Located between the Philippines and Hawaii, the Federated States of Micronesia, or simply Micronesia, is a scattered group of islands in the western Pacific Ocean. If you’re thinking of ‘off the beaten path’, there can’t be a better place!
Micronesia comprises four states viz., Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, which collectively consist of 607 big and small islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Interestingly, Federated States of Micronesia is only 271 square miles in area, but it seems really gargantuan as the islands cover more than 1,003,866 square miles of the ocean!
The people of Micronesia can be divided among four major language groups. Linguistic evidence tells us that the current Micronesians may have migrated from the Philippines and Indonesia over 4,000 years ago.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to set foot on the islands. Then in the mid-16th century, the Spanish officially colonized the region.
Spain held its sway until 1899, when it sold the islands to Germany. History says that the Germans established a pretty lucrative copra trade there.
In 1914, after World War I began, the Japanese took control and developed the island of Chuuk as their major military base.
Micronesia remained under Japanese control till 1944. But the Japanese never promoted economic development on the islands, owing to which the economy was largely in ruins by the time World War II ended.
Geographically speaking, Federated States of Micronesia is part of the Caroline Islands archipelago. After World War II, these islands were collectively declared as a US Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI).
On May 10, 1979, a constitutional government was established in Micronesia, and on November 3, 1986, it attained independence from the colonial rule and became a full-fledged sovereign state.
Even after becoming a sovereign state, Micronesia continues to use the US Dollar as its official currency, and also depends on the US for much of its developmental aid.
Fishing is the main industry in Micronesia and is very lucrative. Apart from that, there is no other major industry in the country.
If you love partying all night, you’ll be very disappointed in Micronesia as the concept of nightlife is practically non-existent in the country. All bars and restaurants shut down by 10 pm each night.
Micronesia has only one local newspaper - the Kaselehlie Press – that is published only once in two weeks.
Among the four Micronesian states, Kosrae is the safest as the crime rate here is extremely low.
Never try to enter a village empty-handed in Yap. To make your intentions known, carry a relevant artifact in your hands or carry a green leaf to tell them that you come in peace. Entering empty-handed indicates that you’ve ill intentions.
Chuuk has been named as the ‘wreck diving capital of the world’. The Chuuk Lagoon has more than 50 Japanese shipwrecks from the World War II Operation Hailstorm!
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Venice of the Pacific’, Nan Madol is a ruined city situated on the shore of Pohnpei island. This ancient city is as big as Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.
Despite having so many islands, there aren’t many beaches in Micronesia. Most of these islands are actually volcanic outcrops, which are surrounded by rocks and mangroves.