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Geography of the Federated States of Micronesia

Learn Information about the Island Nation of Micronesia

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Federated States of Micronesia Flag

The Federated States of Micronesia flag is light blue with four white five-pointed stars centered; the stars are arranged in a diamond pattern.

Source: CIA World Factbook, 2007
Updated July 14, 2011

Population: 106,836 (July 2011 estimate)
Capital: Palikir
Area: 271 square miles (702 sq km)
Coastline: 3,797 miles (6,112 km)
Highest Point: Dolohmwar at 2,595 feet (791 m)

The Federated States of Micronesia, shortened to Micronesia for this article, is an island nation located in Oceania about 1,802 miles (2,900 km) north of Australia. It is made up of four different states (Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap) and its area includes around 607 small islands that are spread out over 1,678 miles (2,700 km) of the Pacific Ocean. The islands themselves however cover an area of just 271 square miles (702 sq km).

History of Micronesia

It is believed that people first settled in what is present-day Micronesia and the Caroline Islands over 4,000 years ago. At that time, the area's population was spread throughout the islands and was ruled under a series of chieftains. Eventually however the system became more centralized and an economic and religious empire developed and was centered in Yap and Phonpei (U.S. Department of State).

The first Europeans to reach the islands were the Portuguese who were searching for the Spice Islands, followed by the Spanish who landed on the Caroline Islands (now a part of Micronesia and Palau) in the 16th century (U.S. Department of State). In 1899 control of Micronesia was passed onto Germany and in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles the islands went to Japan. The islands then remained under Japanese control until the end of World War II, at which time they became a part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific. At this time, Micronesia was administered by the United States.

Micronesia later gained its independence on May 10, 1979 when four of the UN Trust Territory districts drafted a constitution and became the Federated States of Micronesia. These four former Trust Territory districts are now the four states of Micronesia.

Government of Micronesia

Today the government of Micronesia is considered a constitutional one that is in free association with the United States (CIA World Factbook). It has an executive branch of government that is made up of a chief of state and a head of government, both of which are the country's president, and a unicameral Congress for its legislative branch. Micronesia's judicial branch is composed of a Supreme Court. The country is also divided into four official states for local administration.

Economics and Land Use in Micronesia

Micronesia has a small economy that is based primarily on subsistence farming and fishing. There are some mineral resources on the islands as well as tourism, but their remote location and lack of development make these only a small part of the islands' economy. The main agricultural products of Micronesia are black pepper, tropical fruits and vegetables, coconuts, bananas, cassava, sakau , Kosraen citrus, betel nuts, sweet potatoes, pigs, chickens and fish (CIA World Factbook). Other industries of Micronesia include small craft items, fish processing and some aquaculture.

Geography and Climate of Micronesia

Micronesia is a group of over 600 islands in the region of Oceania (map). The islands within the Federative States of Micronesia are located about "three quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia" and are a part of the Micronesia sub region of Oceania (CIA World Factbook). The islands are also located just north of the Earth's equator. Most of Micronesia's islands are undeveloped and they are divided into four states. The states are Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap and Micronesia's capital, Palikir is located in Pohnpei.

The topography of Micronesia is highly variable depending on the islands. Some of the islands are very rugged and mountainous, while others are low elevation coral atolls. There are also volcanic outcroppings located on Pohnpei, Kosrae and Chuuk.

The climate of Micronesia is tropical due to its location near the equator. As such, it is warm and rainy year round. The eastern portions of Micronesia's islands are also frequently subjected to typhoons.

To learn more about Micronesia, visit the Geography and Maps page on Micronesia on this website.

References

Central Intelligence Agency. (25 May 2011). CIA - The World Factbook - Federated States of Micronesia. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fm.html

Infoplease.com. (n.d.). Micronesia: History, Geography, Government, and Culture- Infoplease.com. Retrieved from: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107783.html

United States Department of State. (8 February 2011). Micronesia. Retrieved from: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1839.htm

Wikipedia.org. (10 July 2011). Federated States of Micronesia - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federated_States_of_Micronesia

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