Thousands and thousands of islands dot the Pacific Ocean north and east of Australia. The Pacific Island region is often divided into three groups.
Melanesia includes the large island of New Guinea. Micronesia includes Guam, a U.S. territory. Polynesia stretches from Hawaii to New Zealand. People from southeastern Asia began settling on these islands more than 30,000 years ago. Over time, the people of the different islands developed different cultures. They also developed different governing systems. And different ways of life.