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List of islands in the Pacific Ocean

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Pacific Culture Areas The Pacific Islands are a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are further categorized into three major island groups: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Depending on the context, the term Pacific Islands may refer to one of several different concepts: (1) those countries and islands with common Austronesian origins, (2) the islands once (or currently) colonized, or (3) the geographical region of Oceania.

This list of islands in the Pacific Ocean is organized by archipelago or political boundary. In order to keep this list of moderate size, the more complete lists for countries with large numbers of small or uninhabited islands have been hyperlinked.

Table of contents
  1. Name ambiguity and groupings
  2. Geopolitics and Oceania grouping
  3. List of the largest Pacific islands
  4. By continent
  5. By country

Name ambiguity and groupings

The umbrella term Pacific Islands has taken on several meanings. Sometimes it is used to refer only to the islands defined as lying within Oceania. At other times, it is used to refer to the islands of the Pacific Ocean that were previously colonized by the British, French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch, or Japanese, or by the United States. Examples include Borneo, the Pitcairn Islands and Taiwan (also known as Formosa).

A commonly applied biogeographic definition includes islands with oceanic geology that lie within Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia and the eastern Pacific (also known as the southeastern Pacific). These are usually considered to be the "Tropical Pacific Islands". In the 1990s, ecologists Dieter Mueller-Dombois and Frederic Raymond Fosberg broke the Tropical Pacific Islands up into the following subdivisions:
Geopolitics and Oceania grouping

Main article: Oceania

The 2007 book Asia in the Pacific Islands: Replacing the West, by New Zealand Pacific scholar Ron Crocombe, considers the phrase Pacific Islands to politically encompass American Samoa, Australia, the Bonin Islands, the Cook Islands, Easter Island, East Timor, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, the Galápagos Islands, Guam, Hawaii, the Kermadec Islands, Kiribati, Lord Howe Island, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Niue, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, the Torres Strait Islands, Wallis and Futuna, Western New Guinea and the United States Minor Outlying Islands (Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll and Wake Island). Crocombe noted that Easter Island, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, the Galápagos Islands, the Kermadec Islands, the Pitcairn Islands and the Torres Strait Islands currently have no geopolitical connections to Asia, but that they could be of future strategic importance in the Asia-Pacific. Another definition given in the book for the term Pacific Islands is islands served by the Pacific Community, formerly known as the South Pacific Commission. It is a developmental organization whose members include Australia and the aforementioned islands which are not politically part of other countries. In his 1962 book War in the Pacific: Strategy and Command, American author Louis Morton places the insular landmasses of the Pacific under the label of the "Pacific World". He considers it to encompass areas that were involved in the Pacific Theater of World War II. These areas include the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, as well as Australia, the Aleutian Islands, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, the Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan.

Since the beginning of the 19th century, Australia and the islands of the Pacific have been grouped by geographers into a region called Oceania. It is often used as a quasi-continent, with the Pacific Ocean being the defining characteristic. In some countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, China, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Greece, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Spain, Switzerland or Venezuela, Oceania is seen as a proper continent in the sense that it is "one of the parts of the world". In his 1879 book Australasia, British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace commented that, "Oceania is the word often used by continental geographers to describe the great world of islands we are now entering upon" and that "Australia forms its central and most important feature." 19th century definitions encompassed the region as beginning in the Malay Archipelago, and as ending near the Americas. In the 19th century, many geographers divided up Oceania into mostly racially-based subdivisions; Australasia, Malaysia (encompassing the Malay Archipelago), Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. The 1995 book The Pacific Island States, by Australian author Stephen Henningham, claims that Oceania in its broadest sense "incorporates all the insular areas between the Americas and Asia." In its broadest possible usage, it could include Australia, the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian islands, the Japanese and Malay Archipelagos, Taiwan, the Ryukyu and Kuril Islands, the Aleutian Islands and isolated islands off Latin America such as the Juan Fernández Islands. Islands with geological and historical ties to the Asian mainland (such as those in the Malay Archipelago) are rarely included in present definitions of Oceania, nor are non-tropical islands to the north of Hawaii. The 2004 book The Making of Anthropology: The Semiotics of Self and Other in the Western Tradition, by Jacob Pandian and Susan Parman, states that "some exclude from Oceania the nontropical islands such as Ryukyu, the Aleutian islands and Japan, and the islands such as Formosa, Indonesia and the Philippines that are closely linked with mainland Asia. Others include Indonesia and the Philippines with the heartland of Oceania."

Certain anthropological definitions restrict Oceania even further to only include islands which are culturally within Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Conversely, Encyclopedia Britannica believe that the term Pacific Islands is much more synonymous with Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, and that Oceania, in its broadest sense, embraces all the areas of the Pacific which do not fall within Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. The World Factbook and the United Nations categorize Oceania/the Pacific area as one of the seven major continental divisions of the world, and the two organizations consider it to politically encompass American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Fiji, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna and the United States Minor Outlying Islands.

Since the 1950s, many (particularly in English-speaking countries) have viewed Australia as a continent-sized landmass, although they are still sometimes viewed as a Pacific Island, or as both a continent and a Pacific Island. Australia is a founding member of the Pacific Islands Forum, which is now recognized as the main governing body for the Oceania region. It functions as a trade bloc and deals with defense issues, unlike with the Pacific Community, which includes most of the same members. By 2021, the Pacific Islands Forum included all sovereign Pacific Island nations, such as Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji and Tonga, in addition to dependencies of other nations, such as American Samoa, French Polynesia and Guam. Islands which have been fully integrated into other nations, including Easter Island (Chile) and Hawaii (United States), have also shown interest in joining. Tony deBrum, Foreign Minister for the Marshall Islands, stated in 2014, "Not only [is Australia] our big brother down south, Australia is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum and Australia is a Pacific island, a big island, but a Pacific island." Japan and certain nations of the Malay Archipelago (including East Timor, Indonesia and the Philippines) have representation in the Pacific Islands Forum, but none are full members. The nations of the Malay Archipelago have their own regional governing organization called ASEAN, which includes mainland Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam and Thailand. In July 2019, at the inaugural Indonesian Exposition held in Auckland, Indonesia launched its 'Pacific Elevation' program, which would encompass a new era of elevated engagement with the region, with the country also using the event to lay claim that Indonesia is culturally and ethnically linked to the Pacific islands. The event was attended by dignitaries from Australia, New Zealand and some Pacific island countries.

List of the largest Pacific islands

Islands of the Pacific Ocean proper, with an area larger than 10,000 km2.

By continent

Antarctica Asia North America Oceania South America
By country

American Samoa Australia Canada Chile China Colombia Cook Islands Costa Rica Ecuador Fiji

For a more comprehensive list, see List of islands of Fiji. France French Polynesia Guam Hong Kong Indonesia Japan Kiribati Macau Malaysia Marshall Islands Mexico Micronesia

Islands of Federated States of Micronesia Nauru New Caledonia New Zealand Niue Northern Mariana Islands Palau

Palau has over 250 islands, including: Panama Papua New Guinea Philippines Russia Samoa Solomon Islands Taiwan Tokelau

List of islands of Tokelau Tonga Tuvalu United Kingdom

Main article: List of islands of the United Kingdom - Overseas Territories United States Vanuatu Wallis and Futuna

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