AskDefine | Define Oceania

Dictionary Definition

Oceania n : a large group of islands in the south Pacific including Melanesia and Micronesia and Polynesia (and sometimes Australasia and the Malay Archipelago) [syn: Oceanica]

User Contributed Dictionary



From ocean < (Ōkeanos) "Oceanus" + -ia (-"realm of")


  • /ˌoʊʃiˈæniə/, /%oUSi

Extensive Definition

<div style="float: right; margin: 0 0 1em 2em; width: 20em; text-align: right; font-size: 0.86em; line-height: normal;"> <div style="border: 1px solid #ccd2d9; background: #f0f6fa; text-align: left; padding: 0.5em 1em; text-align: center;"> Oceania
Oceania (sometimes Oceanica) is a geographical, often geopolitical, region consisting of numerous lands—mostly islands in the Pacific Ocean and vicinity. The term is often used in many languages to define one of the continents and is one of eight terrestrial ecozones.
Ethnologically, the islands that are included in Oceania are divided into the subregions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
The exact scope of Oceania is variably defined: it generally includes New Zealand, is often taken to include parts of Australasia such as Australia and New Guinea, and sometimes all or part of the Malay Archipelago.


Originally coined by the French explorer Dumont d'Urville in 1831, Oceania has been traditionally divided into Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. As with any region, however, interpretations vary; increasingly, geographers and scientists divide Oceania into Near Oceania and Remote Oceania.
Most of Oceania consists of island nations composed of thousands of coral atolls and volcanic islands, with small human populations.
Australia is the only continental country but Indonesia has land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia. If the Australia-New Guinea continent is included then the highest point is Puncak Jaya in Papua at and the lowest point is Lake Eyre, Australia at below sea level.


The regions and constituents of Oceania may vary according to source. In the table below, the subregions and countries of Oceania are broadly categorised according to the scheme for geographic subregions used by the United Nations, and data included are per sources in cross-referenced articles. Where they differ, provisos are clearly indicated. Apropos, according to different definitions, the following territories and regions may be subject to various other categorisations.

Interpretative details and controversies

  • New Zealand is the western corner of the Polynesian triangle. Its indigenous Māori constitute one of the major cultures of Polynesia. It is also, however, considered part of Australasia.
  • Hawaii is the northern corner of the Polynesian triangle and is generally included in Oceania, though politically it is part of the United States. The Hawaiian language is a Polynesian member of the Oceanic language family, and Hawaiian culture is one of the major cultures of Polynesia.
  • The U.S. territories in the North Pacific are generally considered part of Oceania.
  • Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, is the eastern corner of the Polynesian triangle. A Polynesian island in the eastern Pacific Ocean and part of the territory of Chile, it is generally included in Oceania, in which case the most easterly place in Polynesia and Oceania is its dependency Sala y Gómez 415 km to the East.
  • The line in Indonesia dividing Oceania from Asia varies in location and is sometimes considered to be the Wallace Line. See the transcontinental country article.
  • East Timor is often reckoned as a part of Oceania due to its location to the east of the Wallace Line and its cultural ties to Pacific peoples. See transcontinental country; Biogeographically, East Timor lies within Wallacea, an ecological transition zone between Asia and Australasia. This transition is less known and less favoured these days as a continental boundary.
  • Australia is sometimes not included in Oceania. Terms such as Pacific Islands or South Sea Islands might be used to describe Oceania without Australia (and New Zealand). The term "Australasia" invariably includes Australia, and usually includes New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and some other parts of Oceania, but this term is sometimes controversial outside of Australia, as it may be seen as indicating a link with Asia — a separate continent — or as too greatly emphasising Australia. "Austral" means "of, relating to, or coming from the south", and is the common root of both Australia and Australasia.
  • Although Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands belong to the Commonwealth of Australia, they are west of Sumatra and are commonly associated with Asia, and not with Oceania.
  • In its widest sense, the term may embrace the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas, thereby including other Pacific island groups such as the Ryukyu, Kuril and Aleutian islands, and the Japanese Archipelago.


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.



Pacific Games

The Pacific Games (formerly known as the South Pacific Games) is a multi-sport event, much like the Olympics, (albeit on a much smaller scale), with participation exclusively from countries around the Pacific. It is held every four years and began in 1963.

Rugby codes

Rugby League and Rugby Union are two of the region's most popular sports. Rugby union is the national sport of New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga and is the sixth most popular sport in Australia. Rugby League is the national sport in Papua New Guinea (the second most populous country in Oceania after Australia), is fifth most popular in Australia, and has a significant following in New Zealand.
Australia has won the Rugby Union World Cup twice, New Zealand have won the inaugural World Cup in 1987. Australia and New Zealand jointly hosted the World Cup in 1987; Australia hosted it in 2003 and New Zealand is to host it in 2011.

Australian rules football

Australian rules football is the national sport in Nauru and is third most popular in Australia. It is also very popular in Papua New Guinea.


Cricket is the most popular and national sport of Australia , and also has a significant following in New Zealand.

Football (soccer)

Currently Vanuatu is the only country in Oceania to call football its national sport. In Australia it is the fourth most popular sport.
The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) is one of six football (soccer) confederations under the auspices of FIFA, the international governing body of the sport. The OFC is the only confederation without an automatic qualification to the World Cup Finals. Currently the winner of the OFC qualification tournament must play-off against an Asian confederation side to qualify for the World Cup.
Oceania has only been represented at three World Cup Finals — Australia in 1974 plus 2006 and New Zealand in 1982. However, Australia is now no longer a member of the Oceania Football Confederation, having joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006.

See also

Oceania in Arabic: أوقيانوسيا
Oceania in Aragonese: Ozeanía
Oceania in Franco-Provençal: Ocèanie
Oceania in Assamese: ওচেনিয়া
Oceania in Asturian: Oceanía
Oceania in Azerbaijani: Okeaniya
Oceania in Bengali: ওশেনিয়া
Oceania in Min Nan: Tāi-iûⁿ-chiu
Oceania in Belarusian: Акіянія
Oceania in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Акіянія
Oceania in Central Bicolano: Osyanya
Oceania in Bosnian: Okeanija
Oceania in Breton: Okeania
Oceania in Bulgarian: Океания
Oceania in Catalan: Oceania
Oceania in Chuvash: Океани
Oceania in Cebuano: Oseanya
Oceania in Czech: Oceánie
Oceania in Welsh: Oceania
Oceania in Danish: Oceanien
Oceania in German: Ozeanien
Oceania in Estonian: Okeaania
Oceania in Modern Greek (1453-): Ωκεανία
Oceania in Spanish: Oceanía
Oceania in Esperanto: Oceanio
Oceania in Basque: Ozeania
Oceania in Extremaduran: Oceanía
Oceania in Persian: اقیانوسیه
Oceania in Faroese: Kyrrahavsoyggjarnar
Oceania in French: Océanie
Oceania in Western Frisian: Oseaanje
Oceania in Friulian: Oceanie
Oceania in Irish: An Aigéine
Oceania in Gan Chinese: 大洋洲
Oceania in Scottish Gaelic: Roinn a' Chuain Shèimh
Oceania in Galician: Oceanía
Oceania in Classical Chinese: 大洋洲
Oceania in Korean: 오세아니아
Oceania in Hindi: ओशीनिया
Oceania in Upper Sorbian: Oceanija
Oceania in Croatian: Oceanija
Oceania in Ido: Oceania
Oceania in Indonesian: Oseania
Oceania in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Oceania
Oceania in Interlingue: Oceania
Oceania in Icelandic: Eyjaálfa
Oceania in Italian: Oceania
Oceania in Hebrew: אוקיאניה
Oceania in Javanese: Oséania
Oceania in Kannada: ಒಷ್ಯಾನಿಯ
Oceania in Georgian: ოკეანეთი
Oceania in Swahili (macrolanguage): Australia na Pasifiki
Oceania in Haitian: Oseyani
Oceania in Ladino: Oseania
Oceania in Latin: Oceania
Oceania in Latvian: Okeānija
Oceania in Luxembourgish: Ozeanien
Oceania in Lithuanian: Okeanija
Oceania in Hungarian: Ausztrália és Óceánia
Oceania in Macedonian: Океанија
Oceania in Malagasy: Oseania
Oceania in Malayalam: ഓഷ്യാനിയ
Oceania in Maltese: Oċeanja
Oceania in Malay (macrolanguage): Oceania
Oceania in Burmese: Oceania
Oceania in Dutch: Oceanië
Oceania in Nepali: ओसेनिया
Oceania in Japanese: オセアニア
Oceania in Norwegian: Oseania
Oceania in Norwegian Nynorsk: Oseania
Oceania in Narom: Ochéannie
Oceania in Novial: Oseania
Oceania in Occitan (post 1500): Oceania
Oceania in Central Khmer: អូសេអានី
Oceania in Low German: Ozeanien
Oceania in Polish: Oceania
Oceania in Portuguese: Oceania
Oceania in Crimean Tatar: Avstraliya ve Okeaniya
Oceania in Kölsch: Ozejaanije
Oceania in Romanian: Oceania
Oceania in Quechua: Usiyanya
Oceania in Russian: Океания
Oceania in Northern Sami: Oseania
Oceania in Samoan: Oceania
Oceania in Scots: Oceanie
Oceania in Sicilian: Oceania
Oceania in Simple English: Oceania
Oceania in Slovak: Austrália a Oceánia
Oceania in Slovenian: Oceanija
Oceania in Somali: Ooshiyaaniya
Oceania in Serbian: Океанија
Oceania in Serbo-Croatian: Oceanija
Oceania in Finnish: Oseania
Oceania in Swedish: Oceanien
Oceania in Tagalog: Oceania
Oceania in Tamil: ஓசியானியா
Oceania in Thai: โอเชียเนีย
Oceania in Vietnamese: Châu Đại Dương
Oceania in Tajik: Уқёнусия
Oceania in Tok Pisin: Osenia
Oceania in Turkish: Okyanusya
Oceania in Ukrainian: Океанія
Oceania in Venetian: Oceania
Oceania in Wolof: Oseyaani
Oceania in Contenese: 大洋洲
Oceania in Dimli: Okyanusya
Oceania in Samogitian: Okeanėjė
Oceania in Chinese: 大洋洲
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