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Micronesia

Map Courtesy CIA World Factbook

The Federated States of Micronesia are a constitutional government in free association with the United States, located in the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Papua New Guinea.

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 name Micronesia often refers to the Federated States, although it is the official name of the whole region.

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 passed from German control (1899), via Japanese (1914) to the United States 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.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Micronesia".