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For other uses, see Mainland (disambiguation).

Mainland is a name given to a large landmass in a region (as contrasted with a nearby island or islands), or to the largest of a group of islands in an archipelago. Sometimes its residents are called "Mainlanders". Because of its larger area, a mainland almost always has a much larger population than its associated islands, and mainlander culture and politics sometimes threaten to dominate those of the islands.

Prominent uses of the term include:

The term is used on multiple levels. To someone in Tasmania, continental Australia is the mainland; but to residents of King Island, Flinders Island, and the other surrounding islands, Tasmania itself is the mainland.


  1. ^ Theroux, The Kingdom by the Sea, 1982:83.
  2. ^ For example, see [Hawaii Revised Statute §353H-7], which pertains to the return of inmates from outside of Hawaii and equates out-of-state with being on the "mainland". Thus, prisons on islands outside of Hawaii, such as Rikers Island and Alcatraz, might be considered "mainland" prisons.