antique map of Oceania, here ‘Oceanica’, plate No.49 from the Tenth Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Published Edinburgh and London by ‘The Times’, Printing House Square, London. 1903.
Oceania is a geographic region which includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, Oceania covers an area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi) and has a population of 40 million. Situated in the southeast of the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania, when compared to continental regions, is the smallest in land area and the second smallest in population after Antarctica.
The Encyclopædia Britannica (Latin for “British Encyclopaedia”), formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia. It was written by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 contributors. The 2010 version of the 15th edition, which spans 32 volumes and 32,640 pages, was the last printed edition. The Britannica is the English-language encyclopaedia that was in print for the longest time: it lasted 244 years. It was first published between 1768 and 1771 in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, as three volumes. (This first edition is available in facsimile.) The encyclopaedia grew in size: the second edition was 10 volumes, and by its fourth edition (1801–1810) it had expanded to 20 volumes. Its rising stature as a scholarly work helped recruit eminent contributors, and the 9th (1875–1889) and 11th editions (1911) are landmark encyclopaedias for scholarship and literary style.