The term was first used by Jules Dumont d'Urville in 1832 to denote an ethnic and geographical grouping of islands distinct from Polynesia and Micronesia.
Today, d'Urville's racial classification is regarded to be inaccurate because it ignores the broad cultural, linguistic, social and genetic diversity in the area. Some argue that there is no one 'Melanesian culture' or way of life, but Papua New Guinean philosopher Bernard Narokobi disagreed, emphasising a fundamental Melanesian cultural unity and way of life, in his work The Melanesian Way.
However, there is a widely used geopolitical conception of the term 'Melanesia'. For example, the Melanesian Spearhead Group Preferential Trade Agreement is a regional trade treaty governing the states of Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji. Melanesia is also current as a geographic term, used as a reference to the area when national, ethnic, and linguistic distinctions are not relevant.
Bays in Melanesia, France
Noumea is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian (Wallisians, Futunians, Tahitians), Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians Demographics of Vanuatu and Kanaks that work in one of the South Pacific's most industrialised cities. The city lies on a protected deepwater harbour which serves as the chief port for New Caledonia....