PACIFIC OCEAN extends between Asia and America, and is upwards of 10,000 miles in breadth, studded with islands. When Magellan entered this ocean, through the strait that bears his name, he sailed three months and twenty days in a uniform direction to the north-west without discovering land, enjoying such uninterrupted fine weather, with fair winds, that he gave it the name of Pacific. On one side of the equator it is called the North Pacific Ocean, and on the other the South Pacific Ocean.
The eastern part of the Pacific has the Easter and Gomez Islands, and moving farther west are the Low or Paumotu Archipelago, Society Archi pelago, Mendana or Marquesas group, Cook or Harvey and Austral Islands, Gilbert Archipelago, numerous islands between the Low and Gilbert Archipelagos, Sandwich Archipelago, and several islands to its south, Samoa or Navigator group, Friendly Archipelago, Fiji group, Ellice group, Marshall group, New Hebrides, Santa Cruz group, New Caledonia, Australia, Louisiade, Salomon Archipelago, New Ireland, New Britain, New Guinea, Admiralty group, Caroline Archi pelago, Pelew Islands, Mariana Archipelago or Lad rones, Bonin or Arzobispo group, Java, Macassar, Borneo, Sumatra, and many other islands of the Eastern Archipelago acknowledging the supre macy of the Netherlands.
The islands of the East Pacific extend from New Guinea and the Philippines to within 2500 miles of the western coast of America, and from about the of north to the of south latitude, — thus over 200 degrees of longitude and 70 of latitude; or over a fifth part of the earth's surface. On the west are the innumer able islands of the Indian Archipelago, extending from Sumatra to New Guinea, and the great group of the Philippines. They are inhabited by distinct races of men, as the Malayan, the brown Polynesian, the insular Negro of several varieties, and the African of Madagascar. Of these, the state of civilisation is so various that some aro abject savages, while others have made a respect able progress in the useful arts, and have even attained some knowledge of letters.
The brown race of the Pacific occupy all the islands from the Sandwich group in the northern hemisphere to New Zealand in the southern, and from the Tonga group in the west to Easter Island in the east. The black race occupy the
islands extending from the Fiji to New Guinea, both inclusive. Certain physical features dis tinguish each race. Those with brown com plexions have generally lank hair and scanty beards, and speak essentially the same tongue, although divided into many dialects ; while the black race, numbering several varieties of men, and speaking several distinct languages, have frizzly but not woolly hair, and abundant beards. French naturalists call the islands which the black race occupy Melanesia, or the islands of black men ; while Polynesia is applied to the islands peopled by the brown race. Intermixture has occurred between the black and brown races at their points of junction ; 300 miles across the trade wind, from the Fiji Islands to the Tonga Islands, being a voyage of no difficulty to a mari time people. The Polynesians, or brown-skinned race, have been again subdivided into Micro nesians and Polynesians proper. The former occupy the Pelew, Caroline, Marianne, and Tarawa Islands, and the latter the Sandwich, Navigator's, Marquesas, Tonga, Society Islands, the Dangerous Archipelago, Easter Island, and New Zealand. The Micronesians are distinguished from the Polynesians proper by their low stature, their language, Mongolian conformation, and absence of the system of Tapu or Tabu. Ethnologists have entertained the opinion that the Polynesians proper are sprung from the Malay family of the human race ; and Mr. Hale, the best authority on the migrations of the Polynesians, is of opinion that the Samoa or Navigator's Islands were first occupied, and that from them all the other Poly nesian islands were peopled. For ages Malay fleets have habitually resorted to the northern coasts of Australia to fish. Although ignorant of the compass, the Polynesians had names for the cardinal points, and steer by the stars, and it was this grand principle of selecting a course which brought the Malay fleet to Navigator's Islands.