ELLICE (LAGOON) ISLANDS, an archipelago of the Pacific Ocean, lying between 5° and 11° S.
The chief groups, all yielding coco-nuts, pandanus fruit and yams, are Funafuti or Ellice, Nukulailai or Mitchell, Nurakita or Sophia, Nukufetau or De Peyster, Nui or Egg, Nanomana or Hudson, and Niutao or Lynx.
The various minor groups to the north of these (Ellice, Phoenix, Union, Manihiki and the America Islands) are coral islands.
Alvaro Mendana de Neyra, after crossing a vast extent of ocean from Peru and sighting only one island, probably in the Ellice group, reached the Solomon Islands.
It thus comprises all the insular groups which extend almost continuously from the south-eastern extremity of Asia to more than half-way across the Pacific. Its chief divisions are Malaysia with the Philippines; Australia with Tasmania and New Zealand; Melanesia, that is, New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland, Admiralty, the Solomons, New Hebrides, Santa Cruz, Fiji, Loyalties and New Caledonia; Micronesia, that is, the Ladrones, Pelew and Carolines, with the Marshal] and Gilbert groups; lastly, Polynesia, that is, Samoa, Tonga, Cook, Tahiti, the Marquesas, Ellice, Hawaii and all intervening clusters.
The chief groups thus included are Hawaii, the Ellice, Phoenix, Union, Manihiki and Marquesas groups, Samoa and Tonga, the Cook, Society, Tubuai and Tuamotu groups, and many other lesser islands.
Protectorates also exist in the Western Pacific group of islands (including the Friendly Islands, the Ellice and Gilbert group, and the British Solomon Islands).