Anthropologists piecing together the history of the Pacific introduced the terms Near Oceania and Remote Oceania. Near Oceania includes Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Bismarck Archipelago. These islands are generally bigger and closer together than those of Remote Oceania, which lies to the south-east. People settled Near Oceania, probably voyaging on crude rafts, from 50,000 to 25,000 BC. Austronesians left Taiwan around 2000 BC and gradually spread through Island South-East Asia. Around 1500 BC Austronesian seafarers entered Near Oceania and intermingled with diverse groups already living there. A distinct cultural group, the Lapita people, evolved.
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