The Pacific World
Fig. 15-CO (a), p. 402
Table 15-1, p. 404
Fig. 15-1, p. 405
Fig. 15-3a, p. 406
Fig. 15-3b, p. 406
Fig. 15-4, p. 407
Fig. 15-5a, p. 407
Fig. 15-5b, p. 407
Fig. 15-7, p. 408
3 Types of Pacific Islands
• Continental – were connected to
continents in past (New Guinea, Australia,
main islands of Fiji)
• High Islands – mostly volcanic (Parts of
Tahiti, Hawaii)
• Low Islands – coral islands (Tuvalu and
Marshall Islands)
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Tavarua, Fiji
Fig. 15-9, p. 409
Fig. 15-11, p. 412
European Colonization
Cook “Discovered:” Tahiti, Hawaii, New Zealand,
Australia, others. (Click for journal entries)
HMS Resolution
Colonization brought:
• Disease and alcohol
• Christianity
• Cash Crop Plantations
Table 15-2, p. 413
Figure 15-B, p. 414
Island Environmental Issues
• Sensitive Ecology: isolation caused
evolution of thousands of unique, but
fragile species
• Invasive Species: introduced species
(cats, mongooses, dogs, snakes, rats)
devastating local critters
• Mining and Atomic Testing
• U.S., French, and Australian Military
Bases – Nuclear Warships
Nauru – devastated by phosphate mining
Fig. 15-12, p. 418
Hawaiian Birds – devastated by
introduced species and habitat loss
Of Hawaii's 88 historic and prehistoric land bird species, 68
percent or 60 species are now extinct.
Po’ ouli Bird
1973 - discovered
1974 - added to Endangered Species List
December,2004 - last one dies in captivity
Some of the many other extinct Hawaiian birds:
Bikini Atoll – U.S. Atomic Bomb Test, 1956
Figure 15-D, p. 420
Pacific Island Economies
In Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia,poor
countries are the majority:
• Tourism
• Cash crops
• Military services and bases
• Fish exports
• Mineral Exports
• Mining and Atomic Testing
• Manufacturing (clothing) limited to Fiji and Cook
Pacific Island Economies
Australia, New Zealand:
• Developed market economies
• Services (Finance, Insurance, Media) –
especially in Australia
• Agriculture (wine, wheat, sheep, cattle,
venison, antler felt) – especially important
in New Zealand
• Tourism in both countries
• Mineral Exports in Australia
Pacific Island Political Issues
Indigenous Rights
Fiji – unrest between IndoFijians and Ethnic Fijians
• 2004 Coup
• Demands for land and
political power by native
Guarding Trial of Coup Leaders, Fiji
New Caledonia
• Continuing independence
efforts against French Rule
Bougainville’s (Australian
colony) Revolutionary Army
(BRA) fought Papua New
Guinea between 1988-1998
for independence
• 20,000 of 200,000 died in
George Speight
• The Pacific World region (often called Oceania) encompasses Australia, New
Zealand, and the islands of the mid-Pacific lying mostly between the tropics.
Tropical rain forest climates and biomes are most common, but Australia and
New Zealand have several temperate climate and biome types.
• The Pacific islands are commonly divided into three principal regions:
Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
• The Pacific World is ethnically complex, having been settled by people with
various Asian origins. Polynesia was the last to be populated. Papua New
Guinea is the world’s most linguistically diverse country. Christianity is the
majority faith in this region.
• Although countless islands are scattered across the Pacific Ocean, there are
three generally recognized types: continental islands, high islands, and low
islands. Continental islands are either continents themselves (such as
Australia) or were connected to continents when sea levels were lower (such as
New Guinea). Most high islands are volcanic. Low islands are typically made of
coral, a material composed of the skeletons and living bodies of small marine
organisms that inhabit tropical seas.
• The island ecosystems of the Pacific region are typically inhabited by endemic
plant and animal species—species found nowhere else in the world. Island
species are especially vulnerable to the activities of humankind such as habitat
destruction, deliberate hunting, or the introduction of exotic plant and animal
• Europeans began to visit and colonize the Pacific islands early in their Age of
Exploration and brought mainly negative impacts to island societies. However, a
steady process of decolonization has accompanied a recent surge of Western
interest and investment in the region.
• There are ethnic conflicts, related mainly to maldistribution of income, between
Malaitans and indigenous Guadalcanalans on the Melanesian island of
Guadalcanal, and between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians on Fiji. Interest in
securing more income from minerals has pitted the people of New Caledonia
against the ruling power, France, and the people of Bougainville against
Australian corporate interests in Papua New Guinea.
• Aside from a few notable exceptions, the poverty typical of less developed
countries prevails throughout most of the Pacific region.
• In general, the Pacific islands’ economic picture is one of nonindustrial
economies. Typical economic activities include tourism, plantation agriculture,
mining, and income derived from activities connected with the military needs of
occupying powers. Several countries are profiting from offshore banking and
1-900 telemarketing.
• During the 1940s and 1950s, the United States used the Bikini atoll in the
Marshall Islands as one of its chief testing grounds for nuclear weapons.
Strong negative reaction arose throughout the region in the 1990s as the
French resumed underground testing of nuclear weapons on the Mururoa atoll
in French Polynesia. That testing has since ceased. The United States relies on
the region for testing of its Star Wars missile technology. Many inhabitants of
French and American military zones are fearful of the economic impacts that
might accompany the withdrawal of military presence.
• Some of the low island countries are fearful that global warming might create
higher sea levels that will inundate them, and Tuvalu considered legal recourse
against the United States and Australia for failing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

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