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Related to Polynesia: Polynesian, Oceania, Melanesia


(pŏlĭnē`zhə, –shə) [Gr.,=many islands], one of the three main divisions of OceaniaOceania
or Oceanica
, collective name for the approximately 25,000 islands of the Pacific, usually excluding such nontropical areas as the Ryukyu and Aleutian islands and Japan, as well as Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, whose populations are more closely
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, in the central and S Pacific Ocean. The larger islands are volcanic; the smaller ones are generally coral formations. The principal groups are the Hawaiian Islands (see HawaiiHawaii
, 50th state of the United States, comprising a group of eight major islands and numerous islets in the central Pacific Ocean, c.2,100 mi (3,380 km) SW of San Francisco. Facts and Figures

Area, 6,450 sq mi (16,706 sq km). Pop.
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), SamoaSamoa,
chain of volcanic islands in the South Pacific, comprising the independent nation of Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), and E of long. 171° W, the islands of American Samoa, under U.S. control. The Samoan islands extend c.350 mi (560 km), with a total land area of c.
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, TongaTonga
, officially Kingdom of Tonga, island kingdom (2015 est. pop. 106,000), 270 sq mi (699 sq km), South Pacific, c.2000 mi (3,220 km) NE of Sydney, Australia. Tonga is the only surviving independent kingdom in the South Pacific. Nukualofa is the capital.
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, and the islands of French PolynesiaFrench Polynesia,
officially Overseas Lands of French Polynesia, internally self-governing dependency (2015 est. pop. 278,000) of France, consisting of 118 islands in the South Pacific. The capital is Papeete, on Tahiti.
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. Ethnologically though not geographically, Polynesia also embraces New ZealandNew Zealand
, island country (2015 est. pop. 4,615,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland.
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, which along with the Hawaiian Islands and Easter IslandEaster Island,
Span. Isla de Pascua, Polynesian Rapa Nui, remote island (1992 pop. 2,770), 66 sq mi (171 sq km), in the South Pacific, c.2,200 mi (3,540 km) W of Chile, to which it belongs.
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 broadly demarcate the extent of Polynesian settlement in the Pacific, known as the Polynesian Triangle. Malayo-Polynesian languagesMalayo-Polynesian languages
, sometimes also called Austronesian languages
, family of languages estimated at from 300 to 500 tongues and understood by approximately 300 million people in Madagascar; the Malay Peninsula; Indonesia and New Guinea; the Philippines;
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 are spoken in Polynesia. The Polynesians were skilled navigators and sailors, and the Pacific islands they settled were often separated by enormous expanses of open ocean.


See T. Barrow, Art and Life in Polynesia (1972); B. Finney, Voyage of Rediscovery: A Cultural Odyssey through Polynesia (1994).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



islands of Oceania located in the central part of the Pacific Ocean, between 23° 30’ N lat. and 28” S lat. and between 176” E long, and 109° 20’ W long. Polynesia includes the Tonga Islands (an independent state since 1970), the Hawaiian Islands (a US state), the Tuvalu Islands and the Phoenix Islands (British possessions), the Tokelaus and the Cook Archipelago (possessions of New Zealand), Western Samoa (an independent state since 1962), Eastern Samoa (US possession), the Line Islands, or the Central Polynesian Sporades (possession of Great Britain and the USA), the Tubuais, the Marquesas, the Societies, and the Tuamotus (French possessions), and Easter Island (Chilean possession). New Zealand is also considered part of Polynesia. The area, without New Zealand, is about 26,000 sq km. Population, about 1.2 million (1969).

The islands are mostly of volcanic or coral origin. The volcanic islands are mountainous with elevations of more than 4,000 m (Hawaiian Islands 4,202 m); the coral islands are flat and low-lying. The Hawaiian and Samoan islands have active volcanoes. Most of the islands are surrounded by coral reefs. The climate is equatorial and tropical, with tradewinds; mean annual temperatures vary from 22° to 26°C, with minor monthly fluctuations. Precipitation averages 1,500 to 3,500 mm per year. Tahiti, Samoa, and Tonga are subject to violent hurricanes. The mountainous islands are covered with dense, evergreen subequatorial and tropical forests, especially on the windward slopes; the leeward slopes are covered mostly with savanna. Along the coasts are coconut palms, breadfruits, and pan-danuses. There are no large mammals but many birds.

The population of Polynesia consists of two basic groups: aboriginal Oceanians and immigrants from Europe, America, and Asia or their descendants. The former, represented by various Polynesian peoples, are heavily predominant on the islands of Tonga, Samoa, Wallis, Horn, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Line, Cook (together with Niue), Society, Tubuai, Tuamotu, Gambier, Marquesas, and Easter Island. In New Zealand the majority of the population are Anglo-New Zealanders (descendants of immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland), and on Hawaii US Americans and Japanese predominate, although there are large numbers of Filipinos and Chinese. The island of Tahiti also has a group of Chinese. Micronesians—natives of the Gilbert Islands —live on some of the Line Islands. The Phoenix Islands are uninhabited. The main crop on the islands is coconut palms. Also grown are bananas, sugarcane, pineapples, coffee, cacao, rubber plants, rice, yams, taro, and manioc. There is pearl diving, and sea turtles are caught.

The islands of Polynesia became known to the Europeans at the end of the 16th century, when the Spanish explorer A. de Mendaña de Neyra discovered the Solomon Islands in 1568 and sighted the Santa Cruz and Marquesas islands in 1595. Portuguese, Dutch, French, English, and Russian navigators took part in the discovery of the islands of Polynesia up to the 19th century. The islands of Polynesia are on routes linking America with Southeast Asia and Australia. The largest cities and ports of Polynesia are Honolulu (Hawaii), Papeete (Tahiti), Apia (Western Samoa), and Pago Pago (Eastern Samoa).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


wise old parrot who teaches Dr. Dolittle the languages of birds and animals. [Children’s Lit.: Hugh Lofting Dr. Dolittle]
See: Birds
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


one of the three divisions of islands in the Pacific, the others being Melanesia and Micronesia: includes Samoa, Society, Marquesas, Mangareva, Tuamotu, Cook, and Tubuai Islands, and Tonga
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
French Polynesia has one of the more advanced telecoms infrastructures for the Pacific islands region.
Bach appeared to end French Polynesia's hopes of hosting surfing competitions at the 2024 Games due to the 15,700 kilometers distance from France.
In particular, it is concerned with the cartography of Daniel Djurberg, and "his concept of 'Polynesia' as reflected in his numerous maps and in its development in German cartography up to the 1830s" (9.1, p.10).
And the analysis of the sweet potato collected by naturalist Joseph Banks during Captain Cook's voyage to Polynesia in 1769 - thought to be the oldest sweet potato specimen known from Polynesia - is a variety only found in the Pacific Islands.
Los Angeles [United States], April 2 ( ANI ): Prominent Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston has lately returned from a trip to Tahiti, an island in French Polynesia where the "FRIENDS" star was vacationing with her celebrity pals.
To assess antibody seroprevalence against DENV types 1-4 and chikungunya virus in the population of French Polynesia, we conducted 3 cluster samplings (7).
Obama has been living at the resort during his time in French Polynesia, and the couple is expected to return to the U.S.
The free zone - tax free industrial zones with their own regulatory framework - is a project aimed at boosting the economy of land-scarce French Polynesia, while being a first step to building autonomous floating cities around the world, says Joe Quirk, a spokesperson of The Seasteading Institute and author of the much-discussed recently released book How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity from Politicians, which describes a utopia of independent "nano nations" floating in the sea.
A territory of France, French Polynesia has some of the most beautiful places that you can visit in its over 100 islands.
A small-ship cruise is the ideal way to explore French Polynesia and relax with your partner.
After a successful launch in Dubai, Zero.1 team participated at the PITA 20th AGM 2016 event in Tahiti, French Polynesia, which happened from April 25-29 2016.
"Although the American outbreak virus is most closely related to a strain from French Polynesia, it's also possible that Zika was introduced separately to the Americas and French Polynesia from South East Asia," Oxford biologist Oliver Pybus said.