Christopher Columbus learns from Indians that an ocean extends beyond the Central American isthmus, but misinterprets the message.
Ferdinand Magellan (Fernando de Magallanes) arrives on the west route to the Moluccas through the strait named after him into the South Pacific. He gives the ocean the name “mar pacifico”.
Magellan lands on Guam and calls the entire archipelago “Islas de Ladrones” (Mariana Islands, Micronesia).
Cornelisz Schouten and Jaques Le Maire meet in the north of the Tonga Islands (Polynesia), they discover the horn group and New Ireland (both Melanesia).
Abel Janszoon Tasman discovers Tasmania, New Zealand, the center of the Tongan Islands on his southward journey from Batavia and touches the Fiji archipelago and New Britain (Melanesia).
Jakob Roggeven discovers the Easter Island and the Samoan Chip.
John Byron’s South Pacific Cruise. It passes through the Tuamotus, the Tokelau Islands (both Polynesia) and the Gilbert Islands to the Mariana Islands.
First South Seas expedition accompanied by scientists led by Jean Louis Antoine de Bougainville: exploration of Tahiti (after the discovery by Wallis, see below), recovery of the Samoan, New Hebrides and Solomon Islands, discovery of the Louisiades (Melanesia).
Samuel Wallis discovers Tahiti; Philip Carteret finds the Santa Cruz Islands and the Solomon Islands again and discovers the Carteret Road between New Ireland and New Britain.
James Cook’s First Pacific Cruise: Discovery of Tubuai (Austral) Group and Cook Strait, Recovery of Torres Strait.
James Cook’s second Pacific voyage: discovery of the Cook Islands, visits to Tonga and the Marquesas, discovery of New Caledonia.
British exploration in the Pacific, led by James Cook until 1779; Discovery of the Hawaiian Chip (Polynesia), death of James Cook on February 14, 1779 on Hawaii.
The British capital William Bligh, who was expelled by mutineers with few loyalists in an open boat, sails from Tonga to Timor. He crosses the barely known Fiji group, discovers their main island Viti Levu and hits the Banks Islands. The American whaling captain finds Nauru (Micronesia) in the same year.
Charles Darwin travels with the “Beagle” Oceanic expedition led by Robert Fitzroy. He explains significant natural phenomena in the Tuamotus, Tahiti and New Zealand and explains his theory about the construction and distribution of coral reefs.
Tahiti is declared a French protectorate.
Tahiti becomes a French colony.
The Fiji islands become part of the British colonial empire. First Godeffroy branches in the Bismarck archipelago (Melanesia).
German “Gazelle” expedition under Freiherr von Schleinitz: Research in the Bismarck archipelago, in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Samoa group.
The northern Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands are assigned to the German territory, the southern Solomon Islands to the British sphere of influence.
Nauru becomes part of German New Guinea, Chile annexes Easter Island, Britain declares the Cook Group (New Zealand territory from 1901) and Fanning, Manihiki and Christmas Island protectorates.
Hawaii becomes an American protectorate area after the last Hawaiian queen Liliuokalani was overthrown in 1893.
In the wake of the American-Spanish War Guam falls to the United States. The German Reich acquires the remaining Marianas, the Carolines and Palau Islands of Spain and finally seizes the Marshall Group as well as the Samoan Islands Upolu and Savaii. Eastern Samoa (Tutuila and Manua) enters the British colonial empire in the American, Tonga and Niue in the west of the Cook group. In addition, as compensation for his abandonment of Samoa, Britain receives Choiseul and Ysabel (Northern Solomon Islands), while Buka and Bougainville remain German colonies.
Hawaii becomes American territory.
Germany loses its colonies during the First World War.
The formerly German colonies are assigned by the League of Nations as Mandatory territories: the Marianas (except Guam), Karolinen, Palau and Marshall Islands to Japan, Nauru to Britain, Australia and New Zealand, Buka and Bougainville to Australia, West Samoa to New Zealand and Northeast New Guinea with the Bismarck archipelago at Australia.
Japanese troops conquer Guam, Wake, Nauru, numerous other islands of Micronesia, part of New Guinea and several Solomon Islands.
American forces, along with their allies and local helpers, are smashing Japan’s oceanic colonial empire.
Hawaii becomes a state of the USA.
Western Samoa gains independence as the first Pacific state.
Tonga and Fiji become independent.
The new Hebrides form the independent state of Vanuatu. An Nacional Secession attempt on Espiritu Santo is being crushed with the help of Papua New Guinea and Australia.
Belau (Palau) declares his detachment from the rest of the Karolinen and seeks an association agreement with the United States, which is adopted by the US in 1986 but fails several times in Belau on the two-thirds majority.
In Fiji, two military coups successively take place, as a result, Fiji leaves the British Commonwealth. Fiji becomes a republic.
A new constitution is to help restore democracy to Fiji.
Belau (Palau), the youngest nation, becomes 185th UNO member.
France decides after heavy protests the final cessation of all nuclear testing in the South Pacific.