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Australasia is a term variably used to describe a region of Oceania: Australia, New Zealand, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes (1756). He derived it from the Latin for "south of Asia" and differentiated the area from Polynesia (to the east) and the southeast Pacific (Magellanica). It is also distinct from Micronesia (to the northeast).


[edit] Physical geography

Physiographically, Australasia includes the Australian landmass (including Tasmania), New Zealand, and Melanesia: New Guinea and neighbouring islands north and east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean. The designation is sometimes applied to all the lands and islands of the Pacific Ocean lying between the equator and latitude 47° south.

Most of Australasia lies on the southern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, flanked by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Southern Ocean to the south. Peripheral territories lie on the Eurasian Plate to the northwest, the Philippine Plate to the north, and in the Pacific Ocean – including numerous marginal seas – atop the Pacific Plate to the north and east.

[edit] Human geography

Geopolitically, Australasia is sometimes used as a term for Australia and New Zealand together, in the absence of another word limited to those two countries. There are many organizations whose names are prefixed with "(Royal) Australasian Society" that are limited to just Australia and New Zealand.
Image:Australasian Olympic Flag.svg
Australasian Olympic Flag
In the past, Australasia has been used as a name for combined Australia/New Zealand sporting teams. Examples include tennis between 1905 and 1913, when Australia and New Zealand combined its best players to compete in the Davis Cup international tournament (and won it in 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1911), and at the Olympic Games of 1908 and 1912.

Anthropologists, although disagreeing on details, generally support theories that call for a Southeastern Asian origin of indigenous island peoples in Australasia and neighboring subregions.

[edit] Ecological geography

Main article: Australasia ecozone

From an ecological perspective the Australasia ecozone is a distinct region with a common evolutionary history and a great many unique flora and fauna. In this context, Australasia is limited to Australia, New Guinea, and neighbouring islands, including the Indonesian islands from Lombok and Sulawesi eastward. The biological dividing line from Asia is the Wallace lineBorneo and Bali lie on the western, Asian side.

[edit] See also

[edit] References


ca:Australàsia cy:Awstralasia de:Australasien el:Αυστραλασία es:Australasia fa:استرالزی fr:Australasie ko:오스트랄라시아 hr:Australazija is:Ástralasía it:Australasia lt:Australazija nl:Australazië ja:オーストララシア no:Australasia nn:Australasia pl:Australazja pt:Australásia ru:Австралазия scn:Australasia sl:Avstralazija sr:Аустралазија sh:Australazija fi:Australaasia sv:Australiska regionen th:ออสตราเลเซีย vi:Australasia uk:Австралоазія


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