|Oceania is the smallest continent on Earth, being mostly
composed of Australia, the main and most developed country
in the region.
The Oceania is a continent
located southeast of Asia, comprising a set of islands added
to Australia, the latter regarded as a landmass called
"Australasia". It has a total area of 8,480,355 kmē, where
approximately 38 million people live. Because it was the
last continent to be colonized by Europeans, Oceania is
called “brand new continent”, distinguishing Europe (the old
world) and America (the new world), according to the
Eurocentric regionalization of the Earth.
Although there are thousands of islands in the region,
there are only 14 independent states, in addition to some
territories or colonies from other countries, with emphasis
on French Polynesia, the French protectorate where Tahiti is
located. There is a regionalization involving these islands,
dividing them into three major zones: Melanesia (which means
“black islands”), Polynesia (“many islands”) and Micronesia
(“small islands”), as we can see on the map Next:
With the exception of the region that comprises the
Australian shield, all the units of relief in Oceania are
geologically recent, with emphasis on the numerous volcanic
islands. The large number of islands of this type is linked
to the intense presence of volcanism along the oceanic
zones, thanks to the meeting between two tectonic plates
that occurs in that location.
As it is crossed by the Equator to the north and the
Tropic of Capricorn to the south, the continent has a
predominantly tropical climate and vegetation, with the
presence of one of the largest deserts in the world in the
interior of Australia, largely the result of the actions
continental climate. According to
Abbreviationfinder, Australia is abbreviated as
In economic terms, the two main countries are Australia
and New Zealand, considered one of the only developed
countries in the world that are located in the southern
hemisphere. They are great mineral powers and, in sheep
farming, in addition to having advanced agro-industrial and
tourism models, this last activity is predominant in the
rest of the continent. With the exception of the two
countries mentioned, all nations depend on food imports for
their own support, given that the existence of agricultural
land is scarce.
Below, you will find texts that will meet the objective
of establishing a greater and better understanding of the
many issues related to Oceania.
Kiribati, Island State and Republic of Oceania. Kiribati
is located on both sides of the equator in the western
Pacific. The country, which consists of one isolated coral
island (Banaba) and 32 atolls, is spread over 3,500,000
square kilometers. The capital is Bairiki. Kiribati is the
easternmost country in the world and the only country in all
of the Earth's four hemispheres.
Kiribati is nearly 3900 kilometers east-west and 2050
kilometers north-south, and is located on both sides of the
180 ° meridian. The entire country has the same date since
the date limit was moved eastward in 1995. The nearest
neighboring countries are Tuvalu in the south and Nauru in
The country consists of the three archipelago of the
Gilbert Islands (16 atolls), the Phoenix Islands (eight
atolls) and the Lineage islands (eight atolls) as well as
Banaba, which is isolated farthest west. The country is
considered one of the poorest island states in the Pacific
and is characterized by the UN as a country that can
disappear if sea levels continue to rise.
Kiribati (the name) is the native pronunciation of
'Gilberts' (after the archipelago of Gilbert Islands), since
–10 is pronounced –ss. The archipelago is named after
British captain Thomas Gilbert.
National anthem is 'Teirake kaini Kiribati' ('Get up,
Geography and environment
All of the islands except Banaba (Ocean Island) with the
highest point 81 meters above sea level are low atolls which
are the peaks of submarine volcanoes. Kiritimati in the Line
Islands is the world's largest atoll. The soil is thin,
lime- and saline, poor in water and not fertile.
The vegetation is relatively sparse and consists mainly
of coconut trees, screw palms and breadfruit trees.
Kiribati has few land animals; all are introduced,
including Polynesian rat, dog and pig. Of the approximately
75 bird species, most are seabirds, including large frigate
birds, red-footed owls and brown-footed owls. Waders appear
in the winter. On the coast there are a few hundred species
of fish; economically most important are two species of tuna
and several species of fly fish. The coastal waters have
many species of clams, snails and corals.
The climate varies somewhat by location. Banaba, the Line
Islands and the Phoenix Islands have a maritime equatorial
climate. The islands in the north and south have tropical
maritime climate. The rainy season is from October to March
and has large rainfall variations: from about 500
millimeters a year near the equator to about 3000
millimeters a year in the northernmost islands. Due to the
low altitude of the islands, long periods of drought are
common. Cyclones occasionally appear. The average
temperatures are 27–29 °C throughout the year; The daily
and monthly variations are small.
People and society
Almost the entire population (99 percent) are Micronesian
Kiribatians. In some islands there are Polynesians, Chinese
and Europeans. More than 90 percent live in the Gilbert
Islands in the west and about 40 percent of the country's
inhabitants live on the Tarawa Atoll with the capital
Bairiki. 44.3 percent of the population is urban. 21 of the
islands are inhabited.
Life expectancy is 68.39 years for women and 63.36 years
for men (2015).
Kiribati has no state religion. 55.8 percent of the
population are Roman Catholics, 33.5 percent are Protestant
(Presbyterian), and 4.7 percent are Mormons; 2.3 percent are
The official language is English but is used little
outside Tarawa. The people speak the Micronesian language
State and politics
Kiribati is a democratic republic within the Commonwealth
of Nations. The president is the head of state and the head
of government. The President is elected for a four-year term
and may be re-elected twice. The government consists of the
president, the vice president, the prosecutor and ten
ministers. All are members of the National Assembly 'Maneaba
ni Maungatabu', which has one chamber with 42 members
elected in the general election, and one member representing
the exiled community on the island of Banaban. Two political
groups are reminiscent of parties. The President is elected
from among three or four members elected by and from the
National Assembly after he is newly elected.
The country is divided into six districts and 21 island
Kiribati lacks military defense after it was abolished in
1976. The only allowed force is the police who have a patrol
boat. For its defense, the country relies on Australia and
Kiribati is a member of the UN and some of the UN's
special organizations, such as the World Bank, as well as
the International Monetary Fund, the Cotonou Agreement, The
Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum.
The first settlers came from the west about 3000 years
BCE. Substantial immigration took place from Samoa in the
13th century, and the inhabitants organized themselves into
small communities under a chief.
The first Europeans were probably Spaniards from the late
1500s and early 1600s. The islands became officially known
after British Admiral John Byron arrived there in 1765.
James Cook discovered Kiritimati on December 24, 1777 and
therefore called this island Christmas Island. In 1788 the
British sailed among the atolls without landing.
British and Americans caught sperm whaling from the
islands in the 1800s until about 1870. A Christian mission
was run from 1857. The islands became a British protectorate
in 1892 and Banaba was annexed in 1900 after phosphate was
discovered there. In 1916, the islands became the British
Crown Colony of Gilbert and Ellice Islands. Line Islands was
added in 1919 and most of the Phoenix Islands (Phoenix
Islands) in 1937; The US claimed these islands. Tarawa and
other islands were occupied by Japan in 1941. US forces,
after hard fighting, expelled the Japanese after the Battle
of Tarawa in 1943.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Kiritimati was used by
British and Americans to test bombs of hydrogen bombs.
Limited internal self-government was introduced at Tarawa in
1967. The Ellice Islands were separated from the rest of the
colony in 1976 and became the Republic of Tuvalu in 1978.
The Gilbert Islands became the Republic of Kiribati on July
12, 1979. In the same year, the United States waived the
claim on the Line Islands and the Phoenix Islands.
In 1989, Kiribati came on the UN list of nations most at
risk of ending up in the sea if sea levels continue to rise
as a result of global warming. Kiribati joined the UN in
In 2015, the country was hit by cyclone Pam, which caused
major material destruction.
Economy and business
Kiribati is one of the world's poorest countries with few
natural resources. The inhabitants are mostly fishing and
farming for their own needs. The main food products are
banana, papaya, coconut, yams and the fruits of screw palm
and bread fruit tree. Seaweed and kelp are also collected.
Pigs and poultry are the main livestock.
Commercially viable phosphate deposits were depleted in
1979, which had a devastating effect on Kiribati's economy.
Revenue from fishing licenses and transfers from Kiribatians
abroad account for almost half of the country's foreign
exchange sources; In addition, revenues come from tourism
(more than a fifth of the country's income). Kiribati is
heavily dependent on food imports and substantial financial
assistance from abroad (in 2013 more than 43 per cent of the
government's financial income). There is a permanent deficit
on the trade balance abroad.
Knowledge and culture
There is a compulsory and free school for nine years for
children aged 6-14. All inhabited islands have primary
school; High schools are found on some of the islands. A
college educates teachers, nurses, technicians and
practitioners of maritime subjects. Many study in other
countries, such as the University of South Pacific at Fiji,
and in Cuba.
There is one TV station and access to Australian and
American TV stations, and one state-run radio station.
One newspaper is published twice a week and three
newspapers are weekly newspapers.
The best known author is the poet Teresia Teaiwa
Kiribati has a traditional singing and dancing style;
folk music is based on song. Dance is often performed
standing with outstretched arms and few movements except for
abrupt bird-like head movements, or as a hip dance, and
accompanied by guitar after a drum.