Oceania Religion and Languages

By | March 5, 2021

Oceania (People)

The indigenous peoples of the Pacific have, according to European tradition, been divided into a number of cultural areas based in part on superficial racial divisions: Australia (Aboriginal), Melanesia (‘the islands of the black’), Micronesia (‘the small islands’) and Polynesia (‘ the many Islands’). In Oceania, the Aborigines, as well as the people of New Guinea and some of the Melanesian islands, constitute the oldest population dating back over 40,000 years. A later Austronesian immigration from Southeast Asia has from ca. 3000 BC populated the rest of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

Country Language
Australia English is the official language
Fiji English, Fiji and “Hindustani” are official languages
Kiribati English is the official language, i-Kiribati is widely spoken
Marshall Islands English and Marshallese are official languages
Micronesia Federation a variety of local languages; English is the language of administration
Nauru Norwegian and English are official languages
New Zealand English and Maori are official languages
Palau English is the official language throughout the country; Palau, Japanese and local languages ​​have official status in parts of the country
Papua New Guinea tok pisin, English and hiri motu are official languages; in addition, between 800 and 900 local languages ​​are spoken
Solomon Islands English is the official language, Pijin is widely spoken, and more than 70 local languages ​​and dialects
Samoa Samoan and English are official languages
Tonga Tongan and English are official languages
Tuvalu Tuvalu
Vanuatu Bislama, English and French are official languages, and many local Melanesian languages ​​are spoken

Australian Aborigines

As mentioned by Abbreviationfinder, Australia is a country known worldwide for its natural beauty, for its economic development and for the quality of life of the population (currently it has the fourth highest Human Development Index on the planet). However, little is said about the history of the first inhabitants of Australian territory, the Aborigines.

Aborigines are the native population of Australia, inhabiting most of the Australian territory, totaling approximately 750,000 individuals, subdivided into 500 groups and with about 300 different dialects. These groups had distinct lifestyles and cultural and religious traditions in each region.

With the arrival of the English colonists in 1758, the massacres of the Aboriginal communities began. English soldiers visited the villages pretending to be friendly, offering gifts. However, other soldiers poisoned the Aborigines’ water and food with arsenic; several people, including children, died as a result of the poisoning.

English soldiers destroyed places considered sacred by the Aborigines. They also offered alcohol to the local population, and took advantage of the state of drunkenness to instigate confrontations between the different villages, causing them to annihilate themselves.

After Australian independence was proclaimed, Aborigines began to suffer from discrimination against the population of their own country. Part of the Australian population considered Aborigines to be part of the fauna and flora, with no respect for these individuals.

Among the various persecutions suffered by this community, “The Stolen Generations” stands out, an attempt at “ethnic cleansing”. Men, at the behest of the government, invaded the tribes and kidnapped children, including babies; many were taken from their families, little is known about their true whereabouts.

Aborigines currently make up only 1% of the Australian population. Some live in desert villages, others live in peripheral neighborhoods in large cities. Most do not get formal employment and receive government assistance. Some get contributions from the population, playing on the city streets the didgeridoo, a wooden instrument that produces a loud sound similar to a ship’s whistle. It is common to find drunken Aborigines in the city, and often involved in confrontations with the police.

In order to minimize this sad story, the Australian government is developing anti-discrimination policies, and preserving the remaining Aboriginal tribes, preserving the traditions of these people.

Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands is a republic in Oceania, in the Micronesia Island region of the Pacific. The Marshall Islands are entirely north of the equator and slightly west of the international date line. The location is about midway between Hawaii and Australia. The capital is Majuro (Dalap-Uliga-Darrit).

The country consists of 29 atolls and 5 isolated coral islands distributed over two parallel atoll chains over a sea area of about 1.9 million square kilometers. The Republic borders in the sea to Micronesia in the west, Wake Island in the north, Kiribati in the southeast and Nauru in the south. Any sea level rise will hit the country hard. Marshall Islands relies on financial assistance from, and has close ties to, the United States. Among other things, the United States is responsible for defense and military security.

The name Marshall Islands is after British naval captain John Charles Marshall, who visited several of the islands in 1788. There was no collective name for the entire island empire before colonization from the mid-1800s. Instead, the individual atoll chains, Ralik (the western) and Ratak (the eastern), were mentioned and felt belonging.

National anthem is ‘Forever Marshall Islands’.

Geography and environment

Each atoll forms a collection of small islands around a saltwater lagoon. The average height of the sea for the whole country is 2.1 meters. The highest point, 10 meters above sea level, is an unnamed place on Likiep. This increase was probably the result of a powerful hurricane sometime in the 1840s.

The climate is warm and humid. There is no rain or dry time, but there is typically more rain from May to November. During the period December to February, there is usually extra strong trade winds, and therefore troubled sea in the waters. The annual average temperature is 27–28 o C. The annual rainfall is 500–800 millimeters in the north and about 4000 millimeters in the south. Typhoons occasionally appear in December-March. Extreme waves and high tides can cause major damage. There is also a danger that rising sea levels may render the atolls uninhabitable before 2100. The Marshall Islands have therefore had a clear voice in the global climate debate since 2010. Drinking water is insufficienton the northern atolls and periodically in the south. Most of the drinking water comes from rainwater. On both Majuro and Kwajalein, both the lagoon and reefs on the seaside are polluted by waste.

Kwajalein Atoll is considered the world’s third largest atoll, and has the world’s largest inner lagoon of 839 square kilometers.

60 percent of the land area has coconut trees and screw palms; no endemic (native) plant species are known.

There are many species of algae and coral, and more than 250 species of fish and all 5 species of sea turtles; There are 7 species of reptiles. 70 bird species have been found; 15 of 31 species of seabirds nest. The only native mammal is Polynesian rat. 27 whales are found in the sea.

A shark conservation area of 1 990 530 square kilometers was established in 2011, which means that all forms of shark fishing and trade in shark products are prohibited in this area.

People and society

In 2006, Micronesian Marshallese made up 92.1 percent of the population, mixed Marshallese 5.9 percent and the other 2 percent of the population (The World Factbook). Others are made up of Americans and Asians.

Twenty-four of the atolls and islands have a settlement. About 75 percent of the population lives on the Majuro Atoll and the island of Ebeye in the Kwajalein Atoll, which constitute the country’s urban population centers. Urbanization is at 72.7 percent (2015)

Marshall Islands has religious freedom. Just over 90 percent of the population belongs to a Christian congregation. The United Church of Christ has had more than 50 percent of its population as members in recent decades, but both Mormonism and various Pentecostal churches have grown strongly since the 1990s. Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the third largest congregation, after the UCC and Assemblies of God.

According to Countryaah, the current population of Oceania is 43,021,460. Life expectancy at birth in 2015 is 75.13 years for women and 70.67 years for men.

Official languages are Marshallese, which is a core Micronesian language, and English.

State and politics

The Marshall Islands is a parliamentary republic freely associated with the United States. Every four years, 33 senators are elected to the lower house of the two-chamber Nitijela parliament. The president, who is both head of state and prime minister, is elected by the senators. There is no restriction on re-election. The government of 10 ministers is nominated by the president among members of Nitijela and appointed by its chairman.

Marshall Islands is divided into 24 municipalities.

The United States is responsible for the Marshall Islands defense and the right to military support at Kwajalein.

The Marshall Islands is a member of the United Nations and several UN agencies, including the World Bank, and the Pacific Islands Forum.

Economy and business

Agriculture, fishing and manu- facturing employ about nine percent of the population. Agriculture is limited by small and poor cultivation land. The most important agricultural product is coconuts, which both make important contributions to households and are one of the few export goods, often in the form of copra (dried coconut meat). Otherwise, among other things, bread fruits, taro, bananas, papaya, tomatoes and pandanus are grown. There is some pig and poultry farming, but not commercial. Commercial fishing of tuna, as well as lagoon fish, takes place in the local fish markets. The country has significant revenues from the sale of licenses to foreign fishing fleets.

The underdeveloped industry is limited to coconut products (copra, oil), fish canning and the building industry. Wreckage is the largest export source, while fish products and copra are the largest export goods based on local production. The construction industry plays a certain role, but is mainly driven by labor migrants from Western Oceania (especially the Philippines).

48 percent of the workforce is employed in the public sector, but the private sector employs 39 percent. The rest are mainly employed in non-governmental or international organizations.

Tourism is little developed.

An association agreement with the United States secures US financial assistance, which accounts for a significant portion of the gross domestic product. Through a controversial agreement with local landowners, the United States has the right to use parts of the Kwajalein Atoll as a military base and test area for ballistic missiles.

Over the past decade, the Marshall Islands and Liberia have alternated between being the world’s second and third largest ship registers through convenience flags.

Knowledge and culture

There is an eight-year compulsory school for children aged six to fourteen. It is a four-year high school. The College of the Marshall Islands is headquartered in Majuro and the University of the South Pacific also has a branch there.

There are no daily newspapers. There is one national weekly newspaper in Marshallese and English, The Marshall Islands Journal, and one monthly newspaper on Kwajalein.

Crafts and crafts play a major role both culturally and economically, including with wicker baskets, mats and bags, as well as boat building.

Speech art is a strong tradition in the Marshall Islands.

Oceania Religion and Languages