What Do the Terms Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia Mean and Where Are the Subregions of Oceania Located?

The names Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia refer to geographic divisions of Oceania.

Micronesia refers to the more than 2,000 small islands that mostly lie north of the Equator.

They include the Gilbert Islands, Guam, the Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Nauru.

The 1,500 islands of Melanesia lie south of the Equator and include Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

Polynesia is the largest of the three groups.

It covers a huge area of the South Pacific, from the Midway Islands to New Zealand, a distance of more than 5,000 miles (8,000 km).