Pacific Islands

Three of the major groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific Islands is a term broadly referring to the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the context, it may refer to countries and islands with common Austronesian origins, islands once or currently colonized, or Oceania.

Name ambiguity

In English, the umbrella term Pacific Islands may take on several meanings. Sometimes it refers to only those islands covered by the geopolitical concept of Oceania.[1][2] In some common uses, the term "Pacific Islands" refers to the islands of the Pacific Ocean once colonized by the British, French, Dutch, United States, and Japanese, such as the Pitcairn Islands, Taiwan, and Borneo.[3] In other uses it may refer to islands with Austronesian heritage like Taiwan, Indonesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Myanmar islands, which found their genesis in the Neolithic cultures of the island of Taiwan.[4] There are many other islands located within the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean that are not considered part of Oceania. These islands include the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador; the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, United States; Vancouver Island in Canada; the Russian islands of Sakhalin and Kuril Islands; the island nation of Taiwan and other islands of the Republic of China; the Philippines; islands in the South China Sea, which includes the disputed South China Sea Islands; most of the islands of Indonesia; and the island nation of Japan, which comprises the Japanese Archipelago.

Pacific islands by area (over 10,000 square kilometers)

This list includes all islands found in the geographic Pacific Ocean, with an area larger than 10,000 square kilometers.

Name Area (km2) Country or Countries Population Population Density Notes
New Guinea 785,753 Indonesia & Papua New Guinea 7,500,000 9.544
Honshu 227,960 Japan 103,000,000 451.8
Sulawesi 174,600 Indonesia 18,455,000 105.7
South Island 145,836 New Zealand 1,038,600 7.122
North Island 111,583 New Zealand 3,393,900 30.42
Luzon 109,965 Philippines 48,520,000 441.2
Mindanao 104,530 Philippines 25,281,000 241.9
Tasmania 90,758 Australia 514,700 5.671
Hokkaido 77,981 Japan 5,474,000 70.2
Sakhalin 72,493 Russia 580,000 8.001
Taiwan 35,883 Republic of China 23,000,000 641
Kyushu 35,640 Japan 13,231,000 371.2
Hainan 35,400 People's Republic of China 8,900,000 251.4
New Britain 35,145 Papua New Guinea 513,926 14.62
Vancouver Island 31,285 Canada 759,366 24.27
Shikoku 18,800 Japan 4,141,955 220.3
New Caledonia 16,648 France 208,709 12.54
Palawan 12,189 Philippines 430,000 35.28
Viti Levu 10,531 Fiji 600,000 56.97
Hawaii 10,434 United States of America 185,079 17.74

List of islands

Pacific islands by continent



Central America

North America


South America

See also


  1. D'Arcy, Paul (March 2006). The People of the Sea: Environment, Identity, and History in Oceania. University Of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-3297-1. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  2. Rapaport, Moshe (April 2013). The Pacific Islands: Environment and Society, Revised Edition. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-6584-9. JSTOR j.ctt6wqh08. This is the only contemporary text on the Pacific Islands that covers both environment and sociocultural issues and will thus be indispensable for any serious student of the region. Unlike other reviews, it treats the entirety of Oceania (with the exception of Australia) and is well illustrated with numerous photos and maps, including a regional atlas.  via JSTOR (subscription required)
  3. Wright, John K. (July 1942). "Pacific Islands". Geographical Review. 32 (3): 481–486. doi:10.2307/210391. JSTOR 210391.  via JSTOR (subscription required)
  4. Blundell, David (January 2011). "Taiwan Austronesian Language Heritage Connecting Pacific Island Peoples: Diplomacy and Values" (PDF). IJAPS. 7 (1): 75–91. Retrieved 2 May 2015.


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