Oceania Part 2: Melanesia

The series about Oceania will continue with the next topic being Melanesia. While the Polynesians seem to have a common origin through the Austronesians, what about the Melanesians?

What makes many of these Oceanian islands and nations so interesting is that a large percentage of cultures and peoples found on these islands have been isolated for extremely long periods of time. When we look at Melanesia, a common theory is that present day Melanesians came from southern Asia. At one point in time after settlement, Melanesia (comprised of Islands) was geographically one landmass due to the Pleistocene Ice age, making it easier to travel from one part of contemporary Melanesia to another. After water levels rose and the land broke up, groups and communities living on a variety of Islands within Micronesia were isolated from one another. Because they were isolated for so long with different conditions on each island, their cultures and identities began to grow further and further apart. Geography tends to be a pretty decisive factor when it comes to determining what one’s culture or identity may look like. This is exactly why so many different cultures, ethnicities, appearances, languages, exist.