Pacific Islands

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Pacific Islands leaders, all members of the Pacific Islands Forum, at a meeting in Samoa with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (center), 26 July 2008

The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Three of the major groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Most of the Pacific Islands lying south of the Tropic of Cancer are collectively referred to as Oceania,[1] although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago. These islands are traditionally grouped into the three divisions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia:

The islands of Oceania are classified into two groups, high islands and low islands. Volcanoes form high islands, which generally can support more people and have a more fertile soil. Low islands are reefs or atolls, and are relatively small and infertile. Melanesia, the most populous of the three regions, contains mainly high islands, while most of Micronesia and Polynesia are low islands.

In addition, there are many other islands located within the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean that are not considered part of Oceania. These islands include the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador; the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, United States; Vancouver Island in Canada; the Russian islands of Sakhalin and Kuril Islands; Taiwan and other islands of the Republic of China; the Philippines; islands in the South China Sea, which includes the disputed South China Sea Islands; most of the islands of Indonesia; and the island nation of Japan, which comprises the Japanese Archipelago.

List of islands[edit]

This is a list of many of the major Pacific islands, organized by archipelago or political unit. In order to keep this list of moderate size, links are given to more complete lists for countries with large numbers of small or uninhabited islands.

Note: many Polynesian languages have a glottal stop, which in most of them is seldom written, however. If a name with a < ʻ > cannot be found, try to rewrite it without it. See 'okina for more info.

Newly found island: Makyleyla[citation needed]

  • Niue (Savage Island)
  • Taiwan
  • Tuparatu (see Andrew Knight)

Pacific islands by area (over 10,000 square kilometers)[edit]

Name area (km2) country or countries population
New Guinea 785,753 Indonesia & Papua New Guinea 7,500,000
South Island 145,836 New Zealand 1,038,600
North Island 111,583 New Zealand 3,393,900
Sakhalin 72,493 Russia 580,000
Taiwan 35,883 [Disputed] 23,000,000
New Britain 35,145 Papua New Guinea 513,926
Vancouver Island 31,285 Canada 759,366
New Caledonia 16,648 France 208,709
Viti Levu 10,531 Fiji 600,000
Hawaii 10,434 United States of America 185,079

See also[edit]

Pacific islands by continent[edit]

Antarctica[edit]

Asia[edit]

Central America[edit]

North America[edit]

Oceania[edit]

South America[edit]

Islands of adjacent oceans[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Collins Atlas of the World, Page 83

References[edit]

  • William Collins Sons & Co Ltd (1983), Collins Atlas of the World (revised 1995 ed.), London W6 8JB: HarperCollins, ISBN 0-00-448227-1