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Micronesia

By Edited Jan 27, 2016 1 0

The Flag of Micronesia

Early History

The now Federated State of Micronesia was discovered over 4,000 years ago. It was a Portuguese navigator named Fernão de Magalhães who first come upon Micronesia on March 6,1521. This navigator had originally set out to sail around the world and was actually searching for the Spice Islands when his crew discovered Yap and Ulithi which were part of the Caroline Islands along with the Mariana Islands, which were located in the northern part of the Micronesia island group. He anchored his ship in Guam, the largest island in Micronesia. Later, during some Spanish expeditions contact between the Spanish and Europeans settlers occurred at which time a general named Miguel Lopez de Legazpi claimed Guam for Spain. In 1668, the Spanish established the first colony with settlers. One of these settlers was a Spanish Jesuit missionary named Padre San Vitores. Padre San Vitores with the help of Chief Kapuha established the first Catholic church in Guam on February 2, 1669 at Hagåtña. Due to the infiltration of settlers the Spanish established sovereignty over the Caroline Islands.

An Independent Island Nation

After the Spanish-American war in 1898, Guam was surrendered to the United State as part of the Treaty of Paris and it became a U.S. insular area. The following year, Spain withdrew from the Pacific insular area. Spain sold it's interest to Germany. The Japanese navy took military possession of three of the major island from the Germans in 1914. In 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles, it came under the control of the Japanese. In 1947, after World War II, the islands of Micronesia became part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The Trust Territory was administered by the United States and it was designated as a "Security Trusteeship." On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution making Micronesia into the Federated States of Micronesia. The districts of Palau, the Marshall and Northern Mariana Island chose not to participate. November 3, 1986 marks the day that The Federated States of Micronesia became an independent island nation after signing the Compact of Free Association with the United States. This Compact was later amended in 2004.

The Great Melting Pot

The early ancestor's of the Micronesia people are a heterogeneous melting pot of many different nationalities, cultures, customs, languages, traditions, and artistic practices. Even though these people are considered Micronesians, they are in essence a mixed bag of many races from the Austronesian speakers that were located there in the beginning, to the immigration of Polynesians, Europeans, Spaniards, and Germans and others that came later. Each entity that migrated or occupied the area left behind many influences that have developed into the Micronesian culture and economy. The early chieftain-like society lived off of hunting and fishing. They prized their canoes. The Spaniards established the churches and brought religion into the forefront of the people. While the Germans occupied Micronesia they encouraged the development of trade. They also encouraged the production of copra which comes from the coconut. When the Japanese controlled Micronesia over 100,000 Japanese people migrated to the area and lived amongst the 40,000 indigenous people of the island Sugar cane production became the main source for the economy as well as mining, fishing, and tropical agriculture. Today Micronesia's economy is based on farming, fishing, mineral deposits, and tourism.

The Geographical Layout of the Land

Micronesia is comprised of four island states - Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. Pohnpei is home to the capital which is Palikir. The area is made up of 607 islands and atolls that cover one million square miles. These islands and atolls are called the Western and Eastern Caroline Islands. The terrain of these islands varies from high mountains islands to low coral atolls. There are volcanic outcropping on Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk.

The Climate

The climate in Micronesia is typically hot, humid, and tropical. There is a dry season that lasts between December and April. The rainy season last between April and December with a particularly heavy rainfall between July and October, especially in the eastern islands. The temperatures range between 26 and 32 C with water temperatures at around 29C. Located on the edge of the typhoon belt, Micronesia occasionally receives heavy damage, flooding, and erosion during the months July through mid-November. This rarely ever happens.

The People

The total population count was estimated to be at 108,105 as of July 2005. The ethnic characteristic of the people are Micronesians, but they are made up of melting pop of many people or different origins and cultures. Many of the inhabitants of Pohnpei State are Polynesian. The official language is English. There are eight different distinct languages spoken their, but English is the official language for commerce. Each of the four states in the island nation embody different cultural characteristics and traditions. In Kosrae, the religion is steeped deep in tradition, and in Chuuk it is the clan system that makes up there culture. Yap is comprised of a strong castle system, where as Pohnpei has become a more western culture. For the most part, their similarities are evident in their commitment to traditional extended families and clan systems.

The Government and The Military

Under Micronesia's constitution there are three branches of government-Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. They have their own Declaration of Rights that are similar to the U.S. that are carried out by their state governments. They hold nationwide democratic elections for the National and State governments every two to four years. They have a President, Vice-President, Speaker, Chief Justice, and Cabinet. They have a unicameral congress made up of 14 senatorial seats that are determined by population. They also have many governmental departments, a Postmaster General, and a Social Security Administration to name a few. All though the Federated States of Micronesia is a self-governing entity independent of the United States, it's military defenses is still under the control of the United States Military. there is a military police force that the residents can join if they are between the ages of 18 and 49.

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