The strait links the Coral Sea to the east with the Arafura Sea in the west. Although it is an important international sea lane, it is very shallow, and the maze of reefs and islands can make it hazardous to navigate. In the south the Endeavour Strait is located between Prince of Wales Island (Muralug) and the mainland.
Several clusters of islands lie in the Strait, collectively called the Torres Strait Islands. There are at least 274 of these islands, of which 17 have present-day permanent settlements. Over 6,800 Torres Strait Islanders live on the Islands and 42,000 live on the mainland.
These islands have a variety of topographies, ecosystems and formation history. Several of those closest to the New Guinea coastline are low-lying, formed by alluvial sedimentary deposits borne by the outflow of the local rivers into the sea. Many of the western islands are hilly and steep, formed mainly of granite, and are peaks of the northernmost extension of the Great Dividing Range now turned into islands when sea levels rose at the end of the last ice age. The central islands are predominantly coral cays, and those of the east are of volcanic origins. The islands are considered Australian territory and are administered from Thursday Island.
The islands' indigenous inhabitants are the Torres Strait Islanders, Melanesian peoples related to the Papuans of adjoining New Guinea. The various Torres Strait Islander communities have a distinct culture and long-standing history with the islands and nearby coastlines. Their maritime-based trade and interactions with the Papuans to the north and the Australian Aboriginal communities have maintained a steady cultural diffusion between the three societal groups, dating back thousands of years at least.
Two indigenous languages are spoken on the Torres Strait Islands: Kala Lagaw Ya/Kalaw Kawaw Ya/Kawalgau Ya/Muwalgau Ya/Kulkalgau Ya, and Meriam Mir, as well as Brokan, otherwise called Torres Strait Creole. In the 2001 Australian national census, the population of the islands was recorded as 8,089, though many more live outside of Torres Strait in Australia.
Read more about this topic: Torres Strait
Other articles related to "geography":
... Historical Geography is the study of the human, physical, fictional, theoretical, and "real" geographies of the past ... Historical geography studies a wide variety of issues and topics ... Subfields include Time geography ...
... In the history of geography, geographers have often recorded and described features of the Earth that might now be considered the remit of human, rather than physical, geographers ... was not until the 18th and 19th centuries, however, that geography was recognised as a formal academic discipline ... founded in England in 1830, although the United Kingdom did not get its first full Chair of geography until 1917 ...
... According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.7 km²), all of it land. ...
... This article describes the geography of French Polynesia ... cyclonic storms in January Environment - current issues NA Geography - note Includes five archipelagoes Makatea in French Polynesia is one of the three great ...
... According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.5 square miles (1.3 km²), all of it land. ...
Famous quotes containing the word geography:
“The California fever is not likely to take us off.... There is neither romance nor glory in digging for gold after the manner of the pictures in the geography of diamond washing in Brazil.”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)
“Ktaadn, near which we were to pass the next day, is said to mean Highest Land. So much geography is there in their names.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Where the heart is, there the muses, there the gods sojourn, and not in any geography of fame. Massachusetts, Connecticut River, and Boston Bay, you think paltry places, and the ear loves names of foreign and classic topography. But here we are; and, if we tarry a little, we may come to learn that here is best. See to it, only, that thyself is here;and art and nature, hope and fate, friends, angels, and the Supreme Being, shall not absent from the chamber where thou sittest.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)