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Polynesia

Polynesia (pŏlĭnēˈzhə, –shə) [key] [Gr., = many islands], one of the three main divisions of Oceania, 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 Hawaii), Samoa, Tonga, and the islands of French Polynesia. Ethnologically though not geographically, Polynesia also embraces New Zealand. Malayo-Polynesian languages 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Polynesia from Infoplease:

  • French Polynesia: meaning and definitions - French Polynesia: Definition and Pronunciation
  • POLYNESIA - Polynesia is a group of scattered islands in the vast Pacific Ocean. Around 2000 BC, families made long, dangerous journeys to settle there. The settl
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  • French Polynesia - Map of French Polynesia & articles on flags, geography, history, statistics, disasters current events, and international relations.
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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Pacific Islands Political Geography


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