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Oceania Images Index

<Oceania2Large.html> A large map of Oceania. (879kb)
<OceaniaAustralia600.html> The index map for Oceania's subregion: Australia.
<OceaniaHawaii.html> Hawaii - Oahu Perspective Image.
<OceaniaNewZealandWater.html> A map of Oceania: New Zealand - with Rivers and Lakes Included.

China (map)

North America (map)

Asia (map)

Full color elevation map of Oceania.
Click here to return to main world map.

Click here for a large map of Oceania. (879kb)

South America (map, 135kb)

Australia (map)

NASA/JPL/NIMA. “WorldSRTM-noPoles-giant” Online Image. Earth Observatory. 16 May 2005 <>


This image was created from a larger Public Domain world map produced from data obtained by NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). The world map was cropped to the Oceania and resized to 600 pixels wide using a trial version of Adobe Photoshop. Using Google's free Picasa2 program, the color and lighting were then enhanced and finally sharpened to obtain the image above. The original image can be viewed at the NASA link above.

Oceania is the most spread out and isolated of the geographic regions. Not surprisingly, it is also the least advanced culturally. Surprisingly then, the continent of Australia is not the center of cultural advancement in the region as might be expected as the largest land area. It was the only continent which had not developed agriculture by the time it was discovered by Europeans. The growth of the rest of the region is most heavily influenced by the maritime skills of its inhabitants, which by Formative standards were amazing. Maritime trade undoubtedly was key to knitting the region together enough to share ideas and resources. By 2000BC, agriculture had spread throughout the Indonesian archipelago.

By 1000BC the basic geographic subregions of Oceania had formed. The SE Asian mainland was connected to Asia by tenuous land links and coastal maritime trade links, and was the most advanced region. Next in complexity were the Melanesian farmers of Papua New Guinea, whose resources were rich enough that they would develop intensive agriculture and chiefdoms. The Austronesian culture dominated the western portions of the Indonesian Archipelago. They had developed a lifestyle well adapted to the large islands of the Indonesian Archipelago which are relatively close together and enjoyed some commerce with SE Asia. The Eastern portions of the Indonesian Archipelago were dominated by the Lapita culture, a group of Austronesians that were evolving to better adapt to life on the smaller islands flung far and wide throughout the South Pacific Ocean. The Lapita culture was the ancestor of the Micronesian culture which spread throughout the islands of, appropriately, Micronesia. The Lapita culture was also the ancestor of the Polynesian cultures that spread out into the South Pacific, the master navigators and mariners of the Formative Era. The Micronesians and Polynesians had emerged by 1AD, and the only other major development before Europeans arrived was the Polynesian discovery of AotearoaF (New Zealand). It was the only Polynesian territory, besides Hawaii, to develop intensive agriculture and chiefdoms.

The voyages of James Cook opened the area to Europeans in 1770AD. The first European settlers arrived c. 1800AD, and by 1900AD Europeans were in firm control of the destiny of Oceania. The British controlled Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. The US had annexed Hawaii. The Spanish controlled the Philippines, and the Dutch had conquered most of Indonesia. During World War I and II, the Japanese made the most of their own efforts to colonize China and Oceania, and while many people welcomed the Japanese liberators, the majority (especially in China) saw Japan as an equally brutal invader. With the fall of Japan in 1945, Oceania began to emerge as European influenced but generally independent region in the same way that the nations of Africa emerged from 1950-2000AD.

Author: chroniclemaster1 Date Received: 2006/01/02
Editor: chroniclemaster1 First Date Posted: 2006/01/02
Proofreader: chroniclemaster1 Last Date Revised: 2006/01/02
Researcher(s): chroniclemaster1
Subjects: Maps
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