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Oceania > Melanesia-->
Melanesia is a somewhat arbitrary grouping of islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean to the north and northeast of Australia. The term – derived from the Greek for "black island" – was intended to be more racial/cultural than geographic, however; the peoples of these islands were originally believed to share a common anthropological origin. They are in fact of at least two distinct cultural groups: Austronesians and Papuans. The term has come to refer to the islands' common colonial history.
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