The oceanic continent is home to 0.5% of the Earth's
population, but approx. a quarter of the world's languages;
however, most are spoken by only a few. In Melanesia,
Micronesia and Polynesia, as well as in New Zealand, native
languages are predominantly Austronesian languages,
especially from the Oceanic language group. In Papua New
Guinea, in addition to Austronesian languages, a very large
number of Papuan languages are spoken. The original
languages in Australia are all attributed to the
Australian language set, see Aboriginal (language); it is
uncertain whether the extinct Tasmanian languages
constituted a language set for themselves.
In recent times, creole language and pidgin language
occupy a strong position. The same goes for French and
especially English, which is the official language of many
oceanic states and in several places has become quite
The Oceania is the continent least populated in the
world, with a population density of 5hab./kmē. Less than 1%
of the world's population inhabits the continent and almost
half of its approximately 36.5 million inhabitants live on
Australia's southeastern coast. In the region the main urban
agglomerations are Melbourne (4,347,955 inhabitants), Sydney
(4,757,083), Adelaide (1,203,873) and Brisbane (2,274,600).
The rest of the Australian territory has a demographic
density of less than 1hab./kmē. In the great desert areas,
in the north and central regions of the country live native
peoples of Oceania, the aborigines, and livestock workers.
Adding the population of Australia to that of New Zealand
and Papua New Guinea, we reach the impressive number of 33
million inhabitants, that is, 92% of the entire population
of the continent. See
AbbreviationFinder.org. The rest of the population, equivalent to
8%, is distributed among the countless islands that form the
Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia of the continent.
The urban population in Australia is 89% and in New
Zealand 86%. In the case of Papua New Guinea, the population
is mostly rural, with an urbanization rate of only 12%. Even
though they are home to a large part of the continent's
total population, these countries are not very populated.
Papua New Guinea has a population density of 11hab./kmē,
while New Zealand has 16.5hab./kmē and Australia, only
2.96hab./ kmē. The three countries, therefore, have
extensive areas of demographic voids.
Samoa and Fiji are the islands in Oceania with the
highest population densities. Samoa records 60hab./kmē and
Fiji, 148hab./kmē. In all of Oceania, only these two
countries have a higher density than the world average,
which is 57hab./kmē (in 2016). Vanuatu and Salomão also have
outstanding population densities, with 17hab./kmē and
The colonization of Australia and New Zealand occurred
late (if compared with that in America), between the 18th
and 19th centuries, and was carried out by the English.
Together with them, European immigrants from different
countries arrived in these countries, which resulted in the
great ethnic and cultural diversity that has developed
As in America, the native peoples of Oceania, such as the
Aborigines and the Maori, were decimated because of the
conflicts with the colonizers and diseases brought by them.
Economic activities such as agriculture and mining expelled
this portion of the population from their territories. Maori
are only 10% of the New Zealand population today and
Aborigines are only 3% of the Australian population.
As the colonization in Australia and New Zealand was of
settlement, not of exploitation, these countries were able
to develop throughout its history. For this reason, they are
the only countries on the continent that have a developed
economy. Investments in the social areas (health, education,
employment, social security and social programs) have
provided Australians and New Zealanders with a better
quality of life, with access to services and infrastructure
that are very different from the reality of the vast
majority of countries in Oceania.
The immense inequality can be seen when we compare the
statistics of the two developed nations with the other three
that concentrate the majority of the population. In 2012,
Australia and New Zealand each had an HDI of 0.929 and
0.908, a per capita income of 44 and 29 thousand dollars and
a GDP of US $ 956.912 million and US $ 125 million,
respectively. Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea
each had, in the same year, an HDI of 0.688, 0.510 and
0.466, per capita income of US $ 4,000, US $ 1,000 and US $
1,000, in addition to a GDP of US $ 3,085,000,000, US $
552,000,000 and $ 8,935,000,000, respectively.
As can be imagined by analyzing the differences in the
Human Development Index (HDI) of each country, the first two
also have infant mortality rates and life expectancy much
more satisfactory than the others.
Samoa, Monarchy of Oceania, in the Southern Hemisphere of
the Pacific. Samoa is located about 3000 kilometers
northeast of New Zealand and about midway between New
Zealand and Hawaii. Make up the western part of the Samoa
Islands. The state includes the main islands of Savai'i
(1707 km2), Upolu (1119 km2), the
smaller islands of Manono and Apolima as well as uninhabited
Samoa became the first state in Oceania in 1962 (named
West Samoa until 1997). The country is west of the date line
(since 2011). The capital is Apia.
Samoa (the name) is of unknown origin and significance.
National anthem is 'O le Fu'a ole Sa'olotoga o Samoa' /
'The Banner of Freedom'.
Geography and environment
The two main islands of Savai'i (Salafal) in the west and
Upolu are the peaks of volcanoes and rocky islands with
steep coasts partially surrounded by coral reefs; they are
separated by the Strait of Apolima. The bedrock is lava and
tough. The other islands make up about one percent of the
land area and are smaller and lower; Rose Island is an
atoll. There are coral reefs off the coast. From several
crater lakes, streams with waterfalls flow. The highest
point is Mauga Silisili 1858 meters above sea level, on the
The two main islands have fertile valleys with dense
evergreen rainforest including coconut palms, screw palms
and ferns. Much of the lowland forest has been lost at
harvest. Swamps and mangrove vegetation are found in low
lying areas. There are large barren lava areas on the
Savai'i. 28 percent of land plants are endemic (native).
The only naturally occurring mammals are flying dogs and
small bats. Rats and pigs are introduced by humans. There
are 37 species of terrestrial birds, of which 84 per cent
are endemic, including tooth pigeon. On the coast there are
many species of seabirds, including frigate birds, tropical
birds and nodules. There are 19 species of reptiles,
including sea turtles, and a stray snake (boa) on land.
Amphibians are missing. There are more than 400 species of
fish on the coasts.
Samoa has a tropical rainy climate with an annual average
temperature of 26.5 o C and rainy season from
November to April. In Apia, the annual rainfall is about
3000 millimeters; in mountain slopes it can reach 6000-7000
millimeters. Tropical hurricanes can occur in December-March
and cause major devastation.
People and society
According to the census (2001), 92.6 percent were Samoan,
seven percent were Eurozone (of mixed Polynesian and
European origin) and 0.4 percent were European. (The World
19.1 percent of the population is urban (2015). Nearly ū
of the population lives on Upolu and the small islands of
Apolima and Manono.
Life expectancy at birth is 76.48 years for women and
70.58 for men (2015). Birth rates are high, but there is
relatively large emigration. The majority of ethnic Samoans
live in other countries today.
57.4 percent of the population were Protestants among
various denominations and 19.4 percent were Roman Catholics;
the Mormons make up 15.2 percent. 13.7 percent were
Methodists (2011). (The World Factbook 2015)
The official languages are Samoan and English.
State and politics
Samoa is a constitutional and parliamentary-democratic
monarchy characterized by a mixture of Samoan and English
The head of state, 'O le Ao o le Malo', is elected by
parliament for five years after his predecessor's death,
titled 'royal son'. The executive power lies with the prime
minister, who is elected by parliament, and a government
appointed by him. The Parliament, 'Fono', has 49 members; 47
is elected for five years from districts of Samoan and two
by non-Samoan citizens. There are two four political
Samoa is divided into eleven political disputes called 'itumalo'.
The country has no defense but a police force, the Samoa
Police Force. Since 1962, Samoa has a defense and friendship
agreement with New Zealand.
Samoa is a member of the UN and most of the UN's special
organizations, the Commonwealth, the Pacific Islands Forum
and the Cotonou Agreement.
Economy and business
The most important agricultural products are coconuts,
cocoa, coffee, pineapple, papaya, bananas and taro, as well
as breadfruit, yams and corn. Cattle, goats, pigs and
chickens are the most important livestock. Fishing is very
The industry includes the production of copra and
clothing, as well as the production of cables and car parts.
Since the mid-1990s, tourism has been growing rapidly,
accounting for about 95 percent of GDP. Samoa's main trading
partners are Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Knowledge and culture
It is a 10-year compulsory schooling. The elementary
school is 6 years old and high school 7 years old. Higher
education is provided at The National University of Samoa (NUS),
The University of the South Pacific (USP) and The Oceania
University of Medicine (OUM) as well as Australia Pacific
Technical College (APTC).
Two daily newspapers and two weekly newspapers are
published. There are two radio channels and one television
channel; sections of the population watch American Samoa
Albert Wendt (1939-) writes novels, plays and poetry.
Another well-known poet is Sapa'u Ruperake Petaia (1951-)
and the poet and novelist and painter Sia Figiel (1967-).
Song is central to Samoan music. Typical musical
instruments are conclave, hollowed out drums, guitar
(guitar) and ukulele. During World War II, American music
became popular. Today, pop, rock, rap and hip hop are
popular genres. The band 'Past to Present / Ilanda'
(1990-2006) achieved great international success.
The traditional dance is'siva' with graceful hand and
foot movements to music.'sasa', 'malu'ulu' and 'fa'ataupatit'
are group dances.
Both women and men are tattooed. Patterns or pictures are
painted on cloths ('siapo') of bark. Fatu Akelei Feu'u
(1946-) is a well-known painter.
'The Orator' ('O Le Tulafale') from 2011 was the first
Samoan feature film.
The most popular sports are rugby, Samoan cricket (kirikiti)