PACIFIC RIM COUNTRIES AND COLONIES

For more background see The World Factbook and Oceania map

 

Country or colony (italics) Status Main indigenous peoples Notes
Australia Independent of UK 1901 Aborigine or Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander
MELANESIA:      
Papua New Guinea Independent of Aus. 1975 Numerous indigenous peoples (715 languages) Secessionist movement in Bougainville 1988-97
Solomon Islands Independent of UK 1978 Solomon Islander
New Caledonia Colony of France Kanak Kanaky is Kanak (minority indigenous) name for French colony
Vanuatu Independent of UK & France 1980 Ni-Vanuatu Colonial name was New Hebrides
West Papua Indonesia annexed from Dutch, 1963 Numerous indigenous peoples Former name Irian Jaya
Fiji Independent of UK 1970 Fijian Conflicts with Indo- Fijians brought by British from India.
POLYNESIA:      
New Zealand Independent of UK 1907 Maori Aotearoa is Maori name for N.Z.; Treaty of Waitangi signed 1840
Tonga Independent of UK 1970 Tongan
Tuvalu Independent of UK 1978 Tuvaluan Colonial name was Ellice Islands
Niue Colony of N.Z. Niuean
Cook Islands Colony of N.Z. Cook Island Maori
French Polynesia Colony of France Polynesian groups
Wallis & Futuna Colony of France Wallisian, Futuan
Samoa Independent of NZ 1962 Samoan Western Samoa until 1997
American Samoa Colony of U.S. Samoan U.S. takes eastern islands, 1899
Hawai'i Annexed by U.S. 1898 Hawai'ian Independent kingdom to 1893
MICRONESIA:      
Kiribati Independent of UK 1979 I-Kiribati Colonial name was Gilbert Islands
Marshall Islands Independent of U.S. 1986 Marshallese
Federated States of Micronesia Independent of U.S. 1986 Micronesian groups Colonial name was Caroline Islands
Northern Mariana Islands Colony of U.S. Majority is Filipino, Chinese, Chamorro
Guam Colony of U.S. Guamanian (Chamorro) U.S. seizes from Spain, 1898
Palau Independent of U.S. 1994 Palauan Native name Belau
Nauru  Independent of Aus. 1968 Nauruan  
ASIA:      
Philippines Independent of U.S. 1946 Igorots (N. Luzon); Aetas (Luzon, Visayas); Lumads (Mindanao) U.S. seizes from Spain, 1898
Indonesia Independent of Neth. 1949 Numerous indigenous groups, particularly in Borneo & West Papua Main part of population is Muslim and ethnic Javanese
East Timor Independent of Indonesia 2002 Timorese (Tetum) Former Portuguese colony occupied by Indonesia 1975
Malaysia Independent of UK 1963 Numerous groups on Sabah and Sarawak (North Borneo) Main part of population on Malay Peninsula
Brunei Independent of UK 1984    
Taiwan Governed separately from China since 1949 Aboriginal Taiwanese
Japan Ainu (on Hokkaido Island)
Russia Eastern Siberia annexed by Russia Chukchi (in Chukotka), Koryak, Inuit (Eskimo), others
NORTH AMERICA:      
Alaska Annexed by U.S. 1867 Dene (Athabascan), Inuit, Aleut, Tlingit, Tsimshian, etc. Organized in regional corporations by 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
Canada British Columbia part of Canada 1871 Salish, Dene, Wakashan, Tsimshian, Kootenai language families in B.C. First Nations did not sign treaties in B.C.; now Indian reserve system
United States California statehood 1850; Oregon 1859 Washington 1889 Salish, Wakashan, Penutian, Athabascan, Algonquian, Yokuts, Aztec-Tanoan language families on Pacific Coast Reservation system for federally recognized tribes; off-reservation treaty rights recognized for some tribes
Mexico Independent of Spain 1810 Aztec-Tanoan, Hokaltekan, Otomaguean language families Large Indigenous populations in south (Oaxaca, Chiapas)
CENTRAL AMERICA:      
Guatemala Independent of Spain 1821 Mayan languages Indigenous majority
El Salvador Independent of Spain 1821    
Honduras Independent of Spain 1821 Miskito (east), other groups in west  
Nicaragua Independent of Spain 1821 Miskito (east), other groups in west  
Costa Rica Independent of Spain 1821  
Panama Independent of Colombia 1903 Kuna (Caribbean), Embara, Wounaan (east), other groups in west  
SOUTH AMERICA:      
Colombia Independent of Spain 1810 Cariban and Chibchan languages on Pacific Coast  
Ecuador Independent of Spain 1821 Quichua in Andes, other groups in lowlands  
Peru Independent of Spain 1821 Quechua in Andes, other groups in lowlands  
Chile Independent of Spain 1810 Mapuche (south), other groups in north