Oceania History

By | March 8, 2021

According to Countryaah, Oceania is the largest island cluster on the planet, with over 10,000 islands and 14 countries.

Australia and Oceania History

There were paleolithic hunters and gatherers on the islands of Oceania over 10,000 years ago, which were replaced by soil farmers and the roller ax culture about 5,000 years ago.

The discovery and development of the island world of Oceania by Europeans began in 1513 and did not end until the beginning of the 19th century. Spanish and Portuguese seafarers were the first to explore the Pacific. Between 1519 and 1521, the Portuguese Fernando de Magellan was the first to cross the Pacific on his circumnavigation. The Spaniards and Portuguese were followed by the Dutch, later French and British, from the 17th century. Among other things, the Mariana Islands were discovered in 1521 (Magellan), 1526 New Guinea and 1567 the Solomon Islands. Tasmania was discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642; Easter Island followed in 1722. British navigator James Cook first landed in the New Hebrides in 1774 and in Hawaii in 1778.

In contrast to the voyages of discovery, the colonial division of Oceania only lasted about 80 years. It began in 1828 with the occupation of part of the island of New Guinea by the Dutch and ended with the establishment of joint administration over the archipelago of the New Hebrides by the British and French. In the first half of the 19th century, the European colonial powers managed to gain a foothold in Polynesia within a few decades. At the end of the 19th century, the Melanesia and Micronesia islands were almost completely colonized. However, decolonization also began in Oceania in the 20th century. It started with West Samoa, which gained independence in 1962. He was followed by Nauru in 1968, Fiji in 1970,

The first people to come to the Australian continent were the Aborigines, who lived there at least 50,000 years ago. Aboriginal people were divided into over 500 tribes in Australia before European immigration and have spawned an astonishing variety of languages (over 250), of which only a few are spoken today. The religious beliefs of the Aborigines are based on the belief in a mystical unity of man and nature, which is narratively underpinned by creation myths reenacted on ritual festivals. Therefore, dreams and ancestral worship play a central role, which establish a connection to the time of the creation of the world.

At the beginning of the 17th century, European seafarers set foot on Australian soil, the first being Willem Jansz in 1606. The British James Cook was the first to arrive on the east coast of the continent in 1770 and took possession of it for the British crown. After England lost its colonies there due to the defeat in the American War of Independence, Australia became a new target for the convict ships on which criminals were deported. In 1850 the white population was estimated to be around 400,000. Around 30 years later, attracted by large gold discoveries, there were already over 2.3 million in New South Wales and Victoria. The Australian aborigines were pushed back further and further from their ancestral areas.

In 1901, the six self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania merged to form the “Australian Federation” (Federal Commonwealth of Australia), thereby gaining independence from England. To see abbreviations about Australia, check AbbreviationFinder.org.

The actual natives of the continent were only recognized as citizens in 1967 and were granted full civil rights. But that did not include Aboriginal land ownership. Victoria was the first state in 1970 to award Aboriginal land. It was not until 1992 that the Supreme Court ruled in what is known as the “Mabo ruling” that Australia was not a no man’s land when the first Europeans arrived and that the Aborigines had rights of ownership over state territory.

Country Proportion of women working (percent) Proportion of men working (percent)
Australia 59.6 (2018) 70.5 (2018)
Fiji 38.1 (2018) 76.1 (2018)
Marshall Islands
Micronesia Federation
New Zealand 64.6 (2018) 75.7 (2018)
Papua New Guinea 46.0 (2018) 47.6 (2018)
Solomon Islands 62.4 (2018) 80.3 (2018)
Samoa 23.7 (2018) 38.6 (2018)
Tonga 45.3 (2018) 74.1 (2018)
Vanuatu 61.5 (2018) 79.6 (2018)

Australia’s prehistory

Until the European colonization of Australia, the indigenous population lived on a cultural stage that closely corresponds to the later part of the older Stone Age (Mesolithic) in Europe and Asia. Metal, agriculture, livestock, and pottery were unknown; the people lived exclusively on the hunter-fisher-sinker stage, and the implements were made of stone, bone, wood, fiber and bark. The study of tools, lifestyles, religious conceptions and social order is in many respects important for understanding the social conditions of prehistoric Stone Age cultures in Europe.

However, the study of Australia’s prehistory itself was first systematically recorded on a scientific basis in the years following World War II. Most of the material is random surface finds collected from old camp and settlement sites. Numerous are the sites along the east and southeast coasts, here are also series of so-called kitchen encounters with remains of sunken shellfish and stone and bone implements. Inland, there are often residual dwellings in preference; In some of these drawings and paintings have been found of a simple and usually highly stylized character. Nowhere, however, have major cultural layers been encountered in the settlements; therefore, there is no stratigraphic evidence of an age difference between the findings.

Characteristic of the Australian-Tasmanian implement industry in prehistoric discoveries is the wide variety of simple, convoluted forms that are similar to those found elsewhere in Asia, Europe and Africa, ranging from Paleolithic to Neolithic times. The local inequalities are partly due to the disparate implements available in different places. Most used are flint, quartz and hard rock, from pebbles and loose blocks; Regular quarries have also been found in New South Wales on the east coast. Among the most primitive forms are some finds of quartz implements in Central Australia that closely resemble the so-called eolites from the oldest stone age in Europe and Asia. Furthermore, there are simple hand tools of chopped beach stone; most commonly, however, are disc-shaped scrapers for different uses, and a variety of stains, knives, skewers and arrowheads. They may be similar to Asian-European forms of paleolithic (the musty, solutree and aurignacian) or Mesolithic (microliter). Grind axes are nevertheless common in the finds, they are partly of more special forms, which are otherwise found in Indonesia and Indochina.

In most discoveries, forms of older and younger character occur together; it shows that older tools and societies remained alive alongside newer ones. At present, there is no definite basis for determining the age of Australian culture. Residences with implements of a seemingly more primitive nature (the map culture) are obviously related to Indochinese and Malay Stone Age cultures of younger Paleolithic and Mesolithic character. A number of the most characteristic staining tools (elouder scrapers, bondi tips) and also grinding of axes appear to be younger elements and are due to later impulses from Malaya and Indonesia.

Oceania History