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The arrival of European settlers in subsequent centuries resulted in a significant alteration in the social and political landscape of Oceania.

In more contemporary times there has been increasing discussion on national flags and a desire by some Oceanians to display their distinguishable and individualistic identity.

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On 29 April, Cook and crew made their first landfall on the mainland of the continent at a place now known as the Kurnell Peninsula.

It is here that James Cook made first contact with an aboriginal tribe known as the Gweagal.

There is evidence of genetic and linguistic interchange between Australians in the far north and the Austronesian peoples of modern-day New Guinea and the islands, but this may be the result of recent trade and intermarriage.

The original inhabitants of the group of islands now named Melanesia were likely the ancestors of the present-day Papuan-speaking people.

Around 1200, Tahitian explorers found and began settling the area.

This date range is based on glottochronological calculations and on three radiocarbon dates from charcoal that appears to have been produced during forest clearance activities.

Micronesian colonists gradually settled the Marshall Islands during the 2nd millennium BC, with inter-island navigation made possible using traditional stick charts.

From 1527 to 1595 a number of other large Spanish expeditions crossed the Pacific Ocean, leading to the discovery of the Marshall Islands and Palau in the North Pacific, as well as Tuvalu, the Marquesas, the Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands and the Admiralty Islands in the South Pacific.

It is thought that by roughly 1400 BC, They are believed to have been Polynesian.

Published literature suggests the island was settled around AD 300–400, or at about the time of the arrival of the earliest settlers in Hawaii.

In the late 20th century, some scholars theorized a long period of interaction, which resulted in many complex changes in genetics, languages, and culture among the peoples.