Polynesia is generally defined as the islands within the Polynesian triangle. The term "Polynesia", meaning many islands, was first used by Charles de Brosses in 1756, and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific. Jules Dumont d'Urville in an 1831 lecture to the Geographical Society of Paris proposed a restriction on its use.
Geographically, and oversimply, Polynesia may be described as a triangle with its corners at Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island. The other main island groups located within the Polynesian triangle are Samoa, Tonga, the various island chains that form the Cook Islands and French Polynesia. Niue is a rare solitary island state near the centre of Polynesia.
Polynesian island groups outside of this great triangle include Tuvalu and the French territory of Wallis and Futuna. Rotuma in the northern Fijian islands and some of the Lau group to Fiji's southeast have strong Polynesian character too. There are also small outlier Polynesian enclaves in Papua New Guinea, the Solomons, The Caroline Islands, and in Vanuatu. However, in essence, it is an anthropological term referring to one of the three parts of Oceania (the others being Micronesia and Melanesia) whose pre-colonial population generally belongs to one ethno-cultural family as a result of centuries of maritime migrations.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
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