Islands in the Pacific ocean are typically divided into Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia. Pacific islands may also refer to islands and countries of Austronesian origin or those located in the continent of Oceania. The indigenous people of the islands are known as Pacific Islanders. In a broader context, Pacific islands can refer to the islands in Oceania only or islands in the Pacific that were colonized by the French, British, Dutch, Japan, or the United States. Pacific islands may also refer to islands with Austronesian heritages such as Indonesia, Taiwan, Myanmar islands, Polynesia, and Micronesia. Continental boundaries along the Pacific are not considered Pacific islands. These islands include the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, Vancouver Island, and the Philippines. Island states and dependencies are generally smaller compared to their conterminous counterparts.
The Largest Islands in the Pacific Ocean
New Guinea is the largest Pacific island with an area of about 303,381 sq mi. It is also the second largest in the world after Greenland and the largest in the southern hemisphere. The sovereign state of Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the island while the western half also known as West Papua or Western New Guinea is Indonesian territory. Immigrants from Africa first inhabited the island fifty thousand years ago.
Honshu is the most populous and the largest island of Japan with an area of about 88,020 sq mi and a population of approximately 104 million representing 84% of the population in the country. It is located between Hokkaido and Shikoku across the Tsugaru Strait. The island separates the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. Honshu is the second-most populous island after the island of Java and the seventh largest in the world.
Sulawesi, previously known as Celebes is an Indonesian island. It is one of the four Great Sunda Islands the others being Java, Borneo, and Sumatra. Sulawesi is the 11th largest island in the world with an area of 69,761.2 sq mi. The island is made up of four peninsulas which are the East Peninsula, South-east Peninsula, South Peninsula, and the Minahasa Peninsula. Sulawesi is inhabited by about 19 million people.
Sovereign Island States in the Pacific.
Islands in the Pacific can either be sovereign or dependencies. Sovereign states include Fiji which covers 7,056 square miles and is home to about 912,000; Kiribati with an area of 330 square miles and a population of about 110,000; Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, and the Solomon Islands.