The arrival of European settlers in subsequent centuries resulted in a significant alteration in the social and political landscape of Oceania.
In more contemporary times there has been increasing discussion on national flags and a desire by some Oceanians to display their distinguishable and individualistic identity.
Oceania was first explored by Europeans from the 16th century onward.
Portuguese navigators, between 15, reached the Tanimbar Islands, some of the Caroline Islands and west Papua New Guinea.
As a result, much evidence is based on linguistic analysis.
The earliest archaeological traces of civilization have been found on the island of Saipan, dated to 1500 BC or slightly before.
Willem Janszoon, made the first completely documented European landing in Australia (1606), in Cape York Peninsula.
The islands at the geographic extremes of Oceania are Bonin Islands, a politically integral part of Japan; Hawaii, a state of the United States; Clipperton Island, a possession of France; the Juan Fernández Islands, belonging to Chile; the Campbell Islands, belonging to New Zealand; and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, belonging to Australia.
Oceania has a diverse mix of economies from the highly developed and globally competitive financial market of Australia and New Zealand, which rank high in quality of life and human development index, The first settlers of Australia, New Guinea, and the large islands just to the east arrived between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago.
Micronesia began to be settled several millennia ago, although there are competing theories about the origin and arrival of the first settlers.
There are numerous difficulties with conducting archaeological excavations in the islands, due to their size, settlement patterns and storm damage.