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The Oceania Portal

Map of Oceania

Oceania is a geographical (often geopolitical) region consisting of numerous countries and territories—mostly islands—in the Pacific Ocean. The exact scope of Oceania is controversial, with varying interpretations including East Timor, Australia, and New Zealand.

The primary use of the term Oceania is to describe a continental region (like Europe or Africa) that lies between Asia and the Americas, with Australia as the major land mass. The name Oceania is used, rather than Australasia, because unlike the other continental groupings, it is the ocean rather than the continent that links the nations together. Oceania is the smallest continental grouping in land area and the second smallest, after Antarctica, in population.

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The main street of Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo.

The Republic of Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. It was named New Hebrides during its colonial period when it was run as an Anglo-French Condominium.

Vanuatu is an 83-island archipelago, of which two — Matthew and Hunter — are also claimed by the French overseas department of New Caledonia. Of all the 83 islands, 14 have surface areas of more than 100 square kilometers. Most of the islands are mountainous and of volcanic origin. The population is 202,609 (July 2004), and the capital is Port Vila.

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Location of Enga Province in Papua New Guinea.

Enga Province is located in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and is named after its major linguistic and ethnic group, the Enga speakers. Enga is the highest and is the second most rugged province (after Simbu Province) in Papua New Guinea. It covers an area of 12,800 km². Much of the province is at altitudes of over 2000 meters. Lower altitude areas are typically valleys which form the watershed for the two major river systems that drain the province, the Lagaip (which is a tributary of the Fly) and the Lai (which is a tributary of the Sepik).

The Papua New Guinea census of 2000 lists the population of Enga at 295,031 people, although the accuracy of the census is questionable. The provincial capital of Enga is Wabag. The two other main centers of population are Wapenamanda and Laiagam. Porgera, at the western edge of the province, is home to a gold mine operated by Barrick Gold.

The area has been settled for over 12,000 years. Europeans—typically Australian gold prospectors—originally entered what is now Enga province in the late 1920s, although the best-known explorations into Enga took place during the early 1930s. By World War II Enga had been very roughly mapped by the government; Lutheran and Roman Catholic missionaries were permitted to establish stations beginning in 1949 but a permanent government presence was not established in most of the district until the late 1950s.

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