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.
On his first voyage in the 18th century, James Cook, who later arrived at the highly developed Hawaiian Islands, went to Tahiti and followed the east coast of Australia for the first time.
The Pacific front saw major action during the Second World War, mainly between Allied powers the United States and Australia, and Axis power Japan.
The ancient Chamorro left a number of megalithic ruins, including Latte stone.
The original inhabitants of the group of islands now named Melanesia were likely the ancestors of the present-day Papuan-speaking people.
The ancestors of the Micronesians settled there over 4,000 years ago.
A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious culture centered on Yap and Pohnpei.
Migrating from South-East Asia, they appear to have occupied these islands as far east as the main islands in the Solomon Islands, including Makira and possibly the smaller islands farther to the east.
Particularly along the north coast of New Guinea and in the islands north and east of New Guinea, the Austronesian people, who had migrated into the area somewhat more than 3,000 years ago, came into contact with these pre-existing populations of Papuan-speaking peoples.