“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands but a continent that joins to them.” – Francis Bacon
The Oceania geographic region is surrounded by the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans and includes the Australian mainland, which occupies 86% of the region’s area. New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and other smaller tropical islands that are scattered throughout the South Pacific also comprise the Oceania region, for a total of 14 independent countries and 11 dependent overseas territories.
The countries that are included in the Oceania region are: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru , New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa , Solomon Islands, Tonga , Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. The following overseas territories within Oceania are: American Samoa (USA), Cook Islands (New Zealand), French Polynesia (France), Guam (USA), New Caledonia (France), Niue (New Zealand), Norfolk Island (Australia) , Northern Mariana Islands (USA), Pitcairn Islands (UK), Tokelau (New Zealand), Wallis and Futuna (France).
Despite the small composition of the Oceania region there are hundreds of different tribal groups throughout that have shaped the cultural heritage of the various island nations and territories. For example, many present-day Oceania nations were populated by Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian peoples for thousands of years until European colonization. But on Papua New Guinea alone, there are over 700 different tribal groups within the population of 5 million residents.