Oceania (sometimes Oceanica) is a geographical, often geopolitical, region consisting of numerous lands—mostly islands in the Pacific Ocean and vicinity. The term "Oceania" was coined in 1831 by French explorer Dumont d'Urville. The term is used today in many languages to define one of the continents and is one of eight terrestrial ecozones.
The boundaries of Oceania are defined in a number of ways. Most definitions recognize New Zealand, parts of Australasia such as Australia and New Guinea, and all or part of the Malay Archipelago as belonging to Oceania.
Oceania is traditionally understood as being comprised of three regions: 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.
Descriptions of the regions and constituents of Oceania vary according to source. The table below shows the subregions and countries of Oceania as broadly categorised according to the scheme for geographic subregions used by the United Nations. The information shown follows sources in cross-referenced articles; where sources differ, provisos have been clearly indicated. These territories and regions are subject to various additional categorisations, of course, depending on the source and purpose of each description.
| Name of region, followed by countries|
and their flags
(1 July 2002 estimate)
| Population density|
|(Australia)||135||1,493||3.5||Flying Fish Cove|
|(Oceanian part only)||499,852||4,211,532||8.4||Jakarta|
|Wake Island (USA)||2||Wake Island|
|(USA)||199||68,688||345.2||Pago Pago, Fagatogo|
|Chatham Islands (NZ)||966||609||3.2||Waitangi|
|Easter Island (Chile)||163.6||3,791||23.1||Hanga Roa|
|Juan Fernández Islands (Chile)||181||598||3.3||San Juan Bautista|
|Loyalty Islands (France)||1,981||22,080||11.14||Wé|
|Swains Island (American Samoa)||1.5||37||0.3||Taulaga|
|Total minus mainland Australia||1,321,608||14,784,670||11.2|
See Also: List of Oceanian countries by population
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.
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