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Caroline Islands

Caroline Islands, archipelago, c.830 sq mi (2,150 sq km), W Pacific, just north of the equator. The largest islands are Palau (Belau), Yap, Chuuk (Truk), Pohnpei (Ponape), and Kosrae. The islands are fertile and rich in minerals. There are deposits of phosphate, guano, bauxite, and iron; coconuts, sugarcane, and tapioca are produced. The chief exports are dried bonito, copra, and tapioca. Most of the inhabitants are Micronesian, but in the eastern islands there are some Polynesians. There is evidence of Chinese contact with the western islands in the 7th cent. AD The first Europeans to visit the Carolines were the Spanish in 1526, but the islands did not come under Spain's control until 1886. After the Spanish-American War the islands were sold (1899) to Germany. They were occupied in 1914 by the Japanese, who in 1920 were given a League of Nations mandate over them. Annexed to Japan in 1935, the islands were heavily bombed prior to American occupation during World War II. The Carolines were placed under U.S. administration by the United Nations in 1947, becoming part of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The islands are now divided between two separate political entities: the Federated States of Micronesia, which became independent in 1986, and Palau, which became independent in 1994; both nations have compacts of free association with the United States.

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Caroline Islands

CAROLINE ISLANDS

CAROLINE ISLANDS. In the American drive across the Central Pacific in World War II, Truk atoll, near the center of the Caroline Islands, was the target of attacks from carrier and land-based bombers in April 1944. Later that year, to protect the right flank of General Douglas MacArthur's return to the Philippines, key positions in the Palaus in the western Carolines were selected for amphibious landings. Pelelieu Island, strongly fortified and defended by about 13,000 Japanese, was assaulted on 15 September. Organized resistance ended on 27 November at the cost of almost 10,500 American casualties. Meanwhile, elements of the Eighty-first Infantry Division captured the neighboring island of Angaur and Ulithi atoll. Ulithi was promptly converted into a major U.S. naval base.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Haynes, William E. "On the Road to Tokio." Wisconsin Magazine of History 76, no. 1 (1992): 21–50.

Ross, Bill D. Peleliu: Tragic Triumph. New York: Random House, 1991.

Smith, Robert Ross. The Approach to the Philippines. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1996. The original edition was published in 1953.

Philip A.Crowl/a. r.

See alsoPeleliu ; Philippine Sea, Battle of the ; Philippines ; World War II, Navy in .

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Caroline Islands

Caroline Islands Archipelago of c.600 volcanic islands, coral islets and reefs in the w Pacific Ocean, n of the Equator; part of the US Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Politically the islands exist as two entities. In 1979 all the islands except the Belau group became the Federated States of Micronesia. Area: 1130sq km (450sq mi).

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