Geography of the Pacific

Geography of the Pacific

Geography of the Pacific

Geography of the Pacific

Excerpt

"THE MEDITERRANEAN IS THE OCEAN OF THE PAST, THE ATLANTIC, THE ocean of the present, and the Pacific, the ocean of the future." This statement, made in the closing years of the last century by John Hay, secretary of state for the United States, is on the threshold of realization.

The United States has had commercial interests in the Pacific since the foundation of the republic, and in the days of sail her clipper ships and whaling vessels coursed over the Pacific in great numbers. A half century ago Hawaii was annexed, and the Philippines were secured from Spain. Soon after this territorial expansion Japan rose to importance as a world power, and after the First World War she was given control of the Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall islands. The end of the Second World War, however, found the United States and her allies victorious in the Pacific, and America assumed the government, under trust from the United Nations, of the former Japanese- mandated territories. The independence promised the Philippines was granted on July 4, 1946. American responsibilities in the Pacific, together with more than three years of war in that region, have given students in American universities and colleges a keen interest in the Pacific area.

A wealth of information has been compiled about the Pacific, but much of it is not readily available. It is in response to this need for text and reference books on the Pacific islands that over a dozen contributors have joined to prepare the Geography of the Pacific. The Pacific is so vast that it would be a huge task for any one individual to become so familiar with the entire area that he could be considered an authority of the whole; hence a division of the work has seemed to be the logical answer. All the authors of these regional studies have done field work in their areas, and most of these specialists have lived in the regions about which they write for periods of time varying from several months to many years.

The Geography of the Pacific deals with the mightiest of all oceans . . .

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