Front Page Titles (by Subject) OCEANICA - Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, vol. 3 Oath - Zollverein
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OCEANICA - John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, vol. 3 Oath - Zollverein 
Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein
Part of: Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, 3 vols.
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OCEANICA. Under this head, although contrary to the custom of geographers, we propose to treat of both Oceanica and Australia.
—I. OCEANICA. By the name Oceanica are designated all the islands scattered in the Pacific ocean, from the coasts of Asia and the, Indian ocean to the coasts of America. The most northerly of the islands belonging to Oceanica is the rock of Crespa, latitude 32° 46' north; the most southerly are the islands of Bishop and his Clerk, latitude 55° 15' south; the most westerly point is the island of Boh, longitude 129° 12' east; while the rock of Salary Gomez, longitude 254° 40' east of Greenwich, forms the eastern boundary. The islands are divided into high and low. The former are, in almost every case, of volcanic origin and mountainous; they are the largest and most important in all the groups, and have a fertile soil; the low islands, on the contrary, are mostly but ring-like rocks of coral rag, encircling a body of water. The waves of the ocean often carry seeds from great distances to these barren coral reefs and deposit them there. These seeds develop into graminous plants or trees; aquatic birds visit the yet destitute strip of land, and shortly afterward there appear insects and amphibia, carried thither by the waves on living trees.
—The area of Oceanica, by far the greater part of which is situated between the tropics, may, according to an approximate estimate, the only one possible, be 1,156,000 square kilometres. All the islands and groups of islands of Oceanica may be divided into three great principal divisions, based upon differences in the physical conformation, and in the institutions and manners as well as in the languages of the natives. Melanesia (or West Polynesia) comprises the islands, extending from west to cast, thence southeast, which encircle the Australian continent like a wreath. To these islands belong the extensive island of New Guinea with the neighboring groups, the Luisiad archipelago, the archipelago of New Britain and the Admiralty islands, the Salomon islands, the Queen Charlotte islands, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia and the Loyalty islands. The islands of Melanesia are inhabited by the Papuas, a dark skinned people, who are also called Negritos or Australian negroes, on account of there being some similarity between them and the natives of Africa. To Polynesia belong the following islands and groups of islands: New Zealand, the Fiji islands, Tonga, Samoa, the Hervey islands, the Society group of islands, the Australian islands, the Tuamotu, the Marquesas, and the Sandwich or Hawaiian islands. In New Zealand the European population prevails at present. The Fiji islands are accounted as belonging to Polynesia, because the inhabitants of these islands, although. Melanesians as far as their language and physical conformation are concerned, possess the same degree of civilization as the Polynesians. The islands of Polynesia are inhabited by a light brown, well formed race of men, accessible to civilization, good seamen, and somewhat resembling the Malays. By the term Micronesia is designated the group of islands situated in the north-western part of the Pacific ocean, and extending north and west near the coasts of Japan and the Philippine islands; this group of islands is inhabited by that part of the Polynesian race which differs from the Polynesians proper in peculiarities of character, mode of living, and chiefly by the difference in languages. These (mostly low) islands are divided into three groups: the Ladrones, the Bonin islands north of them, and the Caroline islands, the Marshall and the Gilbert islands.
—Throughout nearly the whole of Melanesia oppressive heat prevails, which, combined with the humidity of the densely wooded islands, is as prostrating as it is injurious to health; the climate of the other islands is warm, but not disagreeable, because of the sea breezes, and is as agreeable as it is healthy. While on the low islands vegetation can not be called rich and luxuriant, on the high islands it is of a tropical abundance. The mountains are for the most part wooded to the top; the trees are high, and serviceable for building. Among the food plants the following are to be found on all the larger islands: the cocoanut tree, the banana tree, different kinds of taro or arum, the bread-fruit tree, the pandang, yam-root, and the sweet potato; besides these, there are the sugar cane, the pineapple, the coffee tree, the lemon and orange trees: in short, nearly all the useful plants of warmer climates. While New Guinea vies with the Moluceas in the abundance and peculiar character of its plants and the magnificence and grandeur of its forests, its vegetation, without losing its luxuriance, shows a decline in so far as the number of varieties is concerned; thus, Tahiti seems to have but 500 different plants, Tuamotu only about fifty, Waihu (Easter island) some twenty only. It is equally striking that not only the vegetation on all of these islands is of a character similar, for the most part, to that of the vegetation of India, but also that it retains this character even in the most easterly islands, which, although nearest to America, possess none of the American types of plants. The same law applies, on the whole, to the distribution of animals; however, there is a general lack of land mammalia on these islands in so far as that lack has not been done away with in more recent times, by the importation of domestic animals. It is true, there are larger quadrupeds in New Guinea, but only kangaroos and nocturnal animals. Besides these, the Europeans, who first visited these islands, found of land mammalia only the hog, the dog and the rat, and even these not on all the islands. Birds are more numerous. Fowl, pigeons, parrots, different kinds of singing birds, snipes, herons, wild ducks and numerous sea fowl were found on almost all these islands. Besides these, there are the bird of paradise in New Guinea and the cassowary, distributed as far as New Britain. Sea animals, fish and turtles are exceedingly numerous in the waters surrounding these islands; the dugong (Halicore cetacca) is found between the tropics. Whales are still caught in the southern and northern parts of the ocean, and the widely distributed sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) has given rise to active fisheries. Shells and corals present a greater variety of brilliant colors and forms than almost anywhere else in the world. Snakes, mostly of a harmless character, are found only on the western islands, probably not farther than on the Tonga group; there is, however, one harmless species of snake which is said to be found on the Marquesas; the crocodile is not found except in the extremest western part of this territory. Sharks are frequent everywhere, and there are also poisonous fish. But few species of insects are found; most frequently they are met with in the western islands.
—Comparative philology has shown that the native population of Oceanica came from Indo-China and from the Indian archipelago. On all the larger islands of the Indian archipelago there is a dark colored race of men, called Papuas, and another of lighter color, the Malay race, which originally inhabited the southeastern parts of Asia, and which in the distant past removed their habitations to the Indian archipelago; these two races are also to be found in Oceanica. The dark colored Papuas are the natives of Melanesia, while the lighter brown Malayo-Japanese element prevails in Polynesia; the now nearly extinct Micronesians are more similar to the Tagalian element.
—As a rule the inhabitants of the high islands are stronger, taller, handsomer, of lighter color, and better developed; on the low and more barren islands they are shorter, less strong, uglier, and of a darker color. The color of the skin of the Polynesians varies from light to dark brown, with a hue of yellow or olive-green: their hair is mostly of thick growth, black and smooth; their eyes are black; their mouths are well formed; their foreheads well developed; the nose is either short and straight, or long and of aquiline shape; the form of the face is oval. The Micronesians are of lighter color, their figure is more graceful and agile, their expression brighter, their noses more prominent and bent, and not so flat. The difference in their languages is still more pronounced. While the language of the Melanesians is distinguished by more numerous and harsher consonants, and is clearly distinct from the Malay and Polynesian languages, the phonetic system of the Polynesian languages evinces great poverty, a certain weakness and want of force; the Micronesian languages, however, as far as their form is concerned, are the most closely connected with the simpler Malay family of languages, having also an intimate relationship with the Polynesian languages. While the several languages of the Polynesian family are almost only dialectically distinguished from each other, there are great differences in the languages spoken on the Micronesian groups. As far as mental capacity is concerned, the Melanesians are inferior to the Polynesians; love of war and warlikeness, distrust and suspicion, are the principal features of their character; cannibalism, too, is practiced by most of the Melanesian tribes. The Polynesians, on the contrary, although as a rule they also practice cannibalism in as far as they have not been converted to Christianity, occupy a higher intellectual position than others living in a state of nature; they are eminently skillful in copying, or at least in assuming, the outward appearance of European manners. The Micronesians also are well endowed intellectually, very receptive, and possess a certain physical cleverness; they are hospitable, friendly, good natured, peaceful and honest, but sometimes very revengeful and blood-thirsty.
—The religious ideas of the Melanesians are vague and confused. Thus, on some of the islands they believe in a power which has created and governs all things. Others worship the sun, while the Tanncese and the New Caledonians seem to have no religion whatever. Besides this, every individual has his own guardian spirit. The Polynesians believe in a number of high gods, by whom the universe has been created, and who, although with some diversity, are worshiped throughout all Oceanica. Besides these high gods the Polynesians worship an immense host of inferior deities, of elementary genii, fairies and giants. There is, besides, a third class of deities, consisting of apotheoses of human beings. The Tabu, too, forms part of the religious ideas of the Polynesians. In Micronesia religion is based on the belief in an invisible supreme being, and, in addition thereto, sometimes on the belief in invisible intermediary beings.
—In regard to social relations Melanesia is also very backward. The population of each island is divided into many tribes, which, as a rule, are enemies of one another. The tribes have each a chief, for the most part, however, without authority; and they are classed by villages into numerous small subdivisions, with a common ruler on important occasions. In Polynesia, however, there are two estates to be distinguished: the nobles, who are related to the gods, and the common people, who are of this earth only and without soul. Between these two estates, that of the landed proprietors, in many instances, has assumed the intermediate position of a third estate; thus in some places, for instance in Tahiti, the high nobility merely consists of the king, the king's family, and their nearest relatives. They also have generally a kind of feudal system, in which one king or superior chief rules over several subordinate chiefs, who derive their landed property from him, and who in turn owe him service in case of war. A similar feudal system is in existence in Micronesia, but there the estates are divided into the nobility, the semi-nobility and the common people. Even as far as industry and skill are concerned, the Melanesians rank below the Polynesians. They pursue fishing and to a limited extent agriculture. Some of the groups of islands have no connection whatever with Europe. Only in the New Hebrides and the Loyalty islands did the sandalwood commodity give rise to an active traffic, since European vessels transported the wood from these islands to Asia. For centuries, however, an active trade has been carried on between the inhabitants of the western and north-western coasts of New Guinea and those of the Moluccas. New Caledonia, it is true, has been brought into connection with Europe in consequence of its occupation by the French; but that intercourse is inconsiderable. In Polynesia agriculture is highly developed. In building houses and boats, as well as in manufacturing bast-cloth (which is frequently very beautiful), weapons and tools, the Polynesians display great skill. The trade in sandalwood, pearls, cocoa oil, and the catching of trepangs and whales, ever since the end of the eighteenth century, attracted many European ships to these waters and gave rise to an active intercourse with the inhabitants of these islands.
—In Micronesia, too, agriculture thrives, as far as the condition of the soil is favorable. With their skillfully constructed boats the natives make extensive voyages for trading purposes; they export the products which they manufacture in large quantities, as, for instance, boats, pandang mats, ropes and twine of cocoanut fibre, weapons of cocoawood, implements made of the wood of the bread-fruit tree, cloth, baskets, sails, and, above all, hammocks, which are very much in demand. Ever since the white element established itself on the islands a marked decrease of the native population has been noticeable. On the Hawaiian group and in Melanesia the population has decreased to about one-fifth since the days of Cook. In Micronesia, too, the contact with white men, chiefly in consequence of destructive diseases, such as small-pox and syphilis, having been brought into the country, has had the same effect.
—II. AUSTRALIA. In former times and in a wider sense, under the name of Australia was comprised the extensive group of islands in the Pacific ocean scattered between the coasts of Asia and the Indian ocean, and the coast of America. In a narrower sense the name Australia is used today to designate the insular continent, the Australian continent (formerly called New Holland), while the other islands and groups of islands belonging thereto are known by the collective name Oceanica. The Australian continent, in the south-eastern part of the Indian archipelago, is situated entirely on the eastern hemisphere.
—The population of Australia consists of natives and of Europeans recently settled there. The farther the Europeans penetrate from the coasts into the interior and cultivate its soil, the more are the natives confined to the deserts and the nearer they approach extinction. In the settled portions of Australia they gradually disappear before European civilization, as do also in part the native flora and fauna. At the time of the first arrival of Europeans, there may have been about 50,000 Australians wandering about in the now colonized portions of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. In the year 1851 the number of natives was estimated at 1,750 in New South Wales, at 2,500 in Victoria and at 3,780 in South Australia; in 1872 there were still 3,369 natives in South Australia; in Victoria, there were but 1,330 native Australian aborigines left, while the number of aborigines in New South Wales had dwindled down to 984. The total number of natives for the whole continent can not be given with certainty. The latest estimates showed that their number does not amount to more than 60,000. The native population of Tasmania is now entirely extinct. Including Tasmania and New Zealand, which are officially considered part of the Australian colonies, there are at present seven Australian colonies, irrespective of the Northern territory under the administration of South Australia and peopled by but few white men. The area and population of each of the colonies is shown in the following table:
To this there are to be added:
Thus Australia had, in 1873, an area of 2,945,227 English square miles, and 1,721,696 inhabitants, exclusive of the natives (only 0.57 inhabitants to the square mile). The larger cities are, in Victoria: Melbourne, with 193,698 inhabitants; Ballarat, with with 24,260; Sandhurst, with 27,642; Geelong, with 22,618; in New South Wales: Sydney, with 134,756 inhabitants; in South Australia: Adelaide, with 27,208 inhabitants; and in Queensland: Brisbane, with a population of 19,413. How rapidly the population of these colonies increased by immigration is apparent from the fact, that in 1821 the population of New South Wales was only 29,783; that of Victoria, in 1836, only 224; that of South Australia, in 1838, only 6,000; that of Queensland, in 1848, only 2,257; and that of West Australia, only 11,743.
—The principal occupation of the colonists is the raising of cattle and the cultivation of the soil. The chief branch of stock raising at present is the raising of sheep, which, within a short time, will secure to England the entire foreign demand for wool. In the interior of the colonies the lands are divided into farms; in the frontier districts, however, the colonists live on so-called stations, which are isolated encampments of shepherds. Besides this, the produce of gold, copper and hard coal is of great importance; the fisheries, especially whaling, are worthy of mention. Australia exports chiefly gold, wool, tallow and copper, and imports English manufactures of every description, although, especially lately, the industry of the colonies has largely developed.
—Each colony has its own governor, assisted by an executive ministry and a legislative body. One-third of the representatives in the parliaments are chosen by the government, and two-thirds are elected by the inhabitants; parliament has a right to enact laws, in so far as they are not at variance with the laws of England, and it is authorized to dispose of the receipts of the colony, in so far as they are not derived from crown lands. All bills passed by parliament must be ratified by the governor on behalf of the English government. All lands belong to the government by law, and are sold to the highest bidder at public auction. Besides this, unsold crown lands are leased for an insignificant consideration for the raising of cattle. The English government has of late kept no troops in the colonies; the latter, therefore, organized volunteer corps, of a total strength of something over 10,000 men. For the protection of the coasts a fleet of iron-clads is being built at the expense of the colonies. At present the fleet is represented by the steam advice boat "Victoria" and the monitor "Cerberus." The wooden steam frigate "Nelson," in the harbor of Melbourne, is used as a training ship for young seamen for the merchant and naval marine.
—The discovery of gold in 1851 gave a most powerful impulse to the immense growth of the Australian colonies. Victoria's production of gold reached 11,900,000 pounds sterling in 1856; in 1866, it is true, it decreased to 5,900,000 pounds, but in 1868 it rose again to 6,600,000 pounds. From 1866 to 1873, inclusive, the production of gold in the colony of Victoria alone amounted to 11,024,231 ozs. (@ £4, an aggregate of £44,096,924). Besides gold, wool is a staple product of Australia. In 1810 the first consignment of wool, of about half a bale (140 lbs.) arrived in Europe; in the year 1820, 100,000 lbs. were sent to Europe; in 1867, 113,000,000 lbs.; in 1868, 135,000,000 lbs. (of this quantity 68,000,000 pounds came from Victoria, 30,000,000 from Queensland, and 29,000,000 from New Zealand). In the year 1871 the four Australian colonies (excluding West Australia) exported wool to the amount of £11,974,000.
—Cattle breeding is also very important. The Australian colonies have at least 6,000,000 head of cattle; and since 1867 considerable quantities of preserved meats are exported to England and Bremen. About 1,025,000 kilogrammes, for instance, were exported in August, 1872. Lastly, South Australia exports considerable quantities of wheat and copper. In 1872 the last named colony exported about 25,000,000 kilogrammes of copper ore.
—At the end of 1873 the length of railroads in the Australian colonies was 2,042 kilometres. Of these, New South Wales had 652 kilometres, Victoria 708, Queensland 351, South Australia 305, and West Australia 26 kilometres. Since Oct. 21, 1872, Australia is connected with Europe by cable. The colony of South Australia established a line of telegraph from Port Augusta, on the gulf of Spencer, through the heart of the continent to Port Darwin, on the coast of northern Australia, while the English government laid a cable from Java to Port Darwin. The distance between Adelaide and Falmouth is 20,000 kilometres; of this distance the submarine cables represent a length of 14,700 kilometres. A dispatch of ten words from Adelaide to London now costs 189 marks, and it takes, in the average, fourteen hours for a dispatch to make its way from Adelaide to London. The principal towns in the colonies are connected with each other by telegraph. The colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland alone had over 24,000 kilometres of telegraph lines at the end of 1872. Since January, 1874, Australia has three different postal connections with Europe: the older line, via Point de Galle and Suez, in the hands of the colonies of Victoria, South Australia, West Australia and Tasmania: the second, via San Francisco and New York, in the hands of the colonies of New South Wales and New Zealand; the third, via Torres Strait, Singapore and Suez, in the hands of the colony of Queensland.
—At the end of 1872 the receipts and expenditures of the several colonies were as follows:
The loans were made principally for the purpose of building railroads, harbors, etc.
—The following summary tables show the area of the various colonies, and their population from 1876 to 1881 inclusive:
[13.]GOVERNMENT OF THE COLONIES.—New South Wales. The constitution of New South Wales, the oldest of the Australasian colonies, is embodied in the act 18 and 19 Vict., cap. 54, proclaimed in 1855, which established a "responsible government." The constitution vests the legislative power in a parliament of two houses, the first called the legislative council, and the second the legislative assembly. The legislative council consists of not less than twenty-one members, nominated by the crown, and the assembly of 108 members, elected by seventy-two constituencies. To be eligible, a man must be of age, a natural-born subject of the queen, or, if an alien, he must have been naturalized for five years, and resident for two years before election. There is no property qualification for electors, and the votes are taken by secret ballot. The executive power is in the bands of a governor nominated by the crown. The governor, by the terms of his commission, is commander-in-chief of all troops in the colony. In the exercise of his authority he is assisted by a cabinet of eight ministers. The cabinet is responsible for its acts to the legislative assembly.