Posted in Hawaii & South Pacific

Exploring the three Pacific Island Chains


When I first moved to Hawaii I assumed that Hawaii, which is part of the Polynesian Island chain, was part of the Pacific Island chain. However, I’ve discovered that there is more than one Pacific Island chain. There are three island chains – Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.

Polynesian Islands include: Hawaii, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Easter Island, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Pitcarin Islands, Rotuma, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Wallis & Futuna.

Melanesian Islands include: Bismarck Arch, Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz, Vantuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Papua New Guinea.

Micronesian Islands include: Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Marshall Island, Kiribati, and Wake Island. The Caroline Islands are now known as the Federated States of Micronesia which is not to be confused with Commonwealth of Northern Mariana.

There are lots of legal policies, pacts, and treaties; however, the easiest way to remember it is as follows:  (a) all persons born in Guam (a territory of the United States) after August 1, 1950 are United States citizens; (b) all persons born in the Northern Mariana Islands (a commonwealth of the United States) after November 4, 1986 are United States citizens; and (c) all persons born in American Samoa, or Swains Island (outlying possessions of the United States) are United States nationals.

So, now you know that when you go to Fiji, you are going to the Melanesian Island chain; and when you go to Guam, you’re going to the Micronesian Islands, where, United States citizens are born.




Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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