgotten world since the entire park is submerged.

Yonaguni Monument – Okinawa, Japan

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No one can quite decide the origin of this underwater site, but one thing is for sure – it is exciting and captivating. When first discovered, Japanese divers thought it might be a temple. Standing almost 90 feet tall in the East China Sea, snorkeling explorers discovered solid rock slabs shaped like a pyramid. Years after its discovery, no one is quite sure what the underwater site actually is, but it is delightful all the same.

Jacob’s Well – Wimberly, Texas

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Even though it’s known as one of the most dangerous places in the world to dive, Jacob’s Well is a popular summer attraction. Inside the well, there are four chambers. The first is a straight-down, 30-foot dive; the second is deeper at 80 feet; and the final two chambers are generally reserved for only experienced divers.

Underwater Post Office – Vanuatu

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The world’s first underwater post office is nine feet underwater and almost two hundred feet from shore. When you are ready to mail an underwater letter, schools of shimmering fish and other exotic marine life are your post office companions. Though the post office sustained some damage in 2014, it is still operational. Just look for the yellow mailbox and you can mail a waterproof postcard to just about anywhere in the world.

Neptune Memorial Reef – Key Biscayne, Florida

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With plans to become the world’s largest human-made reef, this underwater site takes being buried at sea to a completely new level. It has been modeled after the famed underwater city Atlantis and has stone lions guarding the entrance. Since its inception, there have been almost 1,000 placements of cremated remains mixed with concrete and placed into the reef. At full capacity, this reef will be able to hold 125,000 sets of remains. This snorkeling tour is not for the faint of heart, but it is sure to be memorable.

Vaersenbaai Car Piles – Curacao

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No snorkeling vacation would be complete without a visit to the candy-colored island of Curacao. Along the island’s southern coast, there are plenty of easy dives and snorkeling options. What sets this island apart from all others are the innumerable classic cars sunk off the coast. Classics from the 40s and 50s were junked and sunk with large heavy-duty cranes in an attempt to create a barrier reef. Though the reef did not flourish, the cars remained, making this an excellent photo opp for an underwater site tour.

Micronesia, Federated States of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Micronesia, Federated States of

Introduction In 1979 the Federated States of Micronesia, a UN Trust Territory under US administration, adopted a constitution. In 1986 independence was attained under a Compact of Free Association with the US, which was amended and renewed in 2004. Present concerns include large-scale unemployment, overfishing, and overdependence on US aid.
History The ancestors of the Micronesians settled over four thousand years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire centered on Yap.

Nan Madol, consisting of a series of small artificial islands linked by a network of canals, is often called the Venice of the Pacific. It is located near the island of Pohnpei and used to be the ceremonial and political seat of the Saudeleur dynasty that united Pohnpei’s estimated 25,000 people from about AD 500 until 1500, when the centralized system collapsed.

European explorers — first the Portuguese in search of the Spice Islands (Indonesia) and then the Spanish — reached the Carolines in the sixteenth century, with the Spanish establishing sovereignty. It was sold to Germany in 1899, conquered by Japan in 1914, before being seized by the United States during World War II and administered by the US under United Nations auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

During World War II, a significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based in Truk Lagoon. In February 1944, Operation Hailstone, one of the most important naval battles of the war, took place at Truk, in which many Japanese support vessels and aircraft were destroyed.

On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia. Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands chose not to participate. The FSM signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States of America, which entered into force on November 3, 1986, marking Micronesia’s emergence from trusteeship to independence.

Geography Location: Oceania, island group in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia
Geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 158 15 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 702 sq km
land: 702 sq km
water: 0 sq km (fresh water only)
note: includes Pohnpei (Ponape), Chuuk (Truk) Islands, Yap Islands, and Kosrae (Kosaie)
Area – comparative: four times the size of Washington, DC (land area only)
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 6,112 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; heavy year-round rainfall, especially in the eastern islands; located on southern edge of the typhoon belt with occasionally severe damage
Terrain: islands vary geologically from high mountainous islands to low, coral atolls; volcanic outcroppings on Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Dolohmwar (Totolom) 791 m
Natural resources: forests, marine products, deep-seabed minerals, phosphate
Land use: arable land: 5.71%
permanent crops: 45.71%
other: 48.58% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons (June to December)
Environment – current issues: overfishing, climate change, pollution
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: four major island groups totaling 607 islands
Politics The Federated States of Micronesia are governed by the 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has fourteen members elected by popular vote. Four senators — one from each state — serve four-year terms; the remaining ten senators represent single-member districts based on population, and serve two-year terms. The President and Vice President are elected by Congress from among the four state-based senators to serve four-year terms in the executive branch. Their congressional seats are then filled by special elections. The president and vice president are supported by an appointed cabinet. There are no formal political parties.

In international politics, the Federated States of Micronesia has always voted on the side of the United States with respect to United Nations General Assembly resolutions.

People Population: 107,665 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.3% (male 19,344/female 18,687)
15-64 years: 61.8% (male 33,142/female 33,389)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 1,320/female 1,783) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 21.6 years
male: 21.1 years
female: 22.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.191% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 23.66 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 4.53 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -21.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: 27.03 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.65 years
male: 68.79 years
female: 72.61 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.98 children born/woman (2008 est.)
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