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Ancient Oceania

A map showing the pattern of settlement across Polynesia, represented by a triangle, by migrants from Southeast Asia Oceania consists of the islands of Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea, and the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian island groups of the South Pacific. The first of these islands to be settled were Australia and New Guinea. Aboriginal Australians migrated to Australia from Southeast Asia between 60,000 and 50,000 years ago. Some also settled on New Guinea, which was then connected to Australia by land. The settlement of the other South Pacific islands did not begin until about 5000 years ago. New Zealand remained uninhabited until about 750 years ago.

These Aboriginal rock paintings, in a style known in some Aboriginal languages as Gwion Gwion, were painted in the Kimberley...Read More >>These Aboriginal rock paintings, in a style known in some Aboriginal languages as Gwion Gwion, were painted in the Kimberley region of Western Australia around 26,500–20,000 years ago. The earliest Aboriginal rock paintings date back to 40,000 years ago.

Aboriginal Australians

The earliest inhabitants of Australia probably reached the continent between about 60,000 and 50,000 years ago. European settlers in the 18th century called the native peoples "Aborigines", meaning “people from the earliest times”. When the colonizers arrived, the Aboriginals lived by hunting and gathering their own food. They had no knowledge of metals so they used long wooden spears, tipped with stone or bone. They always knew where to find water, even in the driest desert. They knew which plants were safe to eat and which could be used to make medicine. But as the Aboriginals were a nomadic people, with few possessions, it was easy for the Europeans to claim ownership of their land.
Aboriginal Australians demonstrating traditional weapons, such as the spearthrower

Apart from African peoples, the Australian Aboriginal peoples have occupied the same territory continuously longer than any other human populations.

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