chapter  4
28 Pages

Oceania: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Kiribati

The area known as Oceania includes Australia and numerous island groups spread across a vast region in the Pacific Ocean. Whereas the land area of Australia is nearly three million square miles (more than 7.6 million square km), the total land area of the Pacific Islands is less than 500,000 square miles (just over 800,000 km), smaller than the state of Alaska. The islands of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Hawaii comprise over 90 percent of this land area, while the remaining islands, numbering almost 25,000, account for fewer square miles/km of land area than the country of Belgium. The Pacific Islands are divided into three subregions: Melanesia (meaning “dark islands,”), Micronesia (meaning “small islands”), and Polynesia (meaning “many islands”).