Micronesia History

Micronesia History

European discovery

In the 1st millennium BC Various tribes already lived on some of the islands that are now part of the Federated States of Micronesia. The origin of the peoples in New Guinea is suspected.

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The Spanish navigator Francisco Lazeano was the first European to explore the islands, which he named the Carolines in honor of the Spanish King Charles II. After several unsuccessful attempts to convert the local population to Christianity, Spain lost interest in the islands again. It was not until the end of the 19th century that Spain renewed its claim to the Carolines in competition with the United States and the German Empire. In 1899, the Spanish leadership sold the islands (together with the island of Palau in the west and the Mariana Islands in the east) to the German Empire for a total of around 18 million gold marks.

The two world wars

Shortly after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Japanese troops occupied the Caroline Islands. Five years later the islands were declared a trustee area of ​​the League of Nations under Japanese administration. In 20 years, more than 7,000 Japanese settlers came to the islands. On the larger volcanic islands, which had fertile soils, economic exploitation began by creating extensive sugar cane plantations. According to AbbreviationFinder, coconut palms were planted on the coral islands to extract coconut oil and copra. Mining of the few raw materials available began on the islands of Yap and Pohnpei. In 1935, Japan began expanding military bases on the islands.

During the Second World War, the Carolines were the scene of fierce battles between the U.S. and Japanese forces. In the state of Truk (Chuuk), the wrecks of more than 60 Japanese ships from World War II still lie in a lagoon, which have since been declared a historical underwater monument.

In 1944, the United States conquered the Carolines, which were declared a United Nations trust area after the end of World War II (together with Palau and the Mariana Islands). Over the next few decades, the area served the United States as a base for conventional and nuclear weapons. Several U.S. nuclear weapons tests were conducted on the neighboring Marshall Islands.

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Micronesia independence

In 1979 the four districts of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Truk (Chuuk) and Yap merged and unilaterally declared independence as the “Federated States of Micronesia”. A joint Federal Republican constitution, which is still in force today, provided for each of the four states a separate parliament and a separate governor. The President and Congress were based on the island of Pohnpei.

In 1986, the Federated States of Micronesia was recognized by the United States after the conclusion of a free association agreement: This provided for the limited sovereignty of the state, whose foreign policy interests were represented by the United States. The United States was also contractually granted the establishment of military bases on the islands. In return, the island nation received extensive economic aid.

The Federated States of Micronesia received final independence in December 1990 when the United States’ trust was declared dissolved by the United Nations. The country’s head of state and government has been Bailey Olter since 1990. A free association agreement continues to connect the islands with the United States, which retained responsibility for defense.

In 1991 the island nation was admitted to the United Nations. In 1997 Jacob Nena became the new head of state, and in May 1999 Leo Falcam took over the office of president and head of government. He continued his predecessor’s efforts to reduce the island nation’s financial dependence on the United States by expanding fishing and tourism. He was replaced by Joseph J. Urusemal in 2003. He was followed in May 2007 by Emanuel (Manny) Mori.

Micronesia President