Definitions for Polynesiaˌpɒl əˈni ʒə, -ʃə
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word Polynesia
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
Pol•y•ne•siaˌpɒl əˈni ʒə, -ʃə(n.)
one of the three principal divisions of Oceania, comprising those island groups in the Pacific lying E of Melanesia and Micronesia and extending from the Hawaiian Islands S to New Zealand.
Category: Geography (places)
the islands in the eastern part of Oceania
Part of Oceania including Easter Island, Hawaii, New Zealand, and most of the islands between them.
Origin: From πολύς + νῆσος; according to Moon Handbooks Tahiti, "the term Polynesia was coined by Charles de Brosses in 1756 and applied to all the Pacific islands. The present restricted use was proposed by Dumont d'Urville during a famous lecture at the Geographical Society in Paris in 1831."
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs. Historically, they were experienced sailors and used stars to navigate during the night. The term "Polynesia" was first used in 1756 by French writer Charles de Brosses, and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific. In 1831, Jules Dumont d'Urville proposed a restriction on its use during a lecture to the Geographical Society of Paris.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
is the collective name of all the islands of the Pacific of coral or volcanic origin. These South Sea islands are scattered, isolated, or more usually in groups over a stretch of ocean 7000 m. from N. to S. and 6000 from E. to W.; with the exception of the two chief members of the New Zealand archipelago they are mostly small, and exhibit wonderful uniformity of climate; the temperature is moderate, and where there are any hills to intercept the moisture-laden trade-winds the rainfall is high; they are extremely rich in flora; characteristic of their vegetation are palms, bread fruit trees, and edible roots like yams and sweet potatoes, forests of tree-ferns, myrtles, and ebony, with endless varieties of beautiful flowering plants; their fauna is wonderfully poor, varieties of rats and bats, a few snakes, frogs, spiders, and centipedes, with the crocodile, being the chief indigenous animals; the three divisions of Polynesia are Micronesia, comprising five small archipelagoes in the NW., N. of the equator, of which the chief are the Mariana and Caroline groups; Melanesia, comprising eleven archipelagoes in the W., S. of the equator, of which the largest are the Solomon, Bismarck, Fiji, New Caledonia, and New Hebrides groups; and Eastern Polynesia, E. of these on both sides of the equator, including New Zealand, Hawaii, and Samoa, ten other archipelagoes, and numerous sporadic islands; the first of these divisions is occupied by a mixed population embracing many distinct elements, the second by the black, low-type Melanesians, the third by the light brown, tall Polynesians; traces of extinct civilisation are found in Easter Island and the Carolines; most of the islands are now in the possession of European powers, and are more or less Christianised; New Zealand is one of the most enterprising and flourishing colonies of Great Britain; everywhere the native races are dying out before the immigration of Europeans.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
The collective name for the islands of the central Pacific Ocean, including the Austral Islands, Cook Islands, Easter Island, HAWAII; NEW ZEALAND; Phoenix Islands, PITCAIRN ISLAND; SAMOA; TONGA; Tuamotu Archipelago, Wake Island, and Wallis and Futuna Islands. Polynesians are of the Caucasoid race, but many are of mixed origin. Polynesia is from the Greek poly, many + nesos, island, with reference to the many islands in the group. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p966 & Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p426)
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