Oceania is the smallest of the continents, and has the overwhelming majority of its mass concentrated in the island-continent of Australia, united homogeneously as a single state inherited from the former British colony. Inhabited since ancient times by peoples of Polynesian and Asian descent, Oceania was the object of French, British, German, Japanese and American colonialism. France, the United Kingdom and the USA still maintain scattered possessions, while the main countries of Oceania are the aforementioned Australia, which also controls the important island of Tasmania, as well as New Zealand, which also has a strong British cultural tradition. The rest of Oceania extends over a vast surface of the Pacific Ocean, in which numerous archipelagos of islands and atolls are scattered which are divided into a vast number of small states.