Micronesia – the islands of Micronesia

Micronesian countries and territories

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It is not for nothing that the Greek word Micronesia means “tiny islands”. At a huge total area of the region on land accounts for a very small proportion of it. Most of the islands here are of coral origin, are atolls of different sizes, although there are also volcanic islands like the Western Caroline and Mariana Islands.

A distinction should be made between the region of Micronesia and Micronesia, the state. The Federated States of Micronesia, a state that represents only part of the Micronesia region, and consists of Yap, Chuuk (formerly Truk), the Kosrae (Kusae) Islands, and Pohnpei (Ponape), may be so briefly referred to.

Where is Micronesia

Micronesia is part of Oceania, a large region of the Pacific Ocean stretching almost from the Philippines in the west to the Polynesian Triangle in the east and southeast.

Composition of Micronesia

Geographically Micronesia includes the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands (including the islands of Palau, Yap, and Truk), the Marshall Islands, the Kiribati (Gilbert) Islands, and the island of Nauru.

Micronesia includes:

Country Notes
Guam Unincorporated organized territory of the United States
Kiribati
Marshall Islands
Nauru
Palau
Northern Mariana Islands Unincorporated organized territory of the United States, a freely associated state with the United States
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk (Truk) State of the Federated States of Micronesia
Yap State of the Federated States of Micronesia

Tours and Prices

Palau Pacific Resort: early booking from 7 nights; prices valid for all 2022 (on request) from 06.01.2020 to 17.12.2021 from 2185 USD DBL

Truk Lagoon: vacation and diving Stay at Truk Blue Lagoon Resort and diving costs from 01.01.2020 to 31.12.2021 from 140 USD DBL

Manta Ray Bay Hotel, Yap: package prices for accommodation and diving packages from 3 nights (4 dives) to 14 nights (22 dives) from 01.01.2020 till 31.12.2021 From 759 USD 1/2 DBL

Diving safari to Bikini Atoll (Marshall Islands) 10-14 days; diving on the USS Saratoga and the flagship of the Japanese Imperial Navy the cruiser Nagato; for technical divers with experience only from 20.05.2020 to 27.09.2024 from 6465 USD

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Diving safari in Truk Lagoon – the mecca of rak diving; 7-10 nights, up to 30 dives from 08.01.2020 to 07.01.2025 from 2476 USD

Diving safari on Palau: Ocean Hunter III 7 or 10 days. Full charter option from 01.10.2019 to 01.08.2021

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Federated States of Micronesia

Anthem of the Federated States of Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia is a state in the western Pacific Ocean, occupying the central and eastern Caroline Islands and Kapingamargagi Atoll. The state has a total area of 702 km² and a population of 104,600 (2016), mostly Micronesians of various ethnic groups (the largest being the Truk people, on the Truk Islands). Most believers are Christians (Protestants and Catholics). The official language is English. The capital is the city of Palikir, located on the island of Pohnpei.

The Federation consists of four states: Kosrae, Pohnpei, Truk, and Yap. Micronesia has the status of a freely associated state with the United States. The head of state and government is the president. The legislative body is the unicameral National Congress, which elects the president.

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Video: Micronesia

General Information

Micronesia’s largest islands are volcanic (up to 791 m high), surrounded by coral reefs. The climate is equatorial and subequatorial. Rainfall ranges from 2,250 mm to 3,000 to 4,500 and 6,000 mm (in the mountains on Kusape Island) per year. The part of the Pacific Ocean where Micronesia is located is the area of origin of typhoons (on average there are 25 typhoons a year). The islands are covered with evergreen tropical forests and savannahs; the coral islands are dominated by coconut and pandanus.

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Since the seventeenth century the Caroline Islands have belonged to Spain. In 1898 Spain sold them to Germany. In 1914 the islands were seized by Japan and during World War II occupied by U.S. troops, who took over under a UN mandate. In 1978 the Caroline Islands received the status of “freely associated territory with the United States. In 1979 the constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia was adopted.

The economy of Micronesia is based on fishing, copra, and vegetable growing. Cattle, pigs and goats are raised on the islands. Micronesia cooperates with USA, Australia, Japan and South Korea to develop fishing zone. Micronesia is visited annually by 25,000 tourists, mostly from Australia and Japan. The length of paved highways is 226 km. Half of export consists of copra, also export pepper, fish, craft products, coconut oil. Main foreign trade partners are the United States and Japan. Micronesia receives large cash subsidies from the U.S. and uses the U.S. dollar as the unit of currency.

Culture

The traditional culture of the people of the Federated States of Micronesia is Micronesian (with the exception of the cultures of the two Polynesian atolls of Nukuoro and Kapingamaranga). However, it has undergone significant changes over several centuries of foreign domination. But even today on many islands one can find native pillar houses without walls, the function of which is performed by gable roofs reaching to the ground, roofed with palm leaves or mats. Micronesians still possess the art of making wooden boats without a single metal nail. Chiefs play a significant role in the social life of FSM. Jap culture (folklore, dances, houses on stone foundations under palm leaves, loincloths on men and puffed skirts made of plant fibers on women) is perhaps the most conservative.

Intense contact in recent decades with the Western world has changed the mindset of the younger generation of Micronesians from traditional values to one of exposure to Western civilization.

History

Micronesian ancestors settled the Caroline Islands more than 4,000 years ago. Over the centuries, Micronesian society developed two social groups, the “nobles” and the “commoners”; the former were not engaged in physical labor and were distinguished from the latter by special tattoos and decorations. The territorial associations were headed by chiefs (tomol), but their power was unequal on different islands. On the island of Temen (Pohnpei State), the remains of an ancient civilization, the stone city of Nan Madol, have been discovered. Nan Madol consisted of monumental reef-covered structures, platforms made of coral rubble and coated with basalt slabs. On the platforms residential and temple complexes were erected, the dead were buried and various rituals were performed. According to the legends, the city was the center of the vast Saudelair power and was destroyed by the conquerors, after which Pohnpei broke up into five territorial units. Similar monuments were found on Lelu Island (Kosrae State). On Yap, in later times, there seems to have been a centralized state entity with economic and religious functions. Tribute was collected from the conquered tribes. The first Europeans found on Yap one- and two-story platforms with temples and men’s houses, as well as peculiar money in the form of big stone disks with a hole in the center.

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The Caroline Islands were discovered by European explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1526 di Menezighi discovered the Yap Islands, and in 1528 Alvaro Saavedra saw the Truk Islands (present-day Chuuk) for the first time. In 1685 Captain Francisco Lazeano rediscovered Yap and named the island Carolinian (after King Charles II of Spain). Later this name was transferred to the entire archipelago, which was declared a possession of the Spanish crown. However, the discovery of its islands continued in the following years. The first Spanish Catholic missionaries, who arrived in 1710 on the Sonsorol Islands and in 1731 on Ulithi Atoll, were killed by the islanders, and the Spanish abandoned their attempts to colonize the Caroline Islands until the 1870s.

From the end of the 18th century the archipelago was visited by British, French and even Russian merchant and scientific ships. Thus, in 1828 the Russian navigator F.P. Litke discovered the islands of Ponape (Ponpei), Ant and Paquin and named them after Admiral D.N. Senyavin. From 1830 American whalers came here often. In the 1820s and 1830s British sailors who were shipwrecked while carrying an English missionary on the Kosrae lived on Pohnpei. In 1852 American evangelicals established a Protestant mission on Pohnpei and Kosrae. German and English traders began to infiltrate the archipelago.

In 1869 Germany established a trading station on Yapa, which became the center of the German trading network in Micronesia and Samoa. In 1885 the German authorities announced their claim to the Caroline Islands, which Spain considered its own. Through the mediation of the pope, a German-Spanish treaty was concluded, recognizing the archipelago as a Spanish possession, but granting German traders the right to establish factories and plantations there. Spanish soldiers and missionaries arrived on the islands, but they met fierce resistance on Pohnpei. The islanders revolted and destroyed the plantations.

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After defeat in the war with the United States, Spain agreed in 1898 to cede the Caroline and Mariana Islands to Germany. Since 1906 they were governed from German New Guinea. The German colonial authorities imposed universal labor duty on the adult islanders and began extensive road construction. In response, the inhabitants of Pohnpei rebelled and assassinated Governor Beder. The uprising was not suppressed by the German navy until 1911. In the fall of 1914 Micronesia was occupied by Japanese troops.

Japan officially did not receive a League of Nations mandate to manage Micronesia until 1921. It used the territory of the Caroline Islands for economic purposes (fishing, production of cassava flour, and sugarcane alcohol) and for establishing naval and air bases. Japan pursued a policy of forced assimilation against the indigenous population. Tens of thousands of Japanese were resettled on the islands, and the best land was given to them. Japanese settlements sprang up. The traces of Japanese domination are preserved in the appearance of the Carolinians, in their language, and in their names.

Beginning in 1944, fierce battles between U.S. and Japanese forces began on the islands. By 1945, Japanese forces were expelled from Micronesia, the archipelago came under the control of the U.S. military authorities, and in 1947 the Caroline Islands (together with the Marianas and Marshall Islands) became a U.N. Trust Territory administered by the United States – the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (PTPO). The territory was administered by the U.S. Department of the Navy from 1947 to 1951, then was placed under the civilian administration of the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1962, administration was transferred from Guam to Saipan (Mariana Islands). In 1961, the Micronesian Council was created, but all power remained in the hands of the U.S. High Commissioner. In 1965, the first elections to the Micronesian Congress were held. In 1967, Congress created a Commission on Future Political Status, which recommended seeking independence or establishing a “free association” relationship with the United States with full internal self-government. Negotiations between Micronesian congressional representatives and the U.S. have been ongoing since 1969.

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On July 12, 1978, the people of Truk (Chuuk), Ponape (Pohnpei), Yap, and Kusaie (Kosrae) counties voted in a referendum to create the Federated States of Micronesia. The Marianas, Marshall Islands, and Palau refused to join the new state. On May 10, 1979, the FSM Constitution was adopted, and in the fall, the first elections for the National Congress were held, along with elections for the governors of the four states. The former president of the Micronesian Congress, Tosivo Nakayama, became president in January 1980.

Throughout 1979-1986, the United States successively transferred administration to the four states of Micronesia. Between 1979 and 1986, the U.S. continued to transfer executive functions to the new head of state and government. Foreign policy and defense issues remained the prerogative of the United States. In 1983, the population approved “free association” status with the United States in a referendum. On November 3, 1985, the FPTO was officially dissolved and the U.S. trusteeship regime ended. On December 22, 1990, the United Nations Security Council approved the trusteeship revocation and FSM became an officially independent state.

In 1991, Micronesian President John Haglegam (1987-1991) resigned as head of state after losing parliamentary elections. The presidency was held by Bailey Olter (Pohnpei State) from 1991-1996 and by Jacob Nena (Cos. State) from 1996-1999. – Jacob Nena (Kosrae State), 1999-2003. – Leo Ami Falkam, and since 2003 Joseph John Urusemal. A draft amendment to the constitution that would have provided for the direct election of a president and vice president was rejected.

The country’s main problems remain high unemployment, declining fish catches, and high dependence on U.S. aid.

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