Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Ocean is the largest of all the world’s oceans, covering around one-third of the total surface area of the planet, which makes it larger than all of Earth’s land area combined. The ocean borders multiple continents and numerous countries, and has a long history stretching back millennia which encompasses both travel and fishing, as well as permanent migration of tribes.

It is believed that the peoples of Asia and Oceania travelled the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times, but it wasn’t until the early 16th century that the eastern Pacific was sighted by Europeans, when Casco Nunez de Balboa, the Spanish explorer, crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513.

One of the earliest known migrations across the Pacific happened around 3000 BC when the Austronesian people on the island of Taiwan managed to master the ability to travel over great distances by canoe. The peoples spread both themselves and their language to the south, to the Philippines, Indonesia, and the coastal regions of Southeast Asia. They also travelled westwards towards Madagascar. The long-distance travel helped to develop trade along the coast from Mozambique to Japan, where one of the unintentional trades was knowledge.

European exploration of the Pacific continued in the 16th century, mostly by Spanish and Portuguese explorers, with Portuguese explorers managing to reach Japan around the year 1542.

This exploration led to large amounts of Spanish influence in Asia, something that persists through to today.

Fish are a valuable economic asset of the Pacific, with multiple countries relying on the trade of fish to bolster their economies. The shallower waters tend to yield herring, salmon, sardines, snapper, swordfish, tuna, and shellfish, all of which have helped influence the national diets of many countries with access to the Pacific. Fishing in the Pacific continues through to today, although due to the nature of the ocean, it is mostly limited to commercial fishing.

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