The European presence began in 1513 when the Spanish Vasco Núñez de Balboa traveled across the Pacific. Dutch and Portuguese sailors followed, and between 1768 and 1779 James Cook made three voyages of discovery, which contributed to the expansion of the British Empire. He sailed, among other things. around New Zealand, along the Australian East Coast and to Hawaii. The Frenchman Bougainville led the first French world tour in 1766–69. He came to Tahiti, the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), the Louisiads and the island of Bougainville. Dutch, British, Russian, French and German research trips followed in the latter part of the 19th century.
Countries in Oceania
- Marshall Islands
- Micronesia Federation
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
In 1828, the Netherlands colonized the western part of New Guinea, and in 1842 central Polynesia became the French protectorate. Britain took possession of Fiji (1874) and southeastern New Guinea (1885), and Germany established colonies in Micronesia and northeastern New Guinea (1885). The colonization often led to drastic interventions in the lives of the local population. Young men were forcibly recruited as cheap labor and shipped away from their villages (blackbirding), and imported diseases demanded hundreds of thousands of lives.
After World War I, Germany lost all its colonies, and Britain, the United States, France, Australia and New Zealand became the most active powers in the area. World War II caused great havoc for Oceania. Political independence came late and was not preceded by a war of liberty (with the exception of New Caledonia, where guerrilla movements are still active today). Western Samoa (current Samoa) became independent in 1962, Nauru 1968, Tonga and Fiji 1970, Papua New Guinea 1975, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands 1978, Kiribati 1979, Vanuatu 1980, Marshall Islands and Micronesian Federation 1990, and Palau 1994.
National independence has not yet been granted to the French Wallis and Futuna Islands, French Polynesia and New Caledonia, the island of Pitcairn, which belongs to the United Kingdom, Easter Island, which belongs to Chile, and American Samoa and other US territories in Micronesia. Hawaii is the state of the United States.
Despite national independence, many states in Oceania belong to the Commonwealth with Elizabeth II as head of state (eg Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Solomon Islands), and others are associated with New Zealand (eg Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau). In addition to the old European colonial powers, the United States, the Russian Federation, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand also have military, political and economic interests in the area. For Australia, see Countryaah.
Nauru was populated by Micronesian and Polynesian people at least 3000 years ago. Traditionally, there were 12 clans or tribes on the island. They farmed and farmed fish in the Buada lagoon. In 1778, British sea captain John Fearn became the first European to visit the island and named it Pleasant Island. From about 1830, deserters from European ships began to settle on Nauru. In 1878 a tribal war began. This civil war ended in 1888 when Germany annexed Nauru and incorporated the island into the German Protectorate Marshall Islands. Phosphate was discovered in 1900 and utilization of phosphate beds began in 1906.
At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Nauru was occupied by Australian forces. A joint British, Australian and New Zealand mandate was established in 1919. The following year, Nauru was haunted by an influenza epidemic with an 18 percent mortality rate among native Nauru.
In 1942, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops. The Japanese built an airport and deported 1,200 Nauru to forced labor on the island of Truk in Micronesia: only 737 returned to Nauru.
In 1947, Nauru became a UN custody area, but still under Australian administration. The island gained limited internal autonomy in 1951 and became independent in 1966. In 1970, Nauru gained control of phosphate extraction and revenue from the mines, and Nauru became the world’s second richest nation (per capita).
In the 1990s, phosphate extraction slowed. Rents were almost depleted in 2000 and the economy, which suffered from poor investment, reduced Nauru to a developing country. Attempts to introduce Nauru as a tax haven stranded in 2004.
In 2001, the Norwegian cargo ship ‘Tampa’ picked up 438 mainly Afghan boat refugees. These were denied asylum in Australia and 92 Afghans were granted asylum at Nauru, where they were detained for two years (‘The Pacific Solution’). Nauru signed an agreement with Australia in 2001 to allow asylum seekers to stay on the island for several million Australian dollars in aid. Australia repealed the agreement in 2008, but reversed the decision and extended the agreement.
Guam’s history is closely linked to the history of the rest of the Micronesian archipelago (see Micronesia). The island’s indigenous population that had inhabited the island for thousands of years was subjected to an extinction war by the Spanish colonial power in 1668-95. As a result of armed aggression and the epidemics (the natives were not immune to the diseases of Europeans), the original population dropped from 100,000 in the early 17th century to below 5,000 in 1741. These survivors were mixed with the Spanish settlers and with the Filipinos and created hence the basis of the present chamoro people.
For 3 centuries, Guam was an intermediate station for the Spanish Galeas, sailing between the Philippines and Acapulco in Mexico. In the aftermath of the Spanish-North American War and the Paris Treaty of 1898, Guam along with the Philippines became North American war looters. The island continued its function as an intermediate station until it was invaded by Japan in 1941. When the US recaptured it in 1944, it was transformed into a military base.
Since 1973, the United States has demanded in vain by the United States that the island’s population be given autonomy. In January 1982, a referendum was held to give the island the status of state federated with the United States, but the vote did not provide the necessary absolute majority. In a self-determination referendum, 75% voted in favor of an association agreement with the United States.
Following the popular vote, in December 1984, the United Nations General Assembly decided to recommend to the United States that the country take all necessary steps to implement the decolonization process. At the same time, the General Assembly declared that the presence of North American bases was the major obstacle to the people’s free expression of their self-determination.
In February 1987, former governor Ricardo Borballo, who had been elected in 1984, was found guilty of bribery, extortion and conspiracy against the judiciary.
In a November 1987 referendum conducted by the Guam Self-Determination Commission, the people supported the demand for a new kind of relationship with the United States. In February 1988, Guam received financial assistance from the United States to repair the damage a typhoon had done a month before.
In the November 6, 1990 election, Republican Joseph Ada was elected governor with 55% of the vote for a new four-year term. In the election four years later, Democrat Carl Gutiérrez was elected governor with 54.6% of the vote.
Negotiations with the UN and the US on the right to political self-determination and the establishment of a free associate state were resumed in 1996. A group of landowners demanded that the land seized by the North American military installations also be included in the negotiations. However, the Washington Guam is considered to be a very important geostrategic piece. In September 1996, the island served as the base of operations for North American aircraft carrying out a “limited attack” against Iraq.
In the November 1996 legislative session, Republicans got 11 seats and Democrats 10.