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Decolonisation of Oceania

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Title: Decolonisation of Oceania  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Colonization, Decolonisation, History of Oceania, Colonisation of Oceania, Exploration in Europe
Collection: Decolonisation, European Colonisation in Oceania, History of Oceania
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Decolonisation of Oceania

The decolonization of Oceania followed World War II. It includes the process of gradual evolution from British rule through self-government to full independence of Australia and New Zealand and the more straightforward decolonisation of the other countries in Oceania.


Country Colonial name Colonial power[1] Independence date[2] First head of state[3] War for independence
Indonesia [4] Netherlands East Indies Netherlands 17 August 1950[5] Sukarno Indonesian National Revolution
Samoa UN Trust Territory Germany;
New Zealand
1 January 1962 Malietoa Tanumafili II and Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole[6] -[7]
Nauru UN Trust Territory Germany;
31 January 1968 Hammer DeRoburt -
Tonga Tonga Britain 4 June 1970 Taufaʻahau Tupou IV -
Fiji Fiji Britain 10 October 1970 Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara -
Papua New Guinea Papua and New Guinea Germany/ Britain;[9] Australia 16 September 1975 Michael Somare -
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands Britain 7 July 1978 Peter Kenilorea -
Tuvalu Ellice Islands Britain 1 October 1978 Toaripi Lauti -
Kiribati Gilbert Islands Britain 12 July 1979 Ieremia Tabai -
Vanuatu New Hebrides Britain/ France[10] 30 July 1980 George Kalkoa -[11]
Australia Australia Britain 1901/1942/1986 n/a -
Marshall Islands UN Trust Territory Spain;
21 October 1986 Amata Kabua -
Micronesia UN Trust Territory Spain;
3 November 1986 Tosiwo Nakayama -
New Zealand New Zealand Britain 1853/1907/1947/1986[12] Henry Sewell -
Cook Islands Cook Islands New Zealand 1965/1992/current[13] n/a -
Palau UN Trust Territory Spain;
1 October 1994 Kuniwo Nakamura -
Niue Niue New Zealand 1974/1994/current[14] n/a -

See also


  1. ^ Some territories changed hands multiple times, so in the list is mentioned the last colonial power. In addition to it the mandatory or trustee powers are mentioned for territories that were League of Nations mandates and UN Trust Territories.
  2. ^ Date of decolonization for territories annexed by or integrated into previously decolonized independent countries are given in separate notes.
  3. ^ First head of state after independence. For current and former Commonwealth realms instead of first head of state is listed the first head of government.
  4. ^ Transcontinental country, partially located in Asia.
  5. ^ Netherlands New Guinea was separated from the Dutch East Indies on 29 December 1949. Following skirmishes with Indonesia in 1961 and the New York Agreement, the Netherlands transferred authority of Dutch New Guinea to a UN protectorate on 1 October 1962 and it was integrated into Indonesia on 1 May 1963.
  6. ^ Joint position known as O Ao o le Malo, whose individuals are severally referred to as O le Ao o le Malo.
  7. ^ The Mau was a non-violent movement for Samoan independence from colonial rule during the early 1900s.
  8. ^ As a League of Nations mandate and later UN Trust Territory Nauru was under effective Australian administration with the United Kingdom and New Zealand as nominal co-trustees.
  9. ^ The main part of German New Guinea after the World War I became a League of Nations mandate and later a UN Trust Territory as the Territory of New Guinea under Australian administration. The Territory of Papua was a British colony transferred to the British Dominion of Australian administration in 1902.
  10. ^ Vanuatu was a joint British-French Condominium
  11. ^ The Coconut War was a brief clash between rebels opposing independence and prime minister-elect sanctioned Papua New Guinea forces.
  12. ^ New Zealand has no fixed date of independence. See Independence of New Zealand.
  13. ^ Since 4 August 1965 the Cook Islands are a state in free association with New Zealand. The UN recognized them as state under international law in 1992. The Cook Islands are fully independent in their foreign relations and defence, but retain a residual constitutional link with New Zealand in relation to citizenship.
  14. ^ Since 19 October 1974 Niue is a state in free association with New Zealand. The UN recognized it as state under international law in 1994. Niue is fully independent in its foreign relations and defence, but retain a residual constitutional link with New Zealand in relation to citizenship.
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