Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians, sharing many similar traits including language, family, culture and beliefs. Historically, they had a strong tradition of sailing and using stars to navigate at night.
Polynesia is characterized by a small amount of land spread over a very large portion of the mid and southern Pacific Ocean. Most Polynesian islands and archipelagos, including Samoa, are composed of volcanic islands built by hotspots.
Polynesia divides into two distinct cultural groups, East Polynesia and West Polynesia. The majority of independent Polynesian islands derive much of their income from foreign aid and remittances from those who live in other countries. Some encourage their young people to go where they can earn good money to remit to their stay-at-home relatives. Many Polynesian locations, such as Easter Island, supplement this with tourism income.