What Countries Are in the South Pacific?

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Countries in the South Pacific, also referred to as the Pacific Islands and Oceania, include American Samoa, the Cook and Solomon Islands, and Fiji. The southernmost nations in the Pacific exist primarily as islands, and are often referred to collectively as Oceania.

Other nations and islands in the south Pacific include Nauru, New Caledonia, Tokelau, French Polynesia, Tonga, Guam, Niue, the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu. Rounding out the list of South Pacific nations are Kiribati, Palau, Vanuatu, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Pitcairn Island and the island of Wallis and Futuna.

Although the islands of the south Pacific are often grouped into the same economic and geopolitical zone, they are quite different in physical characteristics, such as size, and have different demographics. Historians generally believe that two distinct groups of migrants settled the region. The first group, which included Papuans, arrived in the area around 40,000years ago. The second wave of inhabitants arrived approximately 3,500 years ago, and made their homes in the outermost regions of Oceania. The influences of both groups have led to the creation of many types of languages, cultures and religions across the region.