Micronesia

Micronesia ((UK: /ˌmaɪkrəˈniːziə/, US: /-ˈniːʒə/); from Greek: μικρός mikrós "small" and Greek: νῆσος nêsos "island") is a subregion of Oceania, composed of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a shared cultural history with two other island regions: Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south.

The region has a tropical marine climate and is part of the Oceania ecozone. There are four main archipelagos along with numerous outlying islands.

Micronesia is divided politically among several sovereign countries. One of these is the Federated States of Micronesia, which is often called "Micronesia" for short and is not to be confused with the overall region. The Micronesia region encompasses five sovereign, independent nations—the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Nauru—as well as three U.S. territories in the northern part: Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Wake Island.

Micronesia began to be settled several millennia ago, although there are competing theories about the origin and arrival of the first settlers.[1] The earliest known contact with Europeans occurred in 1521, when Spain reached the Marianas. The coinage of the term "Micronesia" is usually attributed to Jules Dumont d'Urville's usage in 1832; however, Domeny de Rienzi had used the term a year previously.[2]

Pohnpei of Micronesia
Romanum Island, Chuuk, Micronesia
Oceania UN Geoscheme - Map of Micronesia
Map of Micronesia (shown in dark magenta)

Geography

Pacific Culture Areas
Micronesia is one of three major cultural areas in the Pacific Ocean, along with Polynesia and Melanesia

Micronesia is a region that includes approximately 2100 islands, with a total land area of 2,700 km2 (1,000 sq mi), the largest of which is Guam, which covers 582 km2 (225 sq mi). The total ocean area within the perimeter of the islands is 7,400,000 km2 (2,900,000 sq mi).[3]

There are four main island groups in Micronesia:

Plus the island country of Nauru.

Caroline Islands

The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago consisting of about 500 small coral islands, north of New Guinea and east of the Philippines. The Carolines consist of two states: the Federated States of Micronesia, consisting of approximately 600 islands on the eastern side of the chain with Kosrae being the most eastern and Palau consisting of 250 islands on the western side.

Gilbert Islands

The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands, arranged in an approximate north-to-south line. In a geographical sense, the equator serves as the dividing line between the northern Gilbert Islands and the southern Gilbert Islands. The Republic of Kiribati contains all of the Gilberts, as well as the island of Tarawa, the site of the country's capital.

Mariana Islands

The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped 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 moving westward and plunging downward below the Mariana plate, a region which 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 under the Treaty of Paris, 1898, which ended the Spanish–American War. Spain then sold the remaining northerly islands to Germany in 1899. Germany lost all of her colonies at the end of World War I and the Northern Mariana Islands became a League of Nations Mandate, with Japan as the mandatory. After World War II, the islands were transferred into the United Nations Trust Territory System, with the 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

Laura beach n tree (170671778)
Beach scenery at Laura, Majuro, Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands are located north of Nauru and Kiribati, east of the Federated States of Micronesia and south of the U.S. territory of Wake Island. The islands consist of 29 low-lying atolls and 5 isolated islands,[4] comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The atolls and islands form two groups: the Ratak Chain and the Ralik Chain (meaning "sunrise" and "sunset" chains). All the islands in the chain are part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, a presidential republic in free association with the United States. Having few natural resources, the islands' wealth is based on a service economy, as well as some fishing and agriculture. Of the 29 atolls, 24 of them are inhabited.

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.[5] The islands are composed of low coral limestone and sand.[6] The average elevation is only about 2.1 metres (7 ft) above low tide level.

Castle Bravo Blast

Image of the Castle Bravo nuclear test, detonated on March 1, 1954, at Bikini Atoll

Cross spikes club

An illustration of the Cross Spikes Club[7] of the US Navy on Bikini Atoll, one of several Marshall Islands used for atomic bomb tests.

Kili Island - NASA Astronaut Photography

Kili Island is one of the smallest islands in the Marshall Islands.

Nauru

Nauru is an oval-shaped island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, 42 km (26 mi) south of the Equator, listed as the world's smallest republic, covering just 21 km2 (8 sq mi).[8] With 11,347 residents, it is the second least-populated country, after Vatican City. The island is surrounded by a coral reef, which is exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles.[9] The presence of the reef has prevented the establishment of a seaport, although channels in the reef allow small boats access to the island.[10] A fertile coastal strip 150 to 300 m (490 to 980 ft) wide lies inland from the beach.[9]

Aerial view of Nauru

Aerial view of Nauru

Nauru Denigomodu-Nibok

Nauruan districts of Denigomodu and Nibok

Wake Island

Wake Island is a coral atoll with a coastline of 19 km (12 mi) just north of the Marshall Islands. It is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States. Access to the island is restricted and all activities on the island are managed by the United States Air Force.

Wake Island by Agate

Wake Island as depicted by the United States Exploring Expedition, drawn by Alfred Thomas Agate

Wake Island air

Aerial view Wake Island, looking westward

Geology

The majority of the islands in the area are part of a coral atoll. Coral atolls begin as coral reefs that grow on the slopes of a central 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 in the Federated States of Micronesia, which still has the central volcano and coral reefs around it.

Fauna

Climate

The region has a tropical marine climate moderated by seasonal northeast trade winds. 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 typhoons.

History

Prehistory

Chronological dispersal of Austronesian people across the Pacific (per Bellwood in Chambers, 2008)
Chronological dispersal of Austronesian peoples across the Indo-Pacific[11]
Suicide Cliff in Saipan 3
Mount Marpi in Saipan.

Micronesia began to be settled several millennia ago, although there are competing theories about the origin and arrival of the first settlers.[1] There are numerous difficulties with conducting archaeological excavations in the islands, due to their size, settlement patterns and storm damage. As a result, much evidence is based on linguistic analysis.[12] The earliest archaeological traces of civilization have been found on the island of Saipan, dated to 1500 BCE or slightly before.[13]

Micronesian colonists gradually settled the Marshall Islands during the 2nd millennium BC, with inter-island navigation made possible using traditional stick charts.[14]

Construction of Nan Madol, a megalithic complex made from basalt lava logs in Pohnpei began as early as 1200 CE.

Map FM-Nan Madol

Central Nan Madol (map)

The prehistory of many Micronesian islands such as Yap is not known very well.[15]

Early European contact

The earliest known contact with Europeans occurred in 1521, when a Spanish expedition under Ferdinand Magellan reached the Marianas [16] 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.[17] 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", raising the possibility that earlier unrecorded contact had occurred.[18]

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. Marshall Islanders were encountered by Alvaro de Saavedra in 1529.[19] More certain recorded contact with the Yap islands occurred in 1625.[20]

Colonisation and conversion

In the early 17th century Spain colonized Guam, the Northern Marianas and the Caroline Islands (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/beginning of the 20th centuries for missionaries to fully convert the inhabitants of Melanesia; however, before a cultural contrast can even be made, one cannot neglect to take into account the fact that Melanesia has always had deadly strains of more malaria present in various degrees and distributions throughout its history {see: De Rays Expedition} and up to the present; in contrast, Micronesia does not and never seems to have had any malarial mosquitos nor pathogens on any of its islands in the past.[21]

German–Spanish Treaty of 1899

German new guinea 1888 1899
German New Guinea before and after the German-Spanish treaty of 1899

In the Spanish–American War, Spain lost many of its remaining colonies. In the Pacific, the United States took possession of the Spanish Philippines and Guam. On January 17, 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 February 12, 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

MapofTTPI
Map from 1961 of the US Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, formerly Japan's South Pacific Mandate.

In the early 20th century, the islands of Micronesia were divided between three foreign powers:

During 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 and were named the South Pacific Mandate. During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops and was bypassed by the Allied advance across the Pacific. Following Japan's defeat in World War II 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 Guam and Wake Island, which are U.S. territories and for the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

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.

States and dependencies

Country Population (July 2016 estimate)[22] Area (km2) Population density (/km2) Urban population Life expectancy Literacy rate Official language(s) Main religion(s) Ethnic groups
 Federated States of Micronesia 104,937 702 152.641 22% 71.23 89% English Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 47%, others 3% Chuukese 48.8%, Pohnpeian 24.2%, Kosraean 6.2%, Yapese 5.2%, Yap outer islands 4.5%, Asian 1.8%, Polynesian 1.5%, other 7.8%
 Guam (United States) 162,896 1,478 122.371 93% 78.18 99% English 38.3%, Chamorro 22.2%[23] Roman Catholic 85%, Buddhism 3.6, other religion 11.4% Chamorro 37.1%, Filipino 26.3%, other Pacific islander 11.3%, white 6.9%, other 8.6%, mixed 9.8%
 Kiribati 114,395 811 122.666 44% 64.03 92% English, Gilbertese (de facto) Roman Catholic 55%, Protestant 36% Micronesian 98.8%
 Marshall Islands 53,066 181 363.862 71% 71.48 93.7% Marshallese 98.2%, English Protestant 54.8%, other Christian 40.6% Marshallese 92.1%, mixed Marshallese 5.9%, other 2%
 Nauru 11,347 21 441.286 100% 64.99 99%[24] Nauruanf[›] Nauru Congregational Church 35.4%, Roman Catholic 33.2%, Nauru Independent Church (Protestant)[25] 10.4%, Baha'i faith 10%, Buddhism 9% Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%
 Northern Mariana Islands (United States) 55,023 464 104.131 91% 76.9 97% English, Chamorro and Carolinian[26] Roman Catholic, Buddhism 10.6% Asian 56.3%, Pacific islander 36.3%, White 1.8%, other 0.8%, mixed 4.8%
 Palau 21,503 459 45.488 81% 71.51 92% Paluan 64.7%d[›], English Roman Catholic 41.6%, Protestant 23.3% Palauan 69.9%, Filipino 15.3%, Chinese 4.9%, other Asian 2.4%, white 1.9%, Carolinian 1.4%, other Micronesian 1.1%, other 3.2%
Total 523,167 4,116 193.206 71.71% 71.19 94.93%

Economy

Nationally, the primary income is the sale of fishing rights to foreign nations that harvest tuna using huge purse seiners. A few Japanese 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, 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 Filipinos. Because of this mixture of descent, many of the ethnicities of Micronesia feel closer to some groups in Melanesia, or the Philippines. A good example of this are the Yapese people who are related to Austronesian tribes in the Northern Philippines.[27] A 2011 survey found that 93.1% of Micronesian are Christians.[28]

There are also substantial Asian communities found across the region, most notably in the 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.[29]

Indigenous groups

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, called Refaluwasch by native speakers, which has a total of about 5,700 speakers. The Carolinians have a 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 Spanish reduced the local population of Chamorro natives to just 3,700. They began to immigrate mostly sailing from small canoes from other islands, which a typhoon previously devastated. The Carolinians have a much darker complexion than the native Chamorros.

Chamorro people

Chamorro people in 1915
Chamorro people in 1915

The Chamorro people are the indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands, which are politically divided between the United States territory of 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 BC. They are most closely related to other Austronesian natives to the west in the Philippines and Taiwan, as well as the Carolines to the south.

The Chamorro language is included in the Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the 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.[30]

Chuukese people

The Chuukese people are an ethnic group in Oceania. They constitute 48% of the population of the Federated States of Micronesia. Their language is Chuukese. The home atoll of Chuuk is also known by the former name Truk.

Kaping people

The roughly 3000 residents of the Federated States of Micronesia that reside in Kapingamarangi, nicknamed 'Kapings', are both one of the most remote and most difficult people to visit in Micronesia and the entire world. Their home atoll is almost a 1,600 km (1,000 mi) round trip to the nearest point of immigration check-in and check-out. There are no regular flights. The only way to legally visit is to first check-in, travel on a high-speed sailboat to the atoll and then backtrack almost 800 km (500 mi). Owing to this difficulty, only a handful of the few sailors that travel across the Pacific will 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.

Nauruan people

The Nauruan people are an ethnicity inhabiting the Pacific island of Nauru. They are most likely a blend of other Pacific peoples.[31]

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, which established themselves there because there was not already an indigenous people present, whereas the Micronesians were already crossed with the Melanesians in this area.

Immigrant groups

Asian people

There are large 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.[32] According to the 2010 census results Guam was 26.3% Filipino, 2.2% Korean, 1.6% Chinese and 2% other Asian.[33] 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, Bangladeshi and Thai).[34] The 2010 census for the Federated States of Micronesia showed 1.4% were Asian while statistics for Nauru showed 8% of Nauruans were Chinese.[35][36] 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).[37]

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 has partial Japanese ancestry by way of his paternal grandfather.

European people

Languages of Micronesia.en
Languages of Micronesia.

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 language group. They are descended from the protolanguage Proto-Oceanic, which are developed from Proto-Austronesian.

The languages in the Micronesian family are Marshallese, Gilbertese, Kosraean, 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 and Kapingamarangi represent an extreme westward extension of Polynesian.

There are two languages spoken that do not belong to the Oceanic languages: Chamorro in the Mariana Islands and Palauan in 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.[38] The people of Palau, the Marianas and Yap often chew 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.[15]

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".[39] 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.[15]

Art

Micronesia's artistic tradition has developed from the Lapita culture. Among the most prominent works of the region is the megalithic floating city of Nan Madol. 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 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. [40] This was mostly to make the best possible use of what few natural materials they had available to them.[41]

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.[42]

Cuisine

The cuisine of the Mariana Islands is tropical in nature, including such dishes as Kelaguen as well as many 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, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and 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,[43] and is important to their economy.[44] The literacy rate for citizens aged 15 to 24 is 98.8%.[45] 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 islands.[46][47]

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[48] is one of the last two schools of traditional navigation found in the central Caroline Islands in Micronesia, the other being Fanur.[49]

The Northern Marianas College is a two-year community college located in the United States 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 messed up 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". [50]

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.[51]

Media

In September 2007, journalists in the region founded the Micronesian Media Association.[52]

Music and dance

Micronesian music is influential to those living in the Micronesian islands.[53] 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 trances, rather than being written by composers themselves. Micronesian folk music is, like Polynesian music, primarily vocal-based.

In the Marshall Islands, the 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 are not generally common in Micronesian music, one-sided hourglass-shaped drums are a major part of Marshallese music.[54] There is a traditional Marshallese dance called beet, which is influenced by Spanish folk dances. In it, men and women side-step in parallel lines. There is a kind of 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.[53]

Sports

The region is home to the Micronesian Games,[55] a quadrennial international multi-sport event involving all Micronesia's countries and territories except Wake Island.

Nauru has two national sports, weightlifting and Australian rules football.[56] 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,[57] representing an overall participation rate of over 30% 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 beings.

There are several significant figures and myths in the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauruan and Kiribati traditions.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b Kirch 2001, p. 167.
  2. ^ Rainbird 2004, p. 6.
  3. ^ Kirch 2001, p. 165.
  4. ^ "Geography". rmiembassyus.org. Archived from the original on 15 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Bikini Atoll Reference Facts". Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Marshall Islands". triposo.com.
  7. ^ "Operation Crossroads: Bikini Atoll". Navy Historical Center. Department of the Navy. Archived from the original on 21 May 2000. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  8. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (2011). "Nauru". The World Factbook. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Background Note: Nauru". State Department Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. September 2005. Retrieved 11 May 2006.
  10. ^ Thaman, RR; Hassall, DC. "Nauru: National Environmental Management Strategy and National Environmental Action Plan" (PDF). South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. p. 234.
  11. ^ Chambers, Geoff (2013). "Genetics and the Origins of the Polynesians". John Wiley & Sons, Inc. doi:10.1002/9780470015902.a0020808.pub2.
  12. ^ Lal 2000, p. 62.
  13. ^ Kirch 2001, p. 170.
  14. ^ The History of Mankind Archived 27 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine by Professor Friedrich Ratzel, Book II, Section A, The Races of Oceania page 165, picture of a stick chart from the Marshall Islands. MacMillan and Co., published 1896.
  15. ^ a b c Morgan, William N. (1988). Prehistoric Architecture in Micronesia. p. 30. ISBN 9780292786219.
  16. ^ Tucker, Spencer (2009). "The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars: A Political, Social, and Military History". ISBN 9781851099511.
  17. ^ Levesque, R. (Ed.) (1992–97). History of Micronesia: A collection of source documents, (Vol. 1–20). Quebec, Canada: Levesque Publications pp. 249, 251
  18. ^ Rainbird 2004, p. 13-14.
  19. ^ "Geological Survey Professional Paper".
  20. ^ Rainbird 2004, p. 14.
  21. ^ Ridgell, Reilly (1995). Pacific Nations and Territories: The Islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polonesia. p. 43. ISBN 9781573060011.
  22. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  23. ^ Languages of Guam Archived 23 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Ns.gov.gu. Retrieved on 2010-11-12.
  24. ^ Nauru. Talktalk.co.uk. Retrieved on 2010-11-12.
  25. ^ Nauru. Travelblog.org. Retrieved on 2010-11-12.
  26. ^ DOI Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) – Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Archived 9 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Doi.gov. Retrieved on 2010-11-12.
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Bibliography

  • Kirch, Patrick Vinton (2001). On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Contact. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-92896-1.
  • Lal, Brij V.; Fortune, Kate (2000). The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2265-1.
  • Rainbird, Paul (2004). The Archaeology of Micronesia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-65630-6.

Further reading

External links

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 eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end. Historically, this area was also called Nuevas Filipinas or New Philippines as they were part of the Spanish East Indies and governed from Manila in the Philippines.

The Carolines span a distance of approximately 3540 kilometers (2200 miles), from Tobi, Palau at the westernmost point to Kosrae at the easternmost.

Chuuk Lagoon

Chuuk Lagoon, also previously known as Truk Lagoon, is a sheltered body of water in the central Pacific. About 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) north-east of New Guinea, it is located mid-ocean at 7 degrees North latitude, and is part of Chuuk State within the Federated States of Micronesia. The atoll consists of a protective reef, 225 kilometres (140 mi) around, enclosing a natural harbour 79 by 50 kilometres (49 by 31 miles), with an area of 2,130 square kilometres (820 square miles). It has a land area of 93.07 square kilometres (35.93 square miles), with a population of 36,158 people and a maximal height of 443 m. Weno city on Moen Island functions as the atoll's capital and also as the state capital and is the largest city in the FSM with its 13,700 people.

Chuuk State

Chuuk State (also known as Truk) is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The other states are Kosrae State, Pohnpei State, and Yap State. It consists of several island groups:

Chuuk Lagoon

Nomwisofo

Hall Islands

Namonuito Atoll (Magur Islands) (northwest)

Pattiw (Western Islands)

Eastern Islands (Upper Mortlock Islands)

Mortlock IslandsChuuk is the most populous state of the FSM with 50,000 inhabitants on 120 square kilometres (46 square miles). Chuuk Lagoon is where most people live. Weno Island in the Lagoon functions as state capital and is FSM's biggest city.

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

The Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia has 14 non-partisan members: 10 members elected for a two-year term in 10 single-seat constituencies and 4 members elected for a four-year term, one from every state 'at large'.

Federated States of Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia ( (listen); abbreviated FSM and also known simply as Micronesia) is an independent republic associated to the United States. It consists of four states – from west to east, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae – that are spread across the Western Pacific Ocean. Together, the states comprise around 607 islands (a combined land area of approximately 702 km2 or 271 sq mi) that cover a longitudinal distance of almost 2,700 km (1,678 mi) just north of the equator. They lie northeast of New Guinea, south of Guam and the Marianas, west of Nauru and the Marshall Islands, east of Palau and the Philippines, about 2,900 km (1,802 mi) north of eastern Australia and some 4,000 km (2,485 mi) southwest of the main islands of Hawaii.

While the FSM's total land area is quite small, it occupies more than 2,600,000 km2 (1,000,000 sq mi) of the Pacific Ocean, giving the country the 14th largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world. The sovereign island nation's capital is Palikir, located on Pohnpei Island, while the largest city is Weno, located in the Chuuk Atoll.

Each of its four states is centered on one or more main high islands, and all but Kosrae include numerous outlying atolls. The Federated States of Micronesia is spread across part of the Caroline Islands in the wider region of Micronesia, which consists of thousands of small islands divided among several countries. The term Micronesia may refer to the Federated States or to the region as a whole.

The FSM was formerly a part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI), a United Nations Trust Territory under U.S. administration, but it formed its own constitutional government on May 10, 1979, becoming a sovereign state after independence was attained on November 3, 1986 under a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Other neighboring island entities, and also former members of the TTPI, formulated their own constitutional governments and became the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Republic of Palau (ROP). The FSM has a seat in the United Nations and has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1983.

Federated States of Micronesia–United States relations

Federated States of Micronesia–United States relations are bilateral relations between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States of America.

Guam

Guam ( (listen); Chamorro: Guåhån [ˈɡʷɑhɑn]) is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the easternmost point and territory of the United States, along with the Northern Mariana Islands. The capital city of Guam is Hagåtña and the most populous city is Dededo. The inhabitants of Guam are called Guamanians, and they are American citizens by birth. Indigenous Guamanians are the Chamorros, who are related to other Austronesian natives of Eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Guam has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1983.

In 2016, 162,742 people resided on Guam. Guam has an area of 210 square miles (540 km2; 130,000 acres) and a population density of 775 per square mile (299/km2). In Oceania, it is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and the largest island in Micronesia. Among its municipalities, Mongmong-Toto-Maite has the highest population density at 3,691 per square mile (1,425/km2), whereas Inarajan and Umatac have the lowest density at 119 per square mile (46/km2). The highest point is Mount Lamlam at 1,332 feet (406 m) above sea level. Since the 1960s, the economy has been supported by two industries: tourism and the United States Armed Forces.The indigenous Chamorros settled the island approximately 4,000 years ago. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, while in the service of Spain, was the first European to visit the island, on March 6, 1521. Guam was colonized by Spain in 1668 with settlers, including Diego Luis de San Vitores, a Catholic Jesuit missionary. Between the 16th century and the 18th century, Guam was an important stopover for the Spanish Manila Galleons. During the Spanish–American War, the United States captured Guam on June 21, 1898. Under the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded Guam to the United States on December 10, 1898. Guam is among the 17 non-self-governing territories listed by the United Nations.Before World War II, there were five American jurisdictions in the Pacific Ocean: Guam and Wake Island in Micronesia, American Samoa and Hawaii in Polynesia, and the Philippines.

On December 7, 1941, hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Guam was captured by the Japanese, who occupied the island for two and a half years. During the occupation, Guamanians were subjected to beheadings, forced labor, rape, and torture. American forces recaptured the island on July 21, 1944; Liberation Day commemorates the victory.An unofficial but frequently used territorial motto is "Where America's Day Begins", which refers to the island's close proximity to the international date line.

Japanese settlement in the Federated States of Micronesia

Japanese settlement in what now constitutes modern-day Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) dates back to the end of the 19th century, when Japanese traders and explorers settled on the central and eastern Carolines, although earlier contacts can not be completely excluded. After the islands were occupied by Japan in 1914, a large-scale Japanese immigration to them took place in the 1920s and 1930s. The Japanese government encouraged immigration to the islands belonging to the South Pacific Mandate to offset demographic and economic problems facing Japan at that time.

The earliest immigrants worked as traders, although most of the later settlers worked as fishermen, farmers or conscript labourers. The majority of immigrants settled in Pohnpei and Chuuk, while other islands were home for only a few Japanese. The total Japanese population reached about 100,000 by 1945. The Japanese immigrants in the central and eastern Carolines were Japanese, Okinawans, and a few Koreans. The settlers brought Shinto and Buddhism religions to the islands, although they were not popular with indigenous people. By 1945 the Japanese language replaced Micronesian languages in day-to-day communications.

Ethnic relations between the Japanese settlers and civil officers with the Micronesians were initially coordial and intermarriage was encouraged between the Japanese and Micronesians, although relations soured as the Japanese administration implemented policies that favoured the Japanese populace and were insensitive to Micronesian cultural norms. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, virtually all Japanese were repatriated back to Japan. People of mixed Japanese and Micronesian descent were allowed to remain, which most of them chose to do. Many of them assumed leading roles in the political, public and business sectors after World War II, and constitute a large minority within FSM itself. Micronesia began to engage with Japan again in the business and cultural spheres from the 1970s, and established formal diplomatic ties in 1988, two years after Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) became an independent country.

List of islands in the Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Islands are the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Three major groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean are Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. Depending on the context, Pacific Islands may refer to countries and islands with common Austronesian origins, islands once or currently colonized or Oceania. The indigenous inhabitants of the Pacific Islands are referred to as Pacific Islanders. This is a list of many of the major Pacific islands, organized by archipelago or political unit. In order to keep this list of moderate size, links are given to more complete lists for countries with large numbers of small or uninhabited islands.

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Marshallese: Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ), is an island country and a United States associated state near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, slightly west of the International Date Line. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia. The country's population of 53,158 people (at the 2011 Census) is spread out over 29 coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets.

The islands share maritime boundaries with the Federated States of Micronesia to the west, Wake Island to the north, Kiribati to the southeast, and Nauru to the south. About 27,797 of the islanders (at the 2011 Census) live on Majuro, which contains the capital. Data from the United Nations indicates an estimated population in 2016 of 53,066. In 2016, 73.3% of the population were defined as being "urban". The UN also indicates a population density of 295 per km2 (765 people per mi2) and its projected 2020 population is 53,263.Micronesian colonists reached the Marshall Islands using canoes circa 2nd millennium BC, with interisland navigation made possible using traditional stick charts. They eventually settled here. Islands in the archipelago were first explored by Europeans in the 1520s, starting with Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese at the service of Spain, Juan Sebastián Elcano and Miguel de Saavedra. Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar reported sighting an atoll in August 1526. Other expeditions by Spanish and English ships followed. The islands derive their name from British explorer John Marshall, who visited in 1788. The islands were historically known by the inhabitants as "jolet jen Anij" (Gifts from God).Spain claimed the islands in 1592, and the European powers recognized its sovereignty over the islands in 1874. They had been part of the Spanish East Indies formally since 1528. Later, Spain sold some of the islands to the German Empire in 1885, and they became part of German New Guinea that year, run by the trading companies doing business in the islands, particularly the Jaluit Company. In World War I the Empire of Japan occupied the Marshall Islands, which in 1920, the League of Nations combined with other former German territories to form the South Pacific Mandate. During World War II, the United States took control of the islands in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign in 1944. Nuclear testing began in 1946 and concluded in 1958.

The US government formed the Congress of Micronesia in 1965, a plan for increased self-governance of Pacific islands. The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1979 provided independence to the Marshall Islands, whose constitution and president (Amata Kabua) were formally recognized by the US. Full sovereignty or Self-government was achieved in a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Marshall Islands has been a member of the Pacific Community (SPC) since 1983 and a United Nations member state since 1991. Politically, the Marshall Islands is a presidential republic in free association with the United States, with the US providing defense, subsidies, and access to U.S.-based agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the United States Postal Service. With few natural resources, the islands' wealth is based on a service economy, as well as some fishing and agriculture; aid from the United States represents a large percentage of the islands' gross domestic product. The country uses the United States dollar as its currency. In 2018, it also announced plans for a new cryptocurrency to be used as legal tender.The majority of the citizens of the Republic of Marshall Islands, formed in 1982, are of Marshallese descent, though there are small numbers of immigrants from the United States, China, Philippines, and other Pacific islands. The two official languages are Marshallese, which is one of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, and English. Almost the entire population of the islands practices some religion, with three-quarters of the country either following the United Church of Christ – Congregational in the Marshall Islands (UCCCMI) or the Assemblies of God.

Micronesian 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 beings.

Music of the Federated States of Micronesia

The traditional music of the Federated States of Micronesia varies widely across the four states, and has, in recent times, evolved into popular music influenced by Europop, country music and reggae.

National Register of Historic Places listings in the Federated States of Micronesia

This is a list of the buildings, sites, districts, and objects listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the Federated States of Micronesia. There are currently 26 listed sites located in all 4 states of the Federated States of Micronesia.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted April 12, 2019.

Pacific Islander

Pacific Islanders or Pasifikas, are the peoples of the Pacific Islands. It is a geographic and often ethnic/racial term to describe the inhabitants of any of the three major sub-regions of Oceania: Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. These people speak various Austronesian languages. New Zealand has the largest concentration of Pacific Islanders in the world. However, the majority of its people are not identified as Pacific Islanders—instead during the 20th century and into the 21st century the country saw a steady stream of immigration from Polynesian countries such as Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Niue and French Polynesia.

Palau

Palau ( (listen), historically Belau, Palaos, or Pelew), officially the Republic of Palau (Palauan: Beluu er a Belau), is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. The country contains approximately 340 islands, forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia, and has an area of 466 square kilometers (180 sq mi). The most populous island is Koror. The capital Ngerulmud is located on the nearby island of Babeldaob, in Melekeok State. Palau shares maritime boundaries with the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The country was originally settled approximately 3,000 years ago by migrants from Insular Southeast Asia. The islands were first explored by Europeans in the 16th century, and were made part of the Spanish East Indies in 1574. Following Spain's defeat in the Spanish–American War in 1898, the islands were sold to Imperial Germany in 1899 under the terms of the German–Spanish Treaty, where they were administered as part of German New Guinea, although the islands were already represented in the Malolos Congress of the revolutionary First Philippine Republic. The Imperial Japanese Navy conquered Palau during World War I, and the islands were later made a part of the Japanese-ruled South Pacific Mandate by the League of Nations. During World War II, skirmishes, including the major Battle of Peleliu, were fought between American and Japanese troops as part of the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign. Along with other Pacific Islands, Palau was made a part of the United States-governed Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947. Having voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia in 1979, the islands gained full sovereignty in 1994 under a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Politically, Palau is a presidential republic in free association with the United States, which provides defense, funding, and access to social services. Legislative power is concentrated in the bicameral Palau National Congress. Palau's economy is based mainly on tourism, subsistence agriculture and fishing, with a significant portion of gross national product (GNP) derived from foreign aid. The country uses the United States dollar as its currency. The islands' culture mixes Micronesian, Melanesian, Asian, and Western elements. Ethnic Palauans, the majority of the population, are of mixed Micronesian, Melanesian, and Austronesian descent. A smaller proportion of the population is descended from Japanese and Filipino settlers. The country's two official languages are Palauan (a member of the Austronesian language family) and English, with Japanese, Sonsorolese, and Tobian recognized as regional languages.

Pohnpei

Pohnpei "upon (pohn) a stone altar (pei)" (formerly known as Ponape or Ascension) is an island of the Senyavin Islands which are part of the larger Caroline Islands group. It belongs to Pohnpei State, one of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Major population centers on Pohnpei include Palikir, the FSM's capital, and Kolonia, the capital of Pohnpei State. Pohnpei Island is the largest (334 km²), with a highest point (almost 800m), most populous (34,000 people), and most developed single island in the FSM.

Pohnpei also contains a wealth of biodiversity. It is also one of the wettest places on Earth with annual recorded rainfall exceeding 7,600 millimetres (300 in) each year in certain mountainous locations. It is home to the ka tree (Terminalia carolinensis) found only in Pohnpei and Kosrae.

Politics of the Federated States of Micronesia

The politics of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) takes place in a framework of a federal representative democratic republic. The President of the Federated States of Micronesia is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the president and his cabinet, while legislative power is vested in both the president and the Congress. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

The internal workings of the Micronesia are governed by the 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The Federation is in free association with the United States; the Compact of Free Association entered into force 3 November 1986.

Religion in the Federated States of Micronesia

Several Protestant denominations, as well as the Roman Catholic Church, are active in every Micronesian state. Most Protestant groups trace their roots to American Congregationalist missionaries. On the island of Kosrae, the population is approximately 7,800; (95% Protestant). On Pohnpei, the population of 35,000 is evenly divided between Protestants and Catholics (50% catholic & 50% Protestant). On Chuuk and Yap, (an estimated 60% Catholic & 40% Protestant). Religious groups with small followings include Baptists, Assemblies of God, Salvation Army, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and the Baha'i Faith. There is a small group of Buddhists on Pohnpei, (0.7% Buddhist) (population as of 2010). Attendance at religious services is generally high; churches are well supported by their congregations and play a significant role in civil society. The Ahmadiyya Muslims were registered in Kosrae in July 2015, despite strong public resistance against Islam in the country.Most immigrants are Filipino Catholics who have joined local Catholic churches. The Filipino Iglesia Ni Cristo also has a church in Pohnpei. In the 1890s, on the island of Pohnpei, intermissionary conflicts and the conversion of clan leaders resulted in religious divisions along clan lines which persist today. Protestants are the majority on the western side of the island, while Catholics are the majority on the eastern side. Missionaries of many religious traditions are present and operate freely. The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. The US government received no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice in 2007.

Visa policy of Micronesia

All visitors arriving in the Federated States of Micronesia must have a valid passport or other travel document issued by the government of the country of citizenship or nationality. The document must be valid for at least 120 days beyond the date of entry. Exception to this rule are the citizens and nationals of the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the United States who may also prove citizenship or nationality by birth certificate or entry permit. Their nationals are also issued an entry permit valid for up to a year. Other nationalities are allowed stay of 30 days that may be extended up to 60 days. Departure Tax applies.Micronesia signed a mutual visa-waiver agreement with the European Union on 20 September 2016. This agreement allows all citizens of states that are contracting parties to the Schengen Agreement to stay without a visa for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period.

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