Federated States of Micronesia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The article is about the sovereign state in Oceania; for the greater region of similar name, see Micronesia.
Micronesia, officially the Federated States of Micronesia, is an island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Papua New Guinea. The country is a sovereign state in free association with the United States.
The Federated States of Micronesia were formerly part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a United Nations Trust Territory under US administration. In 1979 they adopted a constitution, and in 1986 independence was attained under a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Present concerns include large-scale unemployment, overfishing, and overdependence on U.S. aid.
The Federated States of Micronesia are located in the region known as Micronesia, which consists of hundreds of small islands divided in seven territories. The term Micronesia may refer to the Federated States or to the region as a whole.
Main article: History of the Federated States of Micronesia
The ancestors of the Micronesians settled over 4,000 years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire centered on Yap.
Nan Madol, consisting of a series of small artificial islands linked by a network of canals, is often called the Venice of the Pacific. It is located near the island of Pohnpei and used to be the ceremonial and political seat of the Saudeleur dynasty that united Pohnpei's estimated 25,000 people from about AD 500 until 1500, when the centralized system collapsed.
European explorers - first the Portuguese in search of the Spice Islands (Indonesia) and then the Spanish - reached the Carolines in the 16th century, with the Spanish establishing sovereignty. It was sold to Germany in 1899, conquered by Japan in 1914, before being seized by the United States in WWII and administered by the US under United Nations auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
During World War II, a significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based in Truk Lagoon. In February 1944, Operation Hailstone, one of the most important naval battles of the war, took place at Truk, in which many Japanese support vessels and aircraft were destroyed.
On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia. The FSM signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States of America, which entered into force on November 3, 1986, marking Micronesia's emergence from trusteeship to independence.
- Main articles on politics and government of the Federated States of Micronesia can be found at the Politics and government of the Federated States of Micronesia series.
The Federated States of Micronesia are governed by the 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has 14 members elected by popular vote. Four senators - one from each state - serve 4-year terms; the remaining 10 senators represent single-member districts based on population, and serve 2-year terms. The President and vice president are elected by Congress from among the four state-based senators to serve 4-year terms in the executive branch. Their congressional seats are then filled by special elections. The president and vice president are supported by an appointed cabinet. There are no formal political parties.
In international politics, the Federated States of Micronesia are traditionally known as keen supporters of the State of Israel, voting almost consistently in its favor at the United Nations General Assembly.
Main article: Geography of the Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia consists of 607 islands extending 1,800 miles (2,900 km) across the archipelago of the Caroline Islands east of the Philippines. The four constituent island groups are Yap, Chuuk (called Truk until January 1990), Pohnpei (called Ponape until November 1984), and Kosrae. These four states are each represented by a white star on the national flag. The capital is Palikir, on Pohnpei.
Main article: Economy of the Federated States of Micronesia
Economic activity of the Federated States of Micronesia consists primarily of subsistence farming and fishing. The islands have few mineral deposits worth exploiting, except for high-grade phosphate. Long line tuna fishing is also viable with foreign vessels from Taiwan and China operated in the 1990's. The potential for a tourist industry exists, but the remoteness of the location and a lack of adequate facilities hinder development. Financial assistance from the US is the primary source of revenue, with the US pledged to spend $1.3 billion in the islands in 1986-2001. Geographical isolation and a poorly developed infrastructure are major impediments to long-term growth.
Main article: Demographics of the Federated States of Micronesia
The indigenous population of the Federated States of Micronesia, which is predominantly Micronesian, consists of various ethnolinguistic groups. English has become the common language. Population growth remains high at more than 3%, ameliorated somewhat by net emigration.
Main article: Culture of the Federated States of Micronesia.
Each of the four States has its own culture and traditions, but there are also common cultural and economic bonds that are centuries old. For example, cultural similarities like the importance of the traditional extended family and clan systems can be found on all the islands.
The island of Yap is notable for its stone money (Rai stones), large disks usually of calcite, up to 12 feet (4 m) in diameter, with a hole in the middle. The islanders know who owns which piece, but do not necessarily move them when ownership changes. There are five major types: Mmbul, Gaw, Ray, Yar, and Reng, this last being only 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter. Their value is based on both size and history, many of them having been brought from other islands, as far as New Guinea, but most coming in ancient times from Palau. Approximately 6,500 of them are scattered around the island.
- Communications in the Federated States of Micronesia
- Foreign relations of the Federated States of Micronesia
- Military of the Federated States of Micronesia
- Scouting in the Federated States of Micronesia
- Transport in the Federated States of Micronesia
- Jane's Federated States of Micronesia Home Page
- Trust Territory of the Pacific Archives at the University of Hawaii
- Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute - Federated States of Micronesia
- Nature.org - Micronesia environmental conservation
- Open Directory Project - Federated States of Micronesia directory category
- myMicronesia.com Online resource center about the islands of Micronesia. Provides free listings and links to all Micronesian businesses, as well as civic, cultural, health and educational organizations.
- Map of Micronesia
- Nan Madol islet complex Provides computer based reconstruction of the main islets and features.
- US-CIA. CIA - The World Factbook: Federated States of Micronesia. The World Factbook. United States of America: Central Intelligence Agency. 2003.
Australia : Australia · Norfolk Island · Christmas Island · Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Melanesia : East Timor · Fiji · Maluku Islands & Western New Guinea (part of Indonesia) · New Caledonia · Papua New Guinea · Solomon Islands · Vanuatu
Micronesia : Guam · Kiribati · Marshall Islands · Northern Mariana Islands · Federated States of Micronesia · Nauru · Palau
Polynesia : American Samoa · Cook Islands · French Polynesia · Hawaii · New Zealand · Niue · Pitcairn · Samoa · Tokelau · Tonga · Tuvalu · Wallis and Futuna