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The landscape of global sovereignty has dramatically shifted over the past several decades. From just 82 sovereign states in 1950, the number has surged to almost 200 today. This rise can largely be attributed to the fervent push for national self-determination following eras of colonialism and oppression. As the world map has become increasingly dotted with more borders, international border disputes have simultaneously risen. Often fueled by religious or ethnic motivations, these newfound independences have sometimes led to intense internal conflicts, particularly with minority groups. While many nations have transitioned into independence with relative peace, adopting forms of government ranging from multiparty democracies to more centralized powers, others have experienced tumultuous power struggles, occasionally resulting in military dictatorships or individual despots. These early stages of nationhood are critical in shaping the future of emerging states.

World Route Planner offers an extensive Oceania gazetteer, powered by Google Maps, providing detailed Driving Directions and Google Street View across the cities of Oceania. Our collaboration with Google Maps delivers the most comprehensive online satellite imagery available, enhancing your exploration of Oceania. Our database covers thousands of locations in Oceania, categorized by countries, counties, administrative regions, and cities. Additionally, World Route Planner provides precise Time Zones and Daylight maps for Oceania. Take advantage of this wealth of information and start exploring Oceania with Google Maps today!

Google Maps of Oceania


To access Google Street View for any city in Oceania, simply drag the yellow pegman icon located above the zoom controls directly onto the map. This will activate the Street View feature, allowing you to explore the streets and landmarks of Oceania up close.



Facts of Australasia & Oceania

Australasia and Oceania, covering a land area of 3,285,048 sq miles (8,508,238 sq km), takes in 14 countries, including the continent of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and many island groups scattered across the Pacific Ocean.

  • Greatest extent, North-South: 2000 miles / 3200 km
  • Greatest extent, East-West: 2500 miles /4000 km
  • Highest point: Mount Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea 14,794 ft (4509 m)
  • Lowest point: Lake Eyre, Australia -53 ft (-16 m) below sea level
  • Most northerly point: Eastern Island, Midway Islands 28° 15’ N
  • Most southerly point: Macquarie Island, Australia 54° 30’ S
  • Most westerly point: Cape Inscription, Australia 112° 57’ E
  • Most easterly point: Clipperton Island, 109° 12’ W
  • Highest recorded temperature: Bourke, Australia 128°F (53°C)
  • Lowest recorded temperature: Canberra, Australia -8°F (-22°C)
  • Largest lake: Lake Eyre, Australia 3430 sq miles (8884 sq km)

Physical Australasia & Oceania

Vast expanses of ocean separate this geographically fragmented realm, characterized more by each country’s isolation than by any political unity. Australia’s and New Zealand’s traditional ties with the United Kingdom, as members of the Commonwealth, are now being called into question as Australasian and Oceanian nations are increasingly looking to forge new relationships with neighboring Asian countries like Japan. External influences have featured strongly in the politics of the Pacific Islands; the various territories of Micronesia were largely under US control until the late 1980s, and France, New Zealand, the US, and the UK still have territories under colonial rule in Polynesia. Nuclear weapons testing by Western superpowers was widespread during the Cold War period but has now been discontinued.

Climate

Surrounded by water, the climate of most areas is profoundly affected by the moderating effects of the oceans. Australia, however, is the exception. Its dry continental interior remains isolated from the ocean; temperatures soar daily, and droughts are common. The coastal regions, where most people live, are cooler and wetter. The numerous islands scattered across the Pacific are generally hot and humid, subject to the different air circulation patterns and ocean currents that affect the area, including the El Niño ocean current anomaly, which produces extreme aridity.

Population

The density of settlement in the region is generally low. Australia is one of the least densely populated countries on Earth, with over 80% of its population living within 25 miles (40 km) of the coast – mostly in the country's southeast. New Zealand and the island groups of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia are much more densely populated, although many of the smaller islands remain uninhabited.

Languages

English is spoken throughout Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, English has been superimposed on a mosaic of Aboriginal languages. In New Zealand, the indigenous language, Maori, is the official language, in addition to English. Melanesian Pidgin has become a lingua franca alongside several hundred indigenous languages in Papua New Guinea. Across the region, the indigenous languages can be grouped into the Aboriginal languages of Australia, the Papuan languages spoken mostly inland in Papua New Guinea, and the widely dispersed Austronesian, which includes coastal languages of Papua New Guinea, New Zealand Maori, and languages of Oceania.

Transportation

While sea travel remains paramount throughout the continent, well-developed regional and international air travel has reduced the region’s global isolation. Internal air travel is particularly important in Australia, where distances are great, and road systems are poorly developed or, in some areas, nonexistent. Australia’s railroad system is still operating on three different gauges, and a legacy of its piecemeal development is being upgraded particularly the north-south links.

Australasian & Oceanian resources

Natural resources are of major economic importance throughout Australasia and Oceania. Australia, in particular, is a major world exporter of raw materials such as coal, iron ore, and bauxite, while New Zealand’s agricultural economy is dominated by sheep-raising. Trade with Western Europe has declined significantly in the last 20 years, and the Pacific Rim countries of Southeast Asia are now the main trading partners and a source of new settlers to the region. Australasia and Oceania’s greatest resources are its climate and environment; tourism increasingly provides a vital source of income for the whole continent.

Industry

Much of the region’s industry is resource-based: sheep farming for wool and meat in Australia and New Zealand, mining in Australia and Papua New Guinea, and fishing throughout the Pacific islands. Manufacturing is mainly limited to the large coastal cities in Australia and New Zealand, like Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Auckland. However, small-scale enterprises operate in the Pacific islands, concentrating on processing fish and foods. Tourism continues to provide revenue to the area, and in Fiji, it accounts for 15% of GNP.

Standard of living

In marked contrast to its neighbor, Australia, with one of the world’s highest life expectancies and living standards, Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s least developed countries. In addition, high population growth and urbanization rates throughout the Pacific islands contribute to overcrowding. Aboriginal and Maori people have been isolated in Australia and New Zealand. However, their traditional land ownership rights have recently begun to be legally recognized to ease their social and economic isolation and improve living standards.

Environmental issues

The prospect of rising sea levels threatens many low-lying islands in the Pacific. The testing of nuclear weapons, once common throughout the region, was finally discontinued in 1996. The introduction of alien species has irreversibly altered Australia’s ecological balance. Although it has the world’s largest underground water reserve, the Great Artesian Basin, the availability of fresh water in Australia remains critical. Periodic droughts combined with overgrazing lead to desertification and increase the risk of devastating bushfires and occasional flash floods.

Countries in Oceania with Google Maps and Gazetteers

Browse the most comprehensive and up-to-date online directory of countries and administrative regions in Oceania. Our listings are sorted alphabetically from level 1 to level 2 and up to level 3 regions, ensuring you can easily find specific locations. Integrated with Google Maps and Driving Directions, we provide all the necessary tools to explore Oceania. Don't wait—start exploring the unique regions and beautiful countries of Oceania today.

American Samoa (125 Google Maps locations)
Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Australia (9 Google Maps locations)
Clipperton Island
Cook Islands (42 Google Maps locations)
Coral Sea Islands
Fiji (5 Google Maps locations)
French Polynesia (286 Google Maps locations)
Guam (125 Google Maps locations)
Jarvis Island (1 Google Maps locations)
Johnston Atoll
Kingman Reef
Kiribati (113 Google Maps locations)
Marshall Islands (3 Google Maps locations)
Micronesia, Federated States of (4 Google Maps locations)
Nauru (8 Google Maps locations)
New Caledonia (581 Google Maps locations)
New Zealand (17 Google Maps locations)
Niue (15 Google Maps locations)
Norfolk Island (3 Google Maps locations)
Northern Mariana Islands (27 Google Maps locations)
Palau (102 Google Maps locations)
Papua New Guinea (20 Google Maps locations)
Pitcairn Islands (1 Google Maps locations)
Samoa (270 Google Maps locations)
Solomon Islands (9 Google Maps locations)
Tokelau (1 Google Maps locations)
Tonga (3 Google Maps locations)
Tuvalu (11 Google Maps locations)
Vanuatu (8 Google Maps locations)
Wallis and Futuna (31 Google Maps locations)

The Nature of Politics

Democracy encompasses a wide spectrum of governance practices. In its most robust form, it involves multiparty elections and fair representation. However, in some contexts, such as in Singapore, what is termed democracy can closely resemble single-party rule, where alternative political competition is limited. Conversely, in despotic regimes, power is consolidated in the hands of a single authority, often ruling through personal decree rather than through democratic processes. In such systems, institutions like the parliament and the military typically function as extensions of the dictator's will, rather than as independent entities serving the public.

The Changing World Map

As of 1950, extensive regions globally remained under the dominion of a few European countries. The decolonization process began in Asia post-World War II, where countries in southern and southeastern Asia pursued and achieved self-determination. By the 1960s, numerous African states had gained independence, significantly reducing the scope of European overseas empires by 1965. The final major phase of decolonization occurred with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc after 1990. Today, the decolonization process persists as the remaining vestiges of European colonialism, often small island nations, increasingly advocate for independence.

International boundary determinations can be based on various criteria. Borders of older states often follow natural features; others reflect religious and ethnic divides; some are remnants of complicated histories of conflict and colonialism, while others result from international agreements or arbitration.

Post-colonial borders

As European colonial empires in Africa were dismantled in the latter half of the 20th century, the resulting African state borders often replicated the colonial lines. These were drawn by colonial administrators who frequently lacked adequate geographical knowledge, leading to arbitrary divisions among people of different languages, races, religions, and customs. This confused legacy has often resulted in civil and international conflicts.

Physical borders

Many of the world's countries are delineated by physical borders such as lakes, rivers, and mountains. However, demarcating these boundaries can lead to disputes over the control of waterways, water resources, and fisheries, which are common causes of international contention.

International disputes

Today, there are over 60 disputed borders or territories globally. While many of these disputes may be resolved through peaceful negotiations, certain areas have become focal points for international conflicts. Ethnic tensions and the quest for valuable natural resources have historically been significant sources of territorial disputes. The turmoil experienced in parts of Africa during the postcolonial era is partly due to the 19th-century division of the continent, which sowed seeds of conflict by imposing often arbitrary boundaries across linguistic and cultural zones.

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