The Oceania is a continent gathering of the territories located in the Pacific Ocean.
Origin of the nameThe origin of the name “Oceania” comes from the word “Océan”: it is a toponym invented in 1812 by the geographer of Danish origin Malta-Brown Conrad (1775 - 1826).
General informationOceania is generally described as the area of the world which is located between the Southeast Asia and the South America. It is the smallest continental grouping of the sphere: the whole of the emerged grounds reached 8523655 km2, of which 90 % for only the Australia, 5,4 % in New Guinea-News-Guinea and 3,1 % in New Zealand, other nations or territories dispersed on the Pacific Ocean counting only for 1,5 % of the total. Oceania is finally the second continent less populated after the the Antarctic with 35800000 inhabitants in 2002. 60 % of the population lives in Australia, 16 % in New Zealand, and 12 % in New Guinea-News-Guinea.
A " space gigogne"As for any continent, the limits of Oceania are arbitrary and difficult to determine. These difficulties are amplified partly by one of the great paradoxes océaniens, namely that it is about a continent before very maritime, without true continental mass. The difficulties of defining this space are illustrated in various designations which could be to him applied. One speaks thus about “the Southern Pacific” or the “South Seas” while at the same time part of the Micronesia and the archipelago of Hawaii is located in the Northern hemisphere. Moreover, these designations generally exclude the Australia (and the Tasmanie) and it is probable that rare are the Australian ones which indeed are defined as Océaniens. More generally the border between Asia and Oceania remains fluid. The island of New Guinea is thus politically separate between Asia (the Western part of the island, made up of the provinces Indonesia of Papua and Western Papua (previously Irian Barat then Irian Jaya ), and Oceania (New Guinea-News-Guinea), even if the populations of these two entities are culturally close. Remainder until in 1962, the territories today indonésiens under Dutch administration, were regarded as belonging to the océanien unit. Until this date, the Netherlands were indeed for this reason Members of the Commission of the Southern Pacific or CPS (renamed in 1998 Communauté of the Southern Pacific).
On this concept of Oceania several realities are superimposed (political, geographical, cultural, historical,…) who do not recut themselves systematically. It is one of the reasons for which the geographers Antheaume and Bonnemaison described Oceania and more generally the Pacifique basin like a “multi-stage space”.
Through the evocation of significant features of modernity and tradition, of the relations center-periphery on various scales, the surface of the Pacific appears in fact like a complex space with structure " gigogne" , like it extremely well B.Anthaume and J. Bonnemaison expressed, in 1988, in their Atlas of the Pacific: with broadest, the Basin of the Pacific which covers 25 million km2; then the Asia-Pacific including Oceania; finally in the middle of the device Pacific Islands. Sometimes obviously, this nomenclature requires to be specified. Thus, the Zealand News is the sum of two large islands, but remains " extérieure" in the insular Pacific, while accommodating an important Polynesian community; The New Guinea-News Guinea émarge, like Australia, with the part continental of Oceania, but perhaps included in the insular Pacific since it takes part, in spite of its mass, with the problems of the islands, with beyond by the fact that its nationals émargent with the traditions mélanésiennes . " |" Geopolitical and strategic evolution of the insular Pacific and Australasia with orée of XXIe siècle" J.P Doumenge in Geostrategiques, April 2001 - N° 4
A coherent space between continuum and rupturesIn 1832, the French navigator Jules Dumont d' Urville proposed the first cutting of Oceania in various areas which it defines according to criteria which for him had “the advantage of pointing out the nature and the character of their inhabitants”:
- the Polynesia inhabited by “coppered people speaking a common language and slaves about Tapou”. In 1843, Charles Hector Jacquinot, ordering the Dedicated one, one of the ships of the second forwarding of Dumont d' Urville also expressed his dissension: “I think that it had been in conformity with nature, the geological reports/ratios of the islands océaniennes, to include/understand in Polynesian division Micronesia and Polynesia itself; without excluding of them the islands Viti (Fiji), and to fix the limits is of Malaysia at the west coast of Moluques while rising until the latitude of Formosa; to then include/understand under the denomination of Mélanésie the two geological centers which accepted the name of Nouvelle Holland and New Guinea, then the Moluques, Louisiade, the the Solomon Islands, Hébrides, Calédonie, included/understood there the New Zealand and Diémen which, like all these archipelagoes, are only appendices of Australia. I would like, moreover, that these two denominations Malaysia and Mélanésie were joined together under the general name of Australasia”
So today, these cuttings which at the time rested primarily on racial and ethical stereotypes (black skin versus coppered skin; crisp” or “woolly” hair “versus “corrugated” hair; “cannibal mélanésien” versus “good Polynesian savage”…) are not easily acceptable, the Mélanésie expressions, Micronesia and Polynésie continue to be used and very often preserve in the language running and at the eyes of the populations concerned a certain identity relevance.
In the Years 1970, the linguists then Geographer S, proposed to subdivide in their scientific work, the close Oceania and distant Oceania. Nevertheless there still, this new cutting, that is in the choice of these two names which can lend to confusion or in the delimitation more than vague of these two units, is far from achieving the unanimity.
Undoubtedly is necessary it to just like include/understand Oceania before a continuum where since centuries and well before the passage of the first Europeans, interbreedings and mixings cultural and linguistics were common. Continuum which does not prohibit nevertheless the ruptures, which they are linguistic between languages austronésiennes and not austronésiennes, geographical between the insular world and the units more consequent than represent Australia, New Zealand even the island of New Guinea, historico-linguistics between anglophone Oceania and French-speaking Oceania exits of colonial, economic cutting between developed Pays and of the Developing country, policy between independent countries and Trust Territories…
Country and territoriesThe following list and the chart which is referred to it, gather in the most exhaustive possible way, the various countries and territories composing this space (when the territory is not independent, the country on which it depends is indicated between brackets). Besides this dependence takes very diverse degrees according to the territories, energy of a territory or province completely integrated, with the intermediate statute of overseas territory or quasi-independent country, until the independence of right with a free association with another by a bilateral treaty of reinforced co-operation) :
See also: History of Oceania
See also: Economy of Oceania
See also: Languages océaniennes
The languages of Oceania are divided into two distinct groups:
the Languages papoues, spoken inter alia on the highlands about New Guinea and some islands about current the Indonesia. The majority of the linguists classify the Langues aboriginals of Australia in a group with share. The big number as of these languages (approximately 900 with the dialectal alternatives) of which much died and little of knowledge which one can to have some make nevertheless hazardous any final decision.
- the Languages austronésiennes, whose extension covers part of the Southeast Asia, Madagascar and all the insular Pacifique of the Eastern coasts of New Guinea until the Easter Island.
Certain linguists will classify separately the spoken languages on the Eastern coasts of New Guinea, other languages of the insular Pacific.
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