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Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a
subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth an ...
of
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a Region, geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern hemisphere, Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 41 million. Wh ...

Oceania
, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia ...

Pacific Ocean
. It has a close shared cultural history with three other island regions: the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
to the west,
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a s ...

Polynesia
to the east, and
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It extends from the island of New Guinea in the west to Tonga in the east, and includes the Arafura Sea. The region includes the four independent countries of Fiji, V ...

Melanesia
to the south—as well as with the wider community of
Austronesian peoples The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries ...
. The region has a
tropical marine climate A tropical marine climate is a tropical climate Tropical climate is one of the five major climate groups in the Köppen climate classification. Tropical climates are characterized by monthly average temperatures of 18 ℃ (64.4 ℉) or h ...
and is part of the
Oceanian realm The Oceanian realm is one of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) biogeographic realms, and is unique in not including any continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...

Oceanian realm
. It includes four main
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
s—the
Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically, they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the central and ...
, the
Gilbert Islands The Gilbert Islands ( gil, Tungaru;Reilly Ridgell. ''Pacific Nations and Territories: The Islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.'' 3rd. Ed. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1995. p. 95. formerly Kingsmill or King's-Mill IslandsVery often, this na ...

Gilbert Islands
, the
Mariana Islands The Mariana Islands (; also the Marianas; in ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorr ...
, and the
Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an independent near the in the , slightly west of the . Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of . The countr ...
—as well as numerous islands that are not part of any archipelago. Political control of areas within Micronesia varies depending on the island, and is distributed among six sovereign nations. Some of the Caroline Islands are part of the
Republic of Palau Palau (), officially the Republic of Palau ( pau, Beluu er a Belau) and historically ''Belau'', ''Palaos'' or ''Pelew'', is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. The country contains approximately 340 islands, and togethe ...

Republic of Palau
and some are part of the
Federated States of Micronesia The Federated States of Micronesia (; abbreviated FSM), or simply Micronesia, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is oft ...
(often shortened to "FSM" or "Micronesia"—not to be confused with the identical name for the overall region). The Gilbert Islands (along with the
Phoenix Islands The Phoenix Islands, or Rawaki, are a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral Corals are marine invertebrates within the class (biology), class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically live in compact Colony (biology), colonie ...

Phoenix Islands
and the
Line Islands The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands (in Gilbertese language, Gilbertese, ''Aono Raina'') are a chain of 11 atolls (with partially or fully enclosed lagoons) and coral islands (with a surrounding reef) in the central Pacific ...
in Polynesia) comprise the Republic of
Kiribati Kiribati (), officially the Republic of Kiribati (Gilbertese language, Gilbertese: '' ibaberikiKiribati''),
. The Mariana Islands are affiliated with the United States; some of them belong to the U.S. Territory of
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an in the subregion of the western . It is the and territory of the United States (reckoned from the ); in , it is the largest and southernmost of the and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is , and t ...

Guam
and the rest belong to the U.S. Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territory Under Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
. The island of
Nauru Nauru ( or ; na, Naoero), officially the Republic of Nauru ( na, Repubrikin Naoero) and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, ter ...

Nauru
is its own sovereign nation. The
Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an independent near the in the , slightly west of the . Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of . The countr ...
all belong to the Republic of the
Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an independent near the in the , slightly west of the . Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of . The countr ...
. The sovereignty of
Wake Island Wake Island ( mh, Ānen Kio, translation=island of the Sida fallax, kio flower; also known as Wake Atoll) is a coral atoll in the western Pacific Ocean in the northeastern area of the Micronesia subregion, east of Guam, west of Honolulu, sou ...

Wake Island
is contested: it is claimed both by the United States and by the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The United States has actual possession of Wake Island, which is under the immediate administration of the
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphe ...

United States Air Force
. Human settlement of Micronesia began several millennia ago. The Micronesian people are considered, by linguistic, archaeological, and human genetic evidence, a subset of the sea-migrating
Austronesian people The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan (collectively known as Taiwanese indigenous peoples), Maritime Southeast Asia, Oceania and Madagascar that ...
, who include the
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a s ...

Polynesia
n people and the
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It extends from the island of New Guinea in the west to Tonga in the east, and includes the Arafura Sea. The region includes the four independent countries of Fiji, V ...

Melanesia
n people. Based on the current scientific consensus, the Austronesian peoples originated from a prehistoric seaborne migration, known as the Austronesian expansion, from pre-
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
, at around 3000 to 1500 BCE. Austronesians reached the northernmost Philippines, specifically the
Batanes Islands Batanes ( ivv, Provinsiya nu Batanes; tl, Lalawigan ng Batanes, ) is an archipelagic province in the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipina ...

Batanes Islands
, by around 2200 BCE. Austronesians were the first people to invent oceangoing sailing technologies (notably
catamaran A Formula 16 beachable catamaran file:Salem Ferry.JPG, Powered catamaran passenger ferry at Salem, Massachusetts, Salem, Massachusetts, United States A catamaran () (informally, a "cat") is a multihull, multi-hulled watercraft featuring two pa ...

catamaran
s,
outrigger boat Outrigger boats are various watercraft featuring one or more lateral support floats known as outriggers, which are fastened to one or both sides of the main hull (ship), hull. They can range from small dugout (boat), dugout canoes to large plan ...
s,
lashed-lug Lashed-lug boats are ancient boat-building Boat building is the design and construction of boats and their systems. This includes at a minimum a hull (watercraft), hull, with propulsion, mechanical, navigation, safety and other systems as a craft ...
boat building Boat building is the design and construction of boats and their systems. This includes at a minimum a hull (watercraft), hull, with propulsion, mechanical, navigation, safety and other systems as a craft requires. Construction materials and meth ...
, and the
crab claw sail The crab claw sail is a fore-and-aft triangular sail with spars along upper and lower edges. The crab claw sail was first developed by the Austronesian peoples some time around 1500 BC. It is used in many traditional Austronesian cultures in Island ...
), which enabled their rapid dispersal into the islands of the
Indo-Pacific The Indo-Pacific, sometimes known as the Indo–West Pacific or Indo–Pacific Asia, is a biogeographic region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's su ...
. From 2000 BCE they assimilated (or were assimilated by) the earlier populations on the islands in their migration pathway. The earliest known contact of Europeans with Micronesia was in 1521, when Spanish ships landed in the
Marianas The Mariana Islands (; also the Marianas; in ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorro ...
.
Jules Dumont d'Urville Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville (; 23 May 1790 – 8 May 1842) was a French explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncert ...
is usually credited with coining the term "Micronesia" in 1832, but in fact, Domeny de Rienzi used the term a year earlier.


Geography

Micronesia is a region that includes approximately 2100 islands, with a total land area of , the largest of which is
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an in the subregion of the western . It is the and territory of the United States (reckoned from the ); in , it is the largest and southernmost of the and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is , and t ...

Guam
, which covers . The total ocean area within the perimeter of the islands is . There are four main island groups in Micronesia: * the
Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically, they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the central and ...
(
Federated States of Micronesia The Federated States of Micronesia (; abbreviated FSM), or simply Micronesia, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is oft ...
and
Palau Palau (), officially the Republic of Palau ( pau, Beluu er a Belau) and historically ''Belau'', ''Palaos'' or ''Pelew'', is an island country in the western Pacific Ocean, Pacific. The nation has approximately 340 islands and connects the w ...

Palau
) * the
Gilbert Islands The Gilbert Islands ( gil, Tungaru;Reilly Ridgell. ''Pacific Nations and Territories: The Islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.'' 3rd. Ed. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1995. p. 95. formerly Kingsmill or King's-Mill IslandsVery often, this na ...

Gilbert Islands
(
Kiribati Kiribati (), officially the Republic of Kiribati (Gilbertese language, Gilbertese: '' ibaberikiKiribati''),
) * the
Mariana Islands The Mariana Islands (; also the Marianas; in ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorr ...
(
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territory Under Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
and
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an in the subregion of the western . It is the and territory of the United States (reckoned from the ); in , it is the largest and southernmost of the and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is , and t ...

Guam
, US) * the
Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an independent near the in the , slightly west of the . Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of . The countr ...
Plus the separate island nation of
Nauru Nauru ( or ; na, Naoero), officially the Republic of Nauru ( na, Repubrikin Naoero) and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, ter ...

Nauru
, among other distinctly separate islands and smaller island groups.


Caroline Islands

The
Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically, they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the central and ...
are a widely scattered
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
consisting of about 500 small
coral island A coral island is a type of island formed from coral detritus and associated organic material. It occurs in tropical and sub-tropical areas, typically as part of a coral reef which has grown to cover a far larger area under the sea. Ecosystem ...
s, north of
New Guinea New Guinea (; : ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the , and with an area of , the largest island in the . Located in in the southwestern , it is separated by the wide from . Numerous smaller islands are located to the west and east ...

New Guinea
and east of the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
. The Carolines consist of two republics: the
Federated States of Micronesia The Federated States of Micronesia (; abbreviated FSM), or simply Micronesia, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is oft ...
, consisting of approximately 600 islands on the eastern side of the chain with
Kosrae Kosrae ( ), formerly known as Kusaie or Strong's Island, is an island in the Federated States of Micronesia. The State of Kosrae is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia, and includes the main island of Kosrae and a few nearb ...

Kosrae
being the most eastern; and
Palau Palau (), officially the Republic of Palau ( pau, Beluu er a Belau) and historically ''Belau'', ''Palaos'' or ''Pelew'', is an island country in the western Pacific Ocean, Pacific. The nation has approximately 340 islands and connects the w ...

Palau
consisting of 250 islands on the western side.


Gilbert Islands

The
Gilbert Islands The Gilbert Islands ( gil, Tungaru;Reilly Ridgell. ''Pacific Nations and Territories: The Islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.'' 3rd. Ed. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1995. p. 95. formerly Kingsmill or King's-Mill IslandsVery often, this na ...

Gilbert Islands
are a chain of sixteen
atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology) ...

atoll
s and coral islands, arranged in an approximate north-to-south line. In a geographical sense, the
equator The Equator is a , about in circumference, that divides into the and hemispheres. It is an located at 0 degrees , halfway between the and poles. In , as applied in , the equator of a rotating (such as a ) is the parallel (circle of l ...

equator
serves as the dividing line between the northern Gilbert Islands and the southern Gilbert Islands. The
Republic of Kiribati Kiribati (), officially the Republic of Kiribati ( Gilbertese: '' ibaberikiKiribati''),Kiribati

Republic of Kiribati
contains all of the Gilberts, including the island of
Tarawa Tarawa is an atoll and the Capital city, capital of the Kiribati, Republic of Kiribati,Kiribati
...

Tarawa
, the site of the country's capital.


Mariana Islands

The
Mariana Islands The Mariana Islands (; also the Marianas; in ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorr ...
are an arc-shaped
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
made up by the summits of fifteen volcanic mountains. The island chain arises as a result of the western edge of the
Pacific Plate The Pacific Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface Earth is the third planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant th ...
moving westward and plunging downward below the Mariana plate, a region that is the most volcanically active convergent plate boundary on Earth. The Marianas were politically divided in 1898, when the United States acquired title to
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an in the subregion of the western . It is the and territory of the United States (reckoned from the ); in , it is the largest and southernmost of the and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is , and t ...

Guam
under the Treaty of Paris, 1898, which ended the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, So ...
. Spain then sold the remaining northerly islands to
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...
in 1899. Germany lost all of her colonies at the end of
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
and the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territory Under Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
became a
League of Nations The League of Nations, abbreviated as LON (french: Société des Nations , abbreviated as SDN or SdN), was the first worldwide Intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. ...
Mandate, with
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an in . It is situated in the northwest , and is bordered on the west by the , while extending from the in the north toward the and in the south. Japan is a part of the , and spans of coveri ...

Japan
as the mandatory. After
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, the islands were transferred into the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
Trust Territory System, with the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
as Trustee. In 1976, the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States entered into a covenant of political union under which commonwealth status was granted the Northern Mariana Islands and its residents received United States citizenship.


Marshall Islands

The
Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an independent near the in the , slightly west of the . Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of . The countr ...
are located north of
Nauru Nauru ( or ; na, Naoero), officially the Republic of Nauru ( na, Repubrikin Naoero) and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, ter ...

Nauru
and
Kiribati Kiribati (), officially the Republic of Kiribati (Gilbertese language, Gilbertese: '' ibaberikiKiribati''),
, east of the
Federated States of Micronesia The Federated States of Micronesia (; abbreviated FSM), or simply Micronesia, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is oft ...
, and south of the U.S. territory of
Wake Island Wake Island ( mh, Ānen Kio, translation=island of the Sida fallax, kio flower; also known as Wake Atoll) is a coral atoll in the western Pacific Ocean in the northeastern area of the Micronesia subregion, east of Guam, west of Honolulu, sou ...

Wake Island
. The islands consist of 29 low-lying
atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology) ...

atoll
s and 5 isolated islands, comprising 1,156 individual islands and
islet An islet is a very small island. Most definitions are not precise, but some suggest that an islet has little or no vegetation, and cannot support human habitation. They may be made of rock, sand, and/or coral, may be permanent or tidal, and may ...

islet
s. The atolls and islands form two groups: the
Ratak Chain 300px, Map of the Ratak and Ralik island chains The Ratak Chain ( Marshallese: , ) is a chain of islands within the island nation of the Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōk ...
and the
Ralik Chain The Ralik Chain ( Marshallese: , ) is a chain of islands within the island nation of the Marshall Islands. Ralik means "sunset". It is west of the Ratak Chain. In 1999 the total population of the Ralik islands was 19,915. Christopher Loeak, who ...
(meaning "sunrise" and "sunset" chains). All the islands in the chain are part of the
Republic of the Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or po ...
, a
presidential President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese full- ...
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
in free association with the United States. Having few natural resources, the islands' wealth is based on a
service economy Service economy can refer to one or both of two recent economic developments: * The increased importance of the service sector The tertiary sector of the economy, generally known as the service sector, is the third of the three economic secto ...
, as well as some
fishing Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, ...

fishing
and
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of , whereby farming of species created food that enabled people to live in cities. The began thousands of ...

agriculture
. Of the 29 atolls, 24 of them are inhabited.
Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll
is an atoll in the Marshall Islands. There are 23 islands in the Bikini Atoll. The islands of Bokonijien, Aerokojlol and Nam were vaporized during nuclear tests that occurred there. The islands are composed of low coral limestone and sand. The average elevation is only about above low tide level. File:Castle Bravo Blast.jpg, Image of the
Castle Bravo Castle Bravo was the first in a series of high-yield thermonuclear weapon design tests conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, as part of ''Operation Castle''. Detonated on March 1, 1954, the device was the most powerful n ...
nuclear test, detonated on 1 March 1954, at File:Cross spikes club.jpg, An illustration of the Cross Spikes Club of the US Navy on , one of several Marshall Islands used for atomic bomb tests. File:Kili Island - NASA Astronaut Photography.png,
Kili Island Kili Island or Kili Atoll ( Marshallese: , ) is a small, () island located in the Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an island country and an associat ...

Kili Island
is one of the smallest islands in the
Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an independent near the in the , slightly west of the . Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of . The countr ...
.


Nauru

Nauru Nauru ( or ; na, Naoero), officially the Republic of Nauru ( na, Repubrikin Naoero) and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, ter ...

Nauru
is an oval-shaped
island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an indepe ...
in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, south of the
Equator The Equator is a , about in circumference, that divides into the and hemispheres. It is an located at 0 degrees , halfway between the and poles. In , as applied in , the equator of a rotating (such as a ) is the parallel (circle of l ...

Equator
, listed as the world's smallest republic, covering just . With residents, it is the third least-populated country, after
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vatica ...

Vatican City
and
Tuvalu Tuvalu ( or ; formerly known as the Ellice Islands Tuvalu ( ; formerly known as the Ellice Islands) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial ...

Tuvalu
. The island is surrounded by a coral reef, which is exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The presence of the reef has prevented the establishment of a
seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (where the palm is facing to the front), the thumb is the outermost digit ...
, although
channels Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * Channel Country, region of outback Austr ...
in the reef allow small boats access to the island. A fertile coastal strip wide lies inland from the beach. File:Aerial view of Nauru.jpg, Aerial view of Nauru File:Nauru Denigomodu-Nibok.jpg, Nauruan districts of Denigomodu and Nibok


Wake Island

Wake Island Wake Island ( mh, Ānen Kio, translation=island of the Sida fallax, kio flower; also known as Wake Atoll) is a coral atoll in the western Pacific Ocean in the northeastern area of the Micronesia subregion, east of Guam, west of Honolulu, sou ...

Wake Island
is a coral atoll with a coastline of just north of the
Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an independent near the in the , slightly west of the . Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of . The countr ...
. It is an unorganized,
unincorporated territory Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Wash ...
of the United States. Access to the island is restricted and all activities on the island are managed by the
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphe ...

United States Air Force
. File:Wake Island by Agate.jpg, Wake Island as depicted by the
United States Exploring Expedition The United States Exploring Expedition of 1838–1842 was an exploring and surveying expedition of the Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north t ...
, drawn by
Alfred Thomas Agate Alfred Thomas Agate (February 14, 1812 – January 5, 1846) was a noted American artist, painter and miniaturist. Agate lived in New York from 1831 to 1838. He studied with his brother, Frederick Styles Agate, a portrait and historical painter. ...
File:Wake Island air.JPG, Aerial view Wake Island, looking westward


Geology

The majority of the islands in the area are part of a
coral atoll Corals are marine invertebrates within the class (biology), class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically form compact Colony (biology), colonies of many identical individual polyp (zoology), polyps. Coral species include the important C ...

coral atoll
. Coral atolls begin as
coral reefs ''Coral Reefs'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal dedicated to the study of coral reefs. It was established in 1982 and is published by Springer Science+Business Media on behalf of the International Society for Reef Studies, of which ...
that grow on the slopes of a central
volcano A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical body, object, such as the trajectory of a planet a ...

volcano
. When the volcano sinks back down into the sea, the coral continues to grow, keeping the reef at or above water level. One exception is
Pohnpei Pohnpei "upon (''pohn'') a stone altar (''pei'')" (formerly known as Ponape or Ascension, Chuukic–Pohnpeic languages, Proto-Chuukic-Pohnpeic: ''*Fawo ni pei'') is an island of the Senyavin Islands which are part of the larger Caroline Islands g ...
in the
Federated States of Micronesia The Federated States of Micronesia (; abbreviated FSM), or simply Micronesia, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is oft ...
, which still has the central volcano and coral reefs around it.


Fauna

The host a number of endemic bird species, including the Yap monarch and the Olive white-eye, in addition to four other restricted-range bird species. The endangered Yap flying-fox, though often considered a subspecies of the Pelew flying fox or the
Mariana fruit bat The Mariana fruit bat (''Pteropus mariannus''), also known as the Mariana flying fox, and the ''fanihi'' in Chamorro language, Chamorro, is a megabat found only in the Mariana Islands and Ulithi (an atoll in the Caroline Islands). Habitat loss has ...

Mariana fruit bat
, is also endemic to Yap.


Climate

The region has a
tropical marine climate A tropical marine climate is a tropical climate Tropical climate is one of the five major climate groups in the Köppen climate classification. Tropical climates are characterized by monthly average temperatures of 18 ℃ (64.4 ℉) or h ...
moderated by seasonal northeast
trade winds The trade winds or easterlies are the permanent east-to-west prevailing winds that flow in the Earth's equatorial region. The trade winds blow mainly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of E ...
. There is little seasonal temperature variation. The dry season runs from December or January to June and the rainy season from July to November or December. Because of the location of some islands, the rainy season can sometimes include
typhoon A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort scale, strong winds, and ...

typhoon
s.


History


Prehistory

The
Northern Marianas ) , anthem_link = List of U.S. state songs , image_map = Northern Mariana Islands on the globe (Southeast Asia centered) (small islands magnified).svg , map_alt = Location of the Northern Mariana Islands , map_caption = Location of the Nort ...
were the first islands in
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a Region, geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern hemisphere, Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 41 million. Wh ...

Oceania
colonized by the
Austronesian peoples The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries ...
. They were settled by the voyagers who sailed eastwards from the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
in approximately 1500 BCE. These populations gradually moved southwards until they reached the
Bismarck Archipelago The Bismarck Archipelago is a group of islands off the northeastern coast of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-largest island, and with an area of , t ...
and the
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands is a sovereign country consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania, to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu. It has a land area of , and a population of 652,858. Its capital, Honi ...
by 1300 BCE and reconnected with the
Lapita culture The Lapita culture is the name given to a prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by ...
of the southeast migration branch of Austronesians moving through coastal
New Guinea New Guinea (; : ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the , and with an area of , the largest island in the . Located in in the southwestern , it is separated by the wide from . Numerous smaller islands are located to the west and east ...

New Guinea
and
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
. By 1200 BCE, they again began crossing open seas beyond inter-island visibility, reaching
Vanuatu Vanuatu ( or ; ), officially the Republic of Vanuatu (french: link=no, République de Vanuatu; Bislama: ''Ripablik blong Vanuatu''), is an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is ea ...

Vanuatu
,
Fiji Fiji ( ; fj, Viti, ; hif, फ़िजी, ''Fijī''), officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entit ...

Fiji
, and
New Caledonia ) , anthem = "Soyons unis, devenons frères" , image_map = New Caledonia on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , map_alt = Location of New Caledonia , map_caption = Location of New Caledonia , mapsize = 290px , s ...

New Caledonia
; before continuing eastwards to become the ancestors of the
Polynesian people Polynesian is the adjectival form of Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from gr, πολύς ''polys'' "many" and gr, νῆσος ''nēsos'' "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Por ...
. Further migrations by other Austronesians also followed, likely from
Sulawesi Sulawesi (), also known as Celebes (), is one of the four Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia, in the Pacific Ocean. The islands, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra, are in ...

Sulawesi
, settling
Palau Palau (), officially the Republic of Palau ( pau, Beluu er a Belau) and historically ''Belau'', ''Palaos'' or ''Pelew'', is an island country in the western Pacific Ocean, Pacific. The nation has approximately 340 islands and connects the w ...

Palau
and
Yap Yap ( yap, Waqaab) traditionally refers to an island group located in the Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island cha ...

Yap
by around 1000 BCE. The details of this colonization, however, are not very well known. In 200 BCE, a loosely connected group of Lapita colonists from
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
also migrated back northwards, settling the islands of eastern Micronesia almost simultaneously. This region became the center of another wave of migrations radiating outwards, reconnecting them with other settled islands in western Micronesia. Around 800 CE, a second wave of migrants from Southeast Asia arrived in the Marianas, beginning what is now known as the Latte period. These new settlers built large structures with distinctive capped stone pillars known as ''haligi''. They also reintroduced
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

rice
(which did not survive earlier voyages), making the Northern Marianas the only islands in
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a Region, geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern hemisphere, Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 41 million. Wh ...

Oceania
where rice was grown prior to European contact. However, it was considered a high-status crop and only used in rituals. It did not become a staple until after
Spanish colonization The Spanish Empire ( es, Imperio Español; la, Imperium Hispanicum), historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, Monarquía Hispánica) and as the Catholic Monarchy ( es, Monarquía Católica), was a colonial empire governed by Spain that ...
. Construction of
Nan Madol Nan Madol is an archaeological site adjacent to the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei, now part of the Madolenihmw district of Pohnpei state in the Federated States of Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. Nan Madol was the capital of th ...
, a megalithic complex made from Basalt#Columnar basalt, basalt lava logs in Pohnpei, began in around 1180 CE. This was followed by the construction of the Leluh archaeological site, Leluh complex in
Kosrae Kosrae ( ), formerly known as Kusaie or Strong's Island, is an island in the Federated States of Micronesia. The State of Kosrae is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia, and includes the main island of Kosrae and a few nearb ...

Kosrae
in around 1200 CE. File:Map FM-Nan Madol.PNG, Central Nan Madol (map) File:Nan Madol 5.jpg,
Nan Madol Nan Madol is an archaeological site adjacent to the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei, now part of the Madolenihmw district of Pohnpei state in the Federated States of Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. Nan Madol was the capital of th ...
File:Lelu Ruins, Kosrae, Micronesia.jpg, Leluh archaeological site, Leluh File:Latte stones in Hagatna.jpg, Latte stones File:Yap Stone Money.jpg, Rai stone


Early European contact

The earliest known contact with Europeans occurred in 1521, when a Spanish expedition under Ferdinand Magellan reached the Marianas This contact is recorded in Antonio Pigafetta's chronicle of Magellan's voyage, in which he recounts that the Chamorro people had no apparent knowledge of people outside of their island group. A Portuguese account of the same voyage suggests that the Chamorro people who greeted the travellers did so "without any shyness as if they were good acquaintances". Further contact was made during the sixteenth century, although often initial encounters were very brief. Documents relating to the 1525 voyage of Diogo da Rocha suggest that he made the first European contact with inhabitants of the Caroline Islands, possibly staying on the Ulithi atoll for four months and encountering
Yap Yap ( yap, Waqaab) traditionally refers to an island group located in the Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island cha ...

Yap
. Marshall Islanders were encountered by the expedition of Spanish navigator Álvaro de Saavedra Cerón in 1529. Other contact with the Yap islands occurred in 1625.


Colonisation and conversion

In the early 17th century Spain colonized
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an in the subregion of the western . It is the and territory of the United States (reckoned from the ); in , it is the largest and southernmost of the and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is , and t ...

Guam
, the
Northern Marianas ) , anthem_link = List of U.S. state songs , image_map = Northern Mariana Islands on the globe (Southeast Asia centered) (small islands magnified).svg , map_alt = Location of the Northern Mariana Islands , map_caption = Location of the Nort ...
and the
Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically, they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the central and ...
(what would later become the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau), creating the Spanish East Indies, which was governed from the Spanish Philippines. In 1819, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions—a Protestant group—brought their Puritan ways to Polynesia. Soon after, the Hawaiian Missionary Society was founded and sent missionaries into Micronesia. Conversion was not met with as much opposition, as the local religions were less developed (at least according to Western ethnographic accounts). In contrast, it took until the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th centuries for missionaries to fully convert the inhabitants of Melanesia; however, a comparison of the cultural contrast must take into account the fact that Melanesia has always had deadly strains of malaria present in various degrees and distributions throughout its history (see De Rays Expedition) and up to the present; conversely, Micronesia does not have—and never seems to have had—any malarial mosquitos nor pathogens on any of its islands in the past.


German–Spanish Treaty of 1899

In the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, So ...
, Spain lost many of its remaining colonies. In the Pacific, the United States took possession of the Spanish Philippines and Guam. On 17 January 1899, the United States also took possession of unclaimed and uninhabited Wake Island. This left Spain with the remainder of the Spanish East Indies, about 6,000 tiny islands that were sparsely populated and not very productive. These islands were ungovernable after the loss of the administrative center of Manila and indefensible after the loss of two Spanish fleets in the war. The Spanish government therefore decided to sell the remaining islands to a new colonial power: the German Empire. The treaty, which was signed by Spanish Prime Minister Francisco Silvela on 12 February 1899, transferred the Caroline Islands, the Mariana Islands, Palau and other possessions to Germany. Under German control, the islands became a protectorate and were administered from German New Guinea. Nauru had already been annexed and claimed as a colony by Germany in 1888.


20th century

In the early 20th century, the islands of Micronesia were divided between three foreign powers: * the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
, which took control of Guam following the Spanish–American War of 1898 and claimed
Wake Island Wake Island ( mh, Ānen Kio, translation=island of the Sida fallax, kio flower; also known as Wake Atoll) is a coral atoll in the western Pacific Ocean in the northeastern area of the Micronesia subregion, east of Guam, west of Honolulu, sou ...

Wake Island
; *
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...
, which took Nauru and bought the Marshall, Caroline and Northern Mariana Islands from Spain; and * the British Empire, which took the
Gilbert Islands The Gilbert Islands ( gil, Tungaru;Reilly Ridgell. ''Pacific Nations and Territories: The Islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.'' 3rd. Ed. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1995. p. 95. formerly Kingsmill or King's-Mill IslandsVery often, this na ...

Gilbert Islands
(Kiribati). During
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, Germany's Pacific island territories were seized and became League of Nations mandates in 1923. Nauru became an Australian mandate, while Germany's other territories in Micronesia were given as a mandate to
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an in . It is situated in the northwest , and is bordered on the west by the , while extending from the in the north toward the and in the south. Japan is a part of the , and spans of coveri ...

Japan
and were named the South Seas Mandate. During World War II, Nauru and Banaba, Ocean Island were occupied by Empire of Japan, Japanese troops, with also an Japanese occupation of the Gilbert Islands, occupation of some of the Gilbert Islands and were bypassed by the Allied advance across the Pacific. Following Japan's defeat in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
its mandate became a United Nations Trusteeship administered by the United States as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Nauru became independent in 1968.


21st century

Today, most of Micronesia are independent states, except for the U.S. Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territory Under Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
, Guam and Wake Island, which are U.S. territories.


States and dependencies


Politics

The Pacific Community (SPC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation whose membership includes both nations and territories in the Pacific Ocean and their metropolitan powers.


Economy

Nationally, the primary income is the sale of fishing rights to foreign nations that harvest tuna using huge purse seiners. A few Japanese Longline fishing, long liners still ply the waters. The crews aboard fishing fleets contribute little to the local economy since their ships typically set sail loaded with stores and provisions that are cheaper than local goods. Additional money comes in from government grants, mostly from the United States and the $150 million the US paid into a trust fund for reparations of residents of Bikini Atoll that had to move after nuclear testing. Few mineral deposits worth exploiting exist, except for some high-grade phosphate, Phosphate mining in Nauru, especially on Nauru. Most residents of Micronesia can freely move to and work within, the United States. Relatives working in the US that send money home to relatives represent the primary source of individual income. Additional individual income comes mainly from government jobs and work within shops and restaurants. The tourist industry consists mainly of scuba divers that come to see the coral reefs, do wall dives and visit sunken ships from WWII. Major stops for scuba divers in approximate order are Palau, Chuuk, Yap and Pohnpei. Some private yacht owners visit the area for months or years at a time. However, they tend to stay mainly at ports of entry and are too few in number to be counted as a major source of income. Copra production used to be a more significant source of income, however, world prices have dropped in part to large palm plantations that are now planted in places like Borneo.


Demographics

The people today form many ethnicities, but all are descended from and belong to the Micronesian culture. The Micronesian culture was one of the last native cultures of the region to develop. It developed from a mixture of Melanesians and Filipino people, Filipinos. Because of this mixture of descent, many of the ethnicities of Micronesia feel closer to some groups in
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It extends from the island of New Guinea in the west to Tonga in the east, and includes the Arafura Sea. The region includes the four independent countries of Fiji, V ...

Melanesia
, or the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
. A good example of this are the Yapese people who are related to Austronesian peoples, Austronesian tribes in the northern
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
. A 2011 survey found that 93.1% of Micronesian are Christians. Genetics also show a significant number of Micronesian have Japanese paternal ancestry: 9.5% of males from Micronesia as well as 0.2% in East Timor carry the Haplogroup D-M55. There are also substantial Asian communities found across the region, most notably in the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territory Under Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
where they form the majority and smaller communities of Europeans who have migrated from the United States or are descendants of settlers during European colonial rule in Micronesia. Though they are all geographically part of the same region, they all have very different colonial histories. The US-administered areas of Micronesia have a unique experience that sets them apart from the rest of the Pacific. Micronesia has great economic dependency on its former or current motherlands, something only comparable to the French Pacific. Sometimes, the term ''American Micronesia'' is used to acknowledge the difference in cultural heritage.


Indigenous groups


Micronesians


=Carolinian people

= It is thought that ancestors of the Carolinian people may have originally immigrated from the Asian mainland and Indonesia to Micronesia around 2,000 years ago. Their primary language is Carolinian language, Carolinian, called ''Refaluwasch'' by native speakers, which has a total of about 5,700 speakers. The Carolinians have a matriarchy, matriarchal society in which respect is a very important factor in their daily lives, especially toward the matriarchs. Most Carolinians are of the Roman Catholic faith. The immigration of Carolinians to Saipan began in the early 19th century, after the Spain, Spanish reduced the local population of Chamorro people, Chamorro natives to just 3,700. They began to immigrate mostly sailing from small canoes from other islands, which a
typhoon A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort scale, strong winds, and ...

typhoon
previously devastated. The Carolinians have a much darker complexion than the native Chamorro people, Chamorros.


=Chamorro people

= The Chamorro people are the indigenous peoples of the
Mariana Islands The Mariana Islands (; also the Marianas; in ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorr ...
, which are politically divided between the Territories of the United States, United States territory of
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an in the subregion of the western . It is the and territory of the United States (reckoned from the ); in , it is the largest and southernmost of the and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is , and t ...

Guam
and the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Micronesia. The Chamorro are commonly believed to have come from Southeast Asia at around 2000 Common Era, BC. They are most closely related to other Austronesian peoples, Austronesian natives to the west in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
and Taiwanese aborigines, Taiwan, as well as the Caroline Islands, Carolines to the south. The Chamorro language is included in the Malayo-Polynesian languages, Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the Austronesian languages, Austronesian family. Because Guam was colonized by Spain for over 300 years, many words derive from the Spanish language. The traditional Chamorro number system was replaced by Spanish numbers.


=Chuukese people

= The Chuukese people are an ethnic group in
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a Region, geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern hemisphere, Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 41 million. Wh ...

Oceania
. They constitute 48% of the population of the
Federated States of Micronesia The Federated States of Micronesia (; abbreviated FSM), or simply Micronesia, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is oft ...
. Their language is Chuukese language, Chuukese. The home atoll of Chuuk is also known by the former name Truk.


=Nauruan people

= The Nauruan people are an ethnicity inhabiting the Pacific Ocean, Pacific island of
Nauru Nauru ( or ; na, Naoero), officially the Republic of Nauru ( na, Repubrikin Naoero) and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, ter ...

Nauru
. They are most likely a blend of Indigenous peoples of Oceania, other Pacific peoples. The origin of the Nauruan people has not yet been finally determined. It can possibly be explained by the last Malayo-Pacific human migration (c. 1200). It was probably seafaring or shipwrecked Polynesians or Melanesians that established themselves in Nauru because there was not already an indigenous people present, whereas the Micronesians were already crossed with the Melanesians in this area.


Kaping people

The roughly 3000 residents of the Federated States of Micronesia that reside in Kapingamarangi, nicknamed 'Kapings', live in one of the most remote locations in both Micronesia and the world at large. Their home atoll is almost from the nearest point of immigration. There are no regular flights; the only reliable way to legally visit is to travel on a high-speed sailboat to the atoll. Owing to this difficulty, few sailors travelling the Pacific attempt to visit. The local language is the Kapingamarangi language. The children typically attend high school on Pohnpei where they stay with relatives in an enclave that is almost exclusively made up of Kapings.


Immigrant groups


East, South, and Southeast Asian people

There are large East Asia, East, South Asia, South and Southeast Asia, Southeast Asian communities found across certain Micronesian countries that are either immigrants, foreign workers or descendants of either one, most migrated to the islands during the 1800s and 1900s. According to the 2010 census results Guam was 26.3% Overseas Filipino, Filipino, 2.2% Korean diaspora, Korean, 1.6% Overseas Chinese, Chinese and 2% other Asian. The 2010 census showed the Northern Mariana Islands was 50% Asian of which 35.3% were Filipino, 6.8% Chinese, 4.2% Korean and 3.7% other Asian (mainly Japanese diaspora, Japanese, Bangladeshi diaspora, Bangladeshi and Thai people, Thai). The 2010 census for the Federated States of Micronesia showed 1.4% were Asian while statistics for Nauru showed 8% of Nauruans were Chinese. The 2005 census results for Palau showed 16.3% were Filipino, 1.6% Chinese, 1.6% Vietnamese and 3.4% other Asian (mostly Bangladeshi, Japanese and Korean). Japanese rule in Micronesia also led to Japanese people settling the islands and marrying native spouses. Kessai Note, the former president of the
Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an independent near the in the , slightly west of the . Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of . The countr ...
has partial Japanese ancestry by way of his paternal grandfather, and Manny Mori, Emanuel Mori, the former president of the
Federated States of Micronesia The Federated States of Micronesia (; abbreviated FSM), or simply Micronesia, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is oft ...
, is descended from one of the first settlers from Japan, Mori Koben, Koben Mori. A significant number of Micronesians were shown to have paternal genetic relations with Japanese Haplogroup D-M55. Genetic testing found that 9.5% of males from Micronesia as well as 0.2% in East Timor carry what is believed to reflect recent admixture from Japan. That is, D-M116.1 (D1b1) is generally believed to be a primary subclade of D-M64.1 (D1b), possibly as a result of the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, Japanese military occupation of Southeast Asia during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
.


European people

The 2010 census results of Guam showed 7.1% were white while the 2005 census for Palau showed 8% were European. Smaller numbers at 1.9% in Palau and 1.8% in the Northern Mariana Islands were recorded as "white". In conjunction to the European communities there are large amounts of mixed Micronesians, some of which have European ancestry.


Languages

The largest group of languages spoken in Micronesia are the Micronesian languages. They are in the family of Oceanic languages, part of the Austronesian languages, Austronesian language group. They descended from the Proto-Oceanic language, Proto-Oceanic, which in turn descended via Proto-Malayo-Polynesian language, Proto-Malayo-Polynesian from Proto-Austronesian language, Proto-Austronesian. The languages in the Micronesian family are Marshallese language, Marshallese, Gilbertese language, Gilbertese, Kosraean language, Kosraean, Nauruan language, Nauruan, as well as a large sub-family called the Trukic–Ponapeic languages containing 11 languages. On the eastern edge of the Federated States of Micronesia, the languages Nukuoro language, Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi language, Kapingamarangi represent an extreme westward extension of the Polynesian languages, Polynesian branch of Oceanic. Finally, there are two Malayo-Polynesian languages spoken in Micronesia that do not belong to the Oceanic languages: Chamorro language, Chamorro in the
Mariana Islands The Mariana Islands (; also the Marianas; in ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorr ...
and Palauan language, Palauan in
Palau Palau (), officially the Republic of Palau ( pau, Beluu er a Belau) and historically ''Belau'', ''Palaos'' or ''Pelew'', is an island country in the western Pacific Ocean, Pacific. The nation has approximately 340 islands and connects the w ...

Palau
.


Culture


Animals and food

By the time Western contact occurred, although Palau did not have dogs, they did have fowls and maybe also pigs. Nowhere else in Micronesia were pigs known about at that time. Fruit bats are native to Palau, but other mammals are rare. Reptiles are numerous and both mollusks and fish are an important food source. The people of Palau, the Marianas and Yap often chew Areca nut, betel nuts seasoned with lime and pepper leaf. Western Micronesia was unaware of the ceremonial drink, which was called ''saka'' on Kosrae and ''sakau'' on Pohnpei.


Architecture

The book ''Prehistoric Architecture in Micronesia'' argues that the most prolific pre-colonial Micronesian architecture is: "Palau's monumental sculpted hills, megalithic stone carvings and elaborately decorated structure of wood placed on piers above elevated stone platforms". The archeological traditions of the Yapese people remained relatively unchanged even after the first European contact with the region during Magellan's 1520s circumnavigation of the globe.


Art

Micronesia's artistic tradition has developed from the
Lapita culture The Lapita culture is the name given to a prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by ...
. Among the most prominent works of the region is the megalithic floating city of
Nan Madol Nan Madol is an archaeological site adjacent to the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei, now part of the Madolenihmw district of Pohnpei state in the Federated States of Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. Nan Madol was the capital of th ...
. The city began in 1200 CE and was still being built when European explorers begin to arrive around 1600. The city, however, had declined by around 1800 along with the Saudeleur dynasty and was completely abandoned by the 1820s. During the 19th century, the region was divided between the colonialism, colonial powers, but art continued to thrive. Wood-carving, particularly by men, flourished in the region, resulted in richly decorated ceremonial houses in Belau, stylized bowls, canoe ornaments, ceremonial vessels and sometimes sculptured figures. Women created textiles and ornaments such as bracelets and headbands. Stylistically, traditional Micronesian art is streamlined and of a practical simplicity to its function, but is typically finished to a high standard of quality. This was mostly to make the best possible use of what few natural materials they had available to them. The first half of the 20th century saw a downturn in Micronesia's cultural integrity and a strong foreign influence from both western and Japanese Imperialist powers. A number of historical artistic traditions, especially sculpture, ceased to be practiced, although other art forms continued, including traditional architecture and weaving. Independence from colonial powers in the second half of the century resulted in a renewed interest in, and respect for, traditional arts. A notable movement of contemporary art also appeared in Micronesia towards the end of the 20th century.


Cuisine

The cuisine of the Mariana Islands is tropical in nature, including such dishes as Kelaguen as well as many others. Marshallese cuisine comprises the fare and foodways of the Marshall Islands, and includes local foods such as breadfruit, taro root, pandanus and seafood, among others. Palauan cuisine includes local foods such as cassava, taro, yam, potato, fish and pork. Western cuisine is favored among young Palauans.


Education

The educational systems in the nations of Micronesia vary depending on the country and there are several higher-level educational institutions. The CariPac consists of institutions of higher education in
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an in the subregion of the western . It is the and territory of the United States (reckoned from the ); in , it is the largest and southernmost of the and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is , and t ...

Guam
, the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territory Under Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the
Federated States of Micronesia The Federated States of Micronesia (; abbreviated FSM), or simply Micronesia, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is oft ...
, the
Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands ( mh, Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an independent near the in the , slightly west of the . Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of . The countr ...
and
Palau Palau (), officially the Republic of Palau ( pau, Beluu er a Belau) and historically ''Belau'', ''Palaos'' or ''Pelew'', is an island country in the western Pacific Ocean, Pacific. The nation has approximately 340 islands and connects the w ...

Palau
. The Agricultural Development in the American Pacific is a partnership of the University of Hawaii, American Samoa Community College, College of Micronesia, Northern Marianas College and the University of Guam. In the Federated States of Micronesia, education is required for citizens aged 6 to 13, and is important to their economy. The literacy rate for citizens aged 15 to 24 is 98.8%. The College of Micronesia-FSM has a campus in each of the four states with its national campus in the capital city of Palikir, Pohnpei. The COM-FSM system also includes the Fisheries and Maritime Institute (FMI) on the
Yap Yap ( yap, Waqaab) traditionally refers to an island group located in the Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island cha ...

Yap
islands. The public education in Guam is organized by the Guam Department of Education. Guam also has several educational institutions, such as University of Guam, Pacific Islands University and Guam Community College, There is also the Guam Public Library System and the Umatac Outdoor Library. Weriyeng is one of the last two schools of traditional navigation found in the central
Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically, they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the central and ...
in Micronesia, the other being Fanur. The Northern Marianas College is a two-year community college located in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
Northern Mariana Islands, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The College of the Marshall Islands is a community college in the Marshall Islands.


Law

''Understanding Law in Micronesia'' notes that The Federated States of Micronesia's laws and legal institutions are "uninterestingly similar to [those of Western countries]". However, it explains that "law in Micronesia is an extraordinary flux and flow of contrasting thought and meaning, inside and outside the legal system". It says that a knee-jerk reaction would be that law is disarrayed in the region and that improvement is required, but argues that the failure is "one endemic to the nature of law or to the ideological views we hold about law". The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a United Nations Trusteeship administered by the United States, borrowed heavily from United States law in establishing the Trust Territory Code during the Law and Development movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Many of those provisions were adopted by the new Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia when the Federated States of Micronesia became self-governing in 1979.


Media

In September 2007, journalists in the region founded the Micronesian Media Association.


Music and dance

Micronesian music is influential to those living in the Micronesian islands. Some of the music is based around mythology and ancient Micronesian rituals. It covers a range of styles from traditional songs, handed down through generations, to contemporary music. Traditional beliefs suggest that the music can be presented to people in dreams and altered state of consciousness, trances, rather than being written by composers themselves. Micronesian folk music is, like Music of Polynesia, Polynesian music, primarily vocal-based. In the Marshall Islands, the ''roro (chant), roro'' is a kind of traditional chant, usually about ancient legends and performed to give guidance during navigation and strength for mothers in labour. Modern bands have blended the unique songs of each island in the country with modern music. Though drums (musical instrument), drums are not generally common in Micronesian music, one-sided hourglass-shaped drums are a major part of Marshallese music. There is a traditional Marshallese dance called beet (dance), beet, which is influenced by Spanish folk dances; in it, men and women side-step in parallel lines. There is a kind of Tirere, stick dance performed by the Jobwa, nowadays only for very special occasions. Popular music, both from Micronesia and from other areas of the world, is played on radio stations in Micronesia.


Sports

The region is home to the Micronesian Games. This quadrennial international multi-sport event involves all of Micronesia's countries and territories except Wake Island.
Nauru Nauru ( or ; na, Naoero), officially the Republic of Nauru ( na, Repubrikin Naoero) and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, ter ...

Nauru
has two national sports, Olympic weightlifting, weightlifting and Australian rules football. According to 2007 Australian Football League International Census figures, there are around 180 players in the Nauru senior competition and 500 players in the junior competition, representing an participation rate of over 30% overall for the country.


Religion and mythology

Micronesian mythology comprises the traditional belief systems of the people of Micronesia. There is no single belief system in the islands of Micronesia, as each island region has its own mythological creature, mythological beings. There are several significant figures and myths in the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauruan and Kiribati traditions.


See also

* Flags of Oceania


References


Notes


Bibliography

* * * *


Further reading

*


External links


History of Micronesia


{{Authority control Micronesia, Regions of Oceania Asia-Pacific Islands of Oceania