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Micronesia, Federated States of

MICRONESIA,
FEDERATED STATES OF

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS MICRONESIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

CAPITAL: Palikir, Pohnpei Island

FLAG: Adopted in 1978, the flag is light blue, bearing four five-pointed stars arranged in a diamond in the center.

ANTHEM: Patriots of Micronesia (adopted in 1991).

MONETARY UNIT: The US dollar is the official medium of exchange.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: British units are used, as modified by US usage.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Federated States of Micronesia Day, 10 May; Independence Day, 3 November; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: In Pohnpei and Kosrae, 10 pm = noon GMT; in Yap and Truk, 9 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is located in the western Pacific Ocean within the Carolinian archipelago. The four states consist of 607 islands with a total area of 7,866 sq km (3,037 sq mi), comprising 702 sq km (271 sq mi) of land, and 7,164 sq km (2,766 sq mi) of lagoons. Comparatively, the area occupied by the FSM is slightly less than four times the size of Washington, DC. Kosrae, the smallest and easternmost state, consists of five closely situated islands. Pohnpei consists of the single large island of Pohnpei and 25 smaller islands within a barrier reef, in addition to 137 outer islands, of which the major atolls are Mokil, Pingelap, Kapingamarangi, Nukjuoro, and Ngatik. Truk includes the large Truk lagoon, enclosing 98 islands, and major outer island groups, including the Mortlocks, Halls, Western, and Namwunweito islands. Yap, the westernmost state, consists of 4 large islands and 7 smaller islands surrounded by barrier reefs, in addition to 134 outer islands, of which the largest groups are Ulithi and Woleai. The cumulative coastline distance is 6,112 km (3,798 mi).

The capital city of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palikir, is located on the island of Pohnpei.

TOPOGRAPHY

The 607 islands constituting the four states include large, mountainous islands of volcanic origin and coral atolls. Kosrae is largely mountainous, with two peaks, Fenkol (634 m/2,080 ft) and Matanti (583 m/1,913 ft). Pohnpei contains a large volcanic island, with the highest elevation that of Mt. Totolom (791 m/2,595 ft). Truk contains 14 islands that are mountainous and of volcanic origin. Yap contains four large high islands, with the peak elevation that of Mt. Tabiwol (178 m/584 ft). The outer islands of all states are mostly coral atolls. Though the country is not generally known to have major earthquakes, a 6.6 magnitude quake occurred on Yap on 16 January 2005.

CLIMATE

The climate is maritime tropical, with little seasonal or diurnal variation in temperature, which averages 27°c (80°f). The islands are subject to typhoons. The short and torrential nature of the rainfall, which decreases from east to west, results in an annual average of 508 cm (200 in) in Pohnpei and 305 cm (120 in) in Yap.

FLORA AND FAUNA

There is moderately heavy tropical vegetation, with tree species including tropical hardwoods on the slopes of the higher volcanic islands and coconut palms on the coral atolls. The only native land mammal is the tropical bat. A rich marine fauna inhabits the open sea, reefs, lagoons, and shore areas.

ENVIRONMENT

Solid waste disposal in urban areas is a continuing problem and the land is threatened by toxic pollutants from mining operations. Micronesia's water supply is also threatened by industrial and agricultural pollutants. Population increases in urban areas. Untreated sewage and contaminants from industrialized countries in the region add to the problem of water pollution.

United Nations (UN) research shows that global warming and the rise of sea levels are a threat to Micronesia's forests, agricultural areas, and water supply. Pollution from industrial and agricultural sources also threatens the nation's mangrove areas. The fish population is endangered by waterborne toxins and explosives used in commercial fishing. The country also has a problem with the degeneration of its reefs due to tourism. In 1984, the government established an FSM Environmental Protection Board.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included six types of mammals, eight species of birds, two types of reptiles, six species of fish, four types of mollusks, and four species of plants. Threatened species include the chuuk flying-fox, the chuuk monarch, and the Mortlock Islands flying-fox. The Kosrae crake and the Kosrae mountain starling have become extinct.

POPULATION

The population of Federated States of Micronesia in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 108,000, which placed it at number 177 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 4% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 40% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 102 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 2.1%, a rate the government viewed as too high. The projected population for the year 2025 was 115,000. The overall population density was 154 per sq km (400 per sq mi). The majority of the population lives in the coastal areas of the high islands, leaving the mountainous interiors largely uninhabited.

The UN estimated that 22% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 2.17%. The capital city, Palikir, Pohnpei Island, had a population of 7,000 in that year. Population estimates for other large urban areas included 53,700 in Truk; 34,486 in Pohnpei; 13,900 in Yap; and 7,317 in Kosrae.

MIGRATION

No significant permanent emigration has occurred; most emigration has been undertaken temporarily for higher education. The total number of migrants in 2000 was 3,000. In 2005, the net migration rate was -21.01, a significant change from 11.65 migrants per 1,000 population in 1999. The government views the emigration levels as too high.

ETHNIC GROUPS

The islanders are classified as Micronesians of Malayo-Mongoloid origins. The people of the Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi atolls in southwestern Pohnpei are of Polynesian descent. In total, there are nine ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups. Noncitizens are prohibited from owning land and holding certain occupations. Non-Micronesians are generally not granted citizenship.

LANGUAGES

English is the official language and is taught in the schools. The indigenous languages are of the Malayo-Polynesian family. Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Trukese, Pohnpeian, and Kosraean are classed as Malaysian. Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro, spoken on two isolated atolls of the same names in Pohnpei, are Polynesian languages.

RELIGIONS

Roman Catholicism and Protestantism have been widely accepted throughout the country following their introduction by missionaries in the 1880s. Protestantism is predominant in Kosrae. The largest Protestant denomination is the United Church of Christ. Others include Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Mormon, the Salvation Army, Jehovah's Witness, and Assemblies of God. Roman Catholics are dominant on Chuuk and Yap. There is a small Buddhist community of Pohnpei. There are also a small number of Baha'is in the country. The constitution provides for religious freedom and a bill of rights specifically prohibits the establishment of a state religion.

TRANSPORTATION

As of 2002, there were 240 km (149 mi) of roadways on the major islands, of which 42 km (26 mi) are paved. Over 90% of all vehicles are located on the main islands of Pohnpei, Moen (in Truk), Kosrae, and Yap. The state of Yap provides public bus transportation, primarily used by students. International shipping services are provided by eight companies, some of them Japanese. There are commercial harbor facilities at Kolonia, Moen, Okat, and Colonia. The Federated States of Micronesia's merchant fleet, as of 2005, consisted of two vessels (one cargo and one passenger/cargo of 1,000 GRT or more) totaling 2,423 GRT. Interisland shipping service is provided by six government-owned vessels. In 2005, there were an estimated six airports, all of which had paved runways. International and interstate scheduled airline services are provided by Continental/Air Micronesia, Air Nauru, and Pacific Missionary Aviation.

HISTORY

The Carolinian archipelago was sighted by European navigators in the 16th century. In 1686 the Spanish captain Francisco Lezcano named Yap Island "La Carolina" after King Charles II of Spain; the name was later generalized to the islands as a whole. Until the end of the 19th century, the islands were under Spanish colonial administration. In 1899 following the Spanish-American War, Spain sold the islands to Germany. Japanese administration commenced at the end of World War I, and in 1947, following World War II, the four states of the FSM came under US administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Beginning in the 1960s, the people of Micronesia began making clear their desire for political independence. The United States, ever interested in maintaining good relations with the strategically significant Pacific islands, gave in to such demands and helped Micronesia to form a consultative body, called the Congress of Micronesia, in 1967. The congress declared the area sovereign in 1970. The history of the FSM as a political entity began on 12 July 1978, when a constitution drafted by a popularly elected constitutional convention was adopted; it went into effect on 10 May 1979. The government of the FSM and the government of the United States executed a Compact of Free Association in October 1982; in November 1986, that compact went into effect. Under the Compact of Free Association, the United States is responsible for defense and security issues. The UN Security Council voted in December 1990 to terminate the FSM's status as a UN Trust Territory. A new capital was built about 10 km (6 mi) southwest of Kolonia in the Palikir Valley; it has served the FSM since 1990.

The FSM became an independent state and joined the UN in September 1991. John R. Haglelgam of Yap was elected FSM's president in 1987. In May 1991 Bailey Olter of Pohnpei defeated Haglelgam in the presidential election. Olter was reelected to a second term in 1995, as was vice president Jacob Nena. On 18 July 1996 Olter suffered a stroke and underwent treatment in Texas. Nena served as acting president while Olter was incapacitated. When Olter was unable to resume his duties, Nena became the FSM's fourth president on 8 May 1997. In a new election Leo A. Falcam, of Pohnpei, was elected vice president. In the May 1999 elections Falcam was elected president and Redley Killion, of Chuuk, was elected vice president. Joseph J. Urusemal was elected president in 2003, and Redley Killion vice president.

The first Compact of Free Association between the FSM and the United States expired in 2001. Prior to beginning negotiations and before any other assistance was considered, the United States requested a full accounting of the approximately $3 billion in US funding provided to FSM since 1986. During further discussions of the compact in 2000, the United States suggested that restrictions on Micronesian immigration might be tied to future funding. In May 2003, after four years of discussion, negotiators agreed upon an amended document providing 20 years of ongoing assistance in the amount of approximately $76 million per year; US president George W. Bush signed the compact in December 2003. The payments were to be made according to a schedule of reduced annual grants, with the goal that FSM would establish trust funds and attain greater financial independence. In 2005, the US Government Accounting Office (GAO) expressed concern that FSM was handling the funds without sufficient accountability and oversight, and went so far as to suspend some funds earmarked for education in Chuuk because they were misused.

Faichuk has been seeking independence from Chuuk since the 1960s. In March 2005 a congressional bill was introduced formally seeking that Faichuk become the fifth state of the FSM.

Beginning in the late-1990s and continuing into the new millennium, global warming and the possibility of rising sea levels have raised concern over the long-term prospects for the islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has suggested that the sea could rise by about. 5 m (18 in) by 2100, but that figure could be much lower or higher. The existence of low-lying nations such as FSM would be threatened by any rise in sea level.

GOVERNMENT

The national executive branch includes the president and vice president, elected by the congress from its membership, who serve a four-year term and may not be from the same state. The principal officers of the executive branch are appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of congress. The judiciary consists of a Supreme Court that applies criminal and civil laws and procedures closely paralleling those of the United States. The legislature consists of a unicameral congress of 14 senators. Of the senators, four are elected at large on the basis of state equality and ten on the basis of population apportionment, with five from Truk, three from Pohnpei, and one each from Yap and Kosrae. The four at-large senators serve four-year terms and the remaining senators serve two-year terms. Congressional elections were held in all four states (Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap) to fill the ten two-year seats in March 2005. The next elections for the legislature were scheduled to be held in March 2007; elections for president were scheduled for May 2007.

POLITICAL PARTIES

There are no formal political parties.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The state executive branch consists of state governors and lieutenant-governors, popularly elected for four-year terms. The state legislative branch consists of members popularly elected on the basis of proportional representation, numbering 20 in Pohnpei, 30 in Truk, 13 in Kosrae, and 9 in Yap. Municipalities are districts composed of a number of small communities (sections), some of which may be located in different islands.

Municipal government is considered by many to be the most important level of government in Micronesia. The leaders of local bodies are generally tribal chiefs, who are considered by a sizable body of Micronesians to be more important figures than nationally elected politicians. The Council of Chiefs can veto any legislation it considers detrimental to traditional ways.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The national judiciary consists of a Supreme Court, headed by a chief justice, and such subordinate courts as are established by statute. Justices are appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of Congress, and serve for life. The Supreme Court has both trial and appellate divisions. It may review cases heard in state or local courts if they require interpretation of the constitution, national law, or treaties, and it may hear appeals from the highest state court where permitted by a state's constitution.

State and municipal court systems have been established in each of the states. State courts have jurisdiction over all matters not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the national courts. Municipal courts have jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters arising within their municipalities.

The Micronesian constitution and judicial system are modeled after those of the United States. The civil and criminal laws also parallel those of the United States.

The constitution provides for an independent judiciary and the government respects this provision in practice.

ARMED FORCES

The Federated States of Micronesia maintains no armed forces. External security is the responsibility of the United States.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

The FSM became a member of the United Nations on 17 September 1991; it is a part of ESCAP and serves on nonregional specialized agencies such as the FAO, the World Bank, the IFC, IMF, UNESCO, and the WHO. The FSM participates in the ACP Group, the Asian Development Bank, G-77, the Pacific Island Forum, Sparteca, and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

The FSM and the United States signed the Compact of Free Association on 3 November 1986. Amendments to the compact went into effect on 1 May 2004. Under these amendments, the United States has full authority and responsibility for the defense of the FSM and promises to provide $92 million in assistance over 20 years.

In environmental cooperation, the FSM is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Other than US payments, the Micronesian economy is markedly underdeveloped. A clothing plant in Yap employs 500 workers in the country's largest private-sector industrial enterprise. The subsistence economy is thought to generate about 25% of GDP, but statistics from the government are incomplete and unreliable.

In 1993, the United States, whose aid constitutes a large share of GDP, enlisted the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in a plan to devise and implement an economic development scheme for the country. In 1995, an economic summit was convened to discuss some solutions. Privatization was high on the list of recommendations and Yap has already initiated a plan to reduce government employment by 37%. The ADB-led summit also recommended resources be spent in the development of fisheries and tourism, two sectors with substantial potential. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, licensing fees paid by foreign fisherman for tuna fishing in Micronesia's exclusive economic zone have provided $1824 million annually.

The Second National Development Plan, for the years 199296, featured as its primary objective decreasing dependence on aid and, at the same time, making better use of its aid. As of 2005, little progress had been made, however. It was estimated that after US-led grants end, per-capita GDP could drop to below $500.

The economy underwent a recess in 2004, contracting by 3.3%, down from positive growth figures in 2003 (3.2%), and 2002 (0.8%). The inflation rate was relatively stable, and at 1.5% in 2004; inflation did not pose a problem to the overall economy. There are no recent official numbers for the unemployment rate, but it is estimated to hover somewhere around 22%. US assistance remains the major source of income for this tiny country and the local private sector is fragile and with few future perspectives. The country's isolated position and its poor infrastructure will continue to hinder its long-term growth prospects.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2005 Micronesia's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $277.0 million. GDP was supplemented by grant aid, averaging perhaps $100 million annually. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $2,000. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 1%. The average inflation rate in 2001 was 2%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 50% of GDP, industry 4%, and services 46%.

It was estimated that in 2002 about 26.7% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

In 2003 the government reported that Micronesia's national labor force was estimated at about 23,190 in 1994 (the latest year for which data was available). Two-thirds of the workforce in 2002 were government employees. The unemployment rate in FSM was 22% in 2000, up from 16% in 1994. The unemployment rate varied by state, with the highest rate on Chuuk, at 34%, followed by Kosrae (17%), Pohnpei (12%), and Yap (4%). While unemployment remains high, the economy faced shortages of skilled workers, since over 44% of the population was under 16 years of age.

The law provides the right to form or join unions, and government employees are granted the right to form associations to proffer their views. However, no such associations have been formed as of 2002. The country is not affiliated with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

While labor laws are applied mostly without variance in all four states, the minimum wage varies from state to state. Minimums for government-employed workers in 2002 ranged from $0.80 per hour for Yap to $2.00 per hour in Pohnpei. Only Pohnpei had a minimum wage for private sector workers. In 1999, it stood at $1.35 an hour. There is no minimum working age for children and many children assist their families in subsistence farming activities.

AGRICULTURE

Agricultural production has traditionally been for subsistence and was based on a system of shifting cultivation in the high islands. Staple crops include taros, sweet potatoes, bananas, cassavas, and breadfruit. Yams are grown on Pohnpei, Kosrae, Yap, and Fais islands. Other vegetables, such as cucumbers, eggplant, head cabbage, Chinese cabbage, bell peppers, green onions, and tomatoes, are also produced. Other fruits include mangoes, papayas, pandanus, pineapples, lemons, and limes, with oranges and tangerines also produced on Kosrae. The ubiquitous coconut palm is used for a wide range of subsistence purposes, and copra is the main cash crop and the nation's leading export. Crop production in 2004 included (in thousands of tons): coconuts, 140; cassava, 11.8; and bananas, 2. Black and white peppers were introduced to Micronesia in 1938, but pepper growing only began in Pohnpei (the FSM's most important pepper-producing island) in 1960. Rich volcanic soil and heavy rainfall make gourmet Pohnpei peppers highly regarded.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Livestock in 2005 included some 13,900 head of cattle, 32,000 pigs, and 4,000 goats. Pigs, traditionally kept by many households for ceremonial purposes, are being upgraded through the introduction of improved strains. Two pig farms operate on Pohnpei. The largest cattle herd is on Pohnpei Island. Eggs are produced commercially and limited success has been achieved by commercial poultry chicken projects in the states of Pohnpei and Chuuk. Chickens are kept by many households. Goat projects are also operating in Kosrae and Chuuk. A few head of water buffalo are privately raised on Pohnpei and on Pata in Chuuk. In the mid-1990s, the government started encouraging domestic feed production in order to decrease the reliance on imported feed meal.

FISHING

Inshore marine resources of the reefs and lagoons are harvested mainly for subsistence. The FSM's exclusive economic zone covers some 2.6 million sq km (1 million sq mi) of ocean which contain the world's most productive tuna fishing grounds. Although the FSM now has sole ownership of tuna stocks capable of a sustained yield of well over 100,000 tons per year, there is virtually no national participation in its exploitation. The total catch in 2003 was 32,191 tons, including 23,788 tons of skipjack tuna, 5,708 tons of yellowfin tuna, and 994 tons of bigeye tuna. The tuna catch is valued at about $200 million annually. The Micronesian Maritime Authority and the National Fisheries Corporation assist in the development and promotion of commercial fisheries. Pohnpei and Kosroe have embarked on the construction of cold storage and tuna processing plants, and the Yap Fishing Corporation began upgrading its fleet. Total fisheries exports were valued at $19 million in 2003.

FORESTRY

The nation has abundant forestry resources, particularly on the high islands, consisting of approximately 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of forests. Two privately owned commercial sawmills are operated on Pohnpeione in Kitti logging mangrove cedar and one in Kolonia utilizing upland timber. Exploitation of the nation's forestry resources is limited and virtually all lumber used in construction is imported ($2.1 million in 2004). Mangrove timber is used for handicrafts and furniture making.

MINING

There were deposits of phosphates on Fais Island in Yap and bauxite in Pohnpei, Truk, and Yap, but there was no commercial exploitation. Clays, coral, sand, rock aggregate, and quarry stone works supplied construction materials.

ENERGY AND POWER

The nation is dependent on imported petroleum, which supplied about 80% of the total energy requirements. Fuel wood for household use provided most of the remainder. Diesel fuel, which accounted for over two-thirds of petroleum imports, was used primarily for electrical generation and ship services. In 2002, Micronesia produced 192 million kWh, with demand that year at 178.6 million kWh. Electricity was generated by government power stations located in each state center. About half the electricity produced was used by the government. Small quantities of electricity are produced in outer island communities.

INDUSTRY

Manufacturing activity is nearly nonexistent and accounts for only a fraction of a percent of GDP. Cottage industries involving handicrafts and small-scale processing are carried out in all states and constitute an important source of income for those not integrated into the monetary economy. In Truk, a small industries center, a garment factory, a coconut-processing plant, a boatbuilding plant, and a breadfruit flour plant were in operation; in Pohnpei, a coconut processing and soap and oil plant, a feedmill, an ice production plant, a brick-manufacturing plant; in Yap, a cottage industries program; and in Kosrae, a small industries center and a wood-processing plant. In late 1999, a tuna processing plant opened in Majuro.

In 2000, the industry had a 4% share in the economy, with services accounting for 46%, and agriculture for 50%. More than two-thirds of the country's labor force are employed by the government.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

There are no institutions for advanced instruction or research and development in science and technology. (The College of Micronesia (COM), which has five campus locations, does not provide advanced degrees). A medical school was established in Pohnpei in 1987.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Domestic commercial activity is dominated by wholesale and retail trade, which is highly localized in the four state centers of Kolonia, Tofol, Moen, and Colonia. Nearly half of the population is employed in subsistence farming and fishing. The country relies heavily on imports of food and manufactured goods.

FOREIGN TRADE

The FSM sustains a severe trade deficit. Exports include agricultural products (coconuts, bananas, betel nuts, cassava, and sweet potatoes), pigs, chickens, and re-exports of fish. Copra, formerly the country's largest export crop, suffered a severe decline in the late 1990s.

In 2000, exports totaled $22 million (FOBFree on Board), while imports grew to $149 million. In 2004, most of the exports went to Japan, the United States, and Guam. Imports primarily came from the United States, Australia, and Japan.

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Foreign receipts are predominantly grants and rental payments from the United States and aid from other sources. Economic aid totaled $77.4 million in 1995.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that the purchasing power parity of Micronesia's exports was $22 million while imports totaled $149 million resulting in a trade deficit of $127 million.

Exports of goods and services totaled $40 million in 2004, same as in 2003. Imports grew from $172 million in 2003, to $184 million in 2004. The resource balance was consequently negative, and on a downward pathfrom -$131 million in 2003 to -$145 million in 2004. A similar trend was registered for the current account balance, which deteriorated from $2 million in 2003 to - $25 million in 2004. Foreign exchange reserves (including gold) decreased to $55 million in 2004, covering less than four months of imports.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

Commercial banking operations are regulated by the FSM Banking Board. There are two foreign commercial banks: the Bank of Hawaii, with branches in Pohnpei, Yap and Kosrae; and the Bank of Guam, with branches in Pohnpei and Truk. There is also a domestic Bank of the FSM that operates branches throughout the islands. The FSM Development Bank commenced operations in 1982. It provides loans for projects that meet criteria based on the government's development priorities and is authorized to provide loan guarantees to other financial institutions in the FSM. However, it can only make loans of up to $200,000 because of capital limitations. The FSM Employees Credit Union was chartered in 1986. Tradable securities are not issued by the FSM government, state governments, or enterprises residing in the FSM. The currency is the US dollar.

In 1996, national and state governments considered measures designed to cope with the winding down of US funding under the Compact of Free Association (under which payments were scheduled to end in 2001). The restructuring of national government was underway as of 2005, with the aim of reducing the number of employees and departments. In 2003 the compact with the United States was amended to provide an additional 20 years of assistance by the United States. The FSM government was charged to seek ways to improve basic infrastructure through private-sector investment; infrastructure improvements should in turn encourage growth of the private sector. In 1999, the FSM Trust Fund was established to foster financial independence. The International Monetary Fund reported that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $21.2 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $115.3 million.

INSURANCE

The Public Service System administers life insurance and workers' compensation programs. In 1984, a government employee group health insurance program was instituted, and in 1987, a retirement pension programfor both state and national government employeeswas initiated.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The state and national governments had a series of surpluses in the late 1980s, followed by years of deficits in the early 1990s. Government revenues remained nearly constant during the 1990s, while spending was unrestrained. By the late 1990s, the deficits had come under control.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 1998 Micronesia's central government took in revenues of approximately $161 million and had expenditures of $160 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately $1 million. Total external debt was $53.1 million.

TAXATION

National taxes on wages and salaries are levied, as well as a business gross receipts tax. The states are constitutionally limited in the types of taxes they may impose; they may levy sales taxes on alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and cigarettes. The municipal governments usually levy head taxes and boat license and business license fees.

An important tax revenue service is from the sale of tuna fishing rights, which rose from $12.7 million in 1990 to $18.2 million in 1994. In 1999, FSM, Palau, and the Republic of Marshall Islands agreed to cooperate in policing illegal fishing in the region.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

As of 1988, specific duties were levied on cigarettes, beer and malt beverages, wine, distilled alcohol, and gasoline and diesel fuel. Ad valorem duties were levied as follows: tobacco, 50%; perfumes, cosmetics, and toiletries, 25%; soft drinks, 2% per 12 fl oz; foodstuffs for human consumption, 1%; and all other products, 3%. Micronesia's import taxes are among the lowest in the Pacific.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

There is little foreign private investment. The Foreign Investment Act of 1997 was enacted to prohibit foreign investment in specific business activities, namely arms manufacture, minting of coins or printing of currency notes, and nuclear power or radioactivity-related businesses. The Act also restricts investment by foreigners in banking, telecommunications, fishing, air transport, and shipping.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The first national development plan (198589) was the initial stage of the government's 15-year program designed to achieve national self-sufficiency. Funds accruing under the Compact of Free Association were required for implementing the plan, and rephasing of the plan was necessary. A multi-million dollar US-implemented capital improvement plan was completed in the early 2000s. It included new airports, docks, water and sewage systems, paved roads, and hospitals. Under the terms of the Compact of Free Association, the United States provided $1.3 billion from 19862001 in grant aid.

A Second National Development Plan covering the years 199296 sought to diversify Micronesia's economy; mainly to wean it from dependence on US aid. Little was accomplished. In late 1999, representatives of the United States and Micronesia began negotiations aimed at renewing some provisions of the Compact of Free Association. The Amended Compact of Free Association with the United States, which provided that aid to Micronesia would continue until 2023 and would be consolidated through a trust fund to provide annual payouts in perpetuity after that year. The country's medium-term perspectives were bleak though, due to its isolation and poorly developed infrastructure, and due to the reduction in 2003 of US assistance.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

The extended family and clan system, headed by traditional leaders or chiefs, is retained in varying degrees, especially in the outer islands. A social insurance system includes old age, disability, and survivor benefits. Employees contribute 6% of their earnings; employers make a 6% payroll contribution. The basic retirement pension benefit is 16.5% of the first $10,000 and marginal rates beyond that level. Survivor payments totaled 60% of the descendant's pension.

In spite of constitutional safeguards, sex discrimination and violence against women are serious problems. Women's roles within the family remain essentially the traditional ones. Sexual abuse and domestic violence are increasing. Women, however, face no discrimination in education. In 2004, women were well represented in middle and lower levels of government and generally received equal pay for equal work.

Minorities generally do not face discrimination or prejudice. Noncitizens, however, are prohibited from owning land. Human rights are generally respected.

HEALTH

There are hospitals in each state center. In 1986, a community health center was established in Pohnpei and in 1987, a medical school was started. In the outer islands, primary medical services are provided through dispensaries staffed by health assistants. In 1982, a superdispensary was initiated in the Lower Mortlock Islands to serve 3,769 people scattered on seven atolls. Tertiary medical treatment is provided through patient referral to hospitals in Guam and Hawaii. All of Micronesia had access to safe water and sanitation. In 2004, there were an estimated 60 physicians per 100,000 population.

The infant mortality rate in 2005 was 30.21 per 1,000 live births, and the life expectancy was 69.75 years. In the same year, the general mortality rate was 6 deaths per 1,000 people and the fertility rate was 3.9 children per woman. The maternal mortality rate was 121 per 100,000 live births. Immunization rates for Micronesian children under one year of age were as follows: measles, 80%; tuberculosis, 50%; polio, 77%; and diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, 78%. Although polio has been eradicated, there have been cases of tuberculosis, and measles. Anemia was seen in 33% of children under the age of five.

HOUSING

At the 2000 census, there were 15,273 occupied households, with about 44.4% on Chuuk, 35.8% on Pohnpei, 12.9% on Yap, and 6.9% on Kosrae. The average number of members per household was 6.8. About 26.8% of households had nine or more members. An estimated 30% of the housing stock was built in 1993 or later, with another 8.8% of all housing built in 1969 or earlier. Materials for housing construction are generally imported. Metal sheeting and concrete are the most common materials for walls and roofs. About 53.6% of all households had electricity and 50% had access to piped water. Only 25% of all households have access to improved sanitation systems.

EDUCATION

The state governments are responsible for the provision of education. Elementary education is compulsory up to the eighth grade or until age 15. In 1986 there were 142 primary schools, nine of them private, with 968 teachers and 23,636 pupils. Secondary education was provided through five public high schools (one in each state center and one in Falalop on the Ulithi atoll, serving Yap's outer islands) and five private secondary schools (two in Truk and three in Pohnpei).

The only postsecondary institution is the College of Micronesia (COM), which has five campus locations. FSM students are eligible for postsecondary education grants from the US government and attend institutions mainly in Guam, Hawaii, and the US mainland. Vocational education is provided by the Pohnpei Agriculture and Trade School and the Micronesian Occupational College in Palau.

A 2000 census report indicated that of all citizens aged 25 years or older, 12.3% had no formal schooling, 36% had completed only an elementary school education, 32.3% had completed their high school education, and about 18.4% had completed some college education.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

Library materials are contained in the primary and secondary schools, and at the College of Micronesia, which holds about 33,000 volumes and serves as the depository for documents from the trust territory government's archives in Saipan. The Pohnpei Public Library has about 30,000 books. A Chuuk Public Library was being organized in 2002. The library of the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia holds 15,000 book volumes. There is a small museum in Kolonia, Pohnpei. The Nan Madol archaeological site was designated a historical landmark in 1986.

MEDIA

The FSM Telecommunications Corp. provides interstate telecommunications via its satellite ground station in each state center and international connections through the Pohnpei and Truk stations. An interstate and international telex service has been available through the Pohnpei station since 1984. Telecommunications services to all inhabited outer islands are provided by radio links with the Pohnpei, Truk, and Yap stations. In 2001, there were 10,100 mainline phones in use nationwide. In 2002, there were an additional 1,800 mobile phones in use nationwide.

Most of the papers and newsletters are sponsored by the state governments. The National Union is published twice monthl). State publications include Mogethin (Yap), Yap Networker, Uss Me Auus, (Truk), Pohnpei Reports, Kaselehile Press Pohnpei State, Sinlaku Sun Times (Kosrae), and Kosrae State Newsletters.

As of 2001, there is one state-owned radio station in each state capital, broadcasting in English and local languages. There is one private radio station owned by a religious group. In 1997, there were 127 radios and 10 television sets per 1,000 population. In 2002, there were 6,000 Internet subscribers.

The constitution provides for free speech and a free press, and the government is said to respect these rights in practice.

ORGANIZATIONS

There are Community Action Agencies in Yap, Truk, and Pohnpei, which organize youth clubs and community self-help projects. Private institutions, most of them church-affiliated, play an active role in youth and community development. There are sports associations representing such pastimes as weightlifting, lawn tennis, tae kwon do, and track and field. Many municipalities sponsor local women's organizations and community centers. There is a national chapter of the Red Cross Society.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Limited tourist facilities have been developed in each state. Tourist attractions include the spectacular beauty of the high islands; the rich marine environment; World War II artifacts, including sunken Japanese ships in the Truk lagoon; and remains of an ancient culture on Yap Island, including stone platforms and large circular stones used as money. All visitors must have an onward/return ticket and a present proof of citizenship or passport that must be valid for 120 days after leaving Micronesia. A valid entry permit is also necessary if staying for more than 30 days. There are no vaccination requirements unless traveling from an infected area.

In 2003, there were 18,168 tourist arrivals, almost 41% of whom came from the United States. According to the 2005 US Department of State estimates, the daily cost of staying in Yap was us$283; in Chuuk, us$187; and in Pohnpei, us$167.

FAMOUS MICRONESIANS

John Haglelgam, a former senator in the congress, was president of the FSM from 1987 to 1991. Jacob Nena (b.1941) served as the fourth president from 1996 to 1999. Leo Falcam (b.1935) served as the fifth president from 1999 to 2003. He was succeeded by Joseph John Urusemal (b.1952). In 2000, FSM's first five-story building (and first building with an elevator) opened; it was named for Raymond Setik (d.1997), a successful businessman and one of the first members of the legislature in 1979.

DEPENDENCIES

The FSM has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hezel, Francis X. The New Shape of Old Island Cultures: A Half Century of Social Change in Micronesia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2001.

Karolle, Bruce G. Atlas of Micronesia. 2nd ed. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bess Press, 1993.

Leibo, Steven A. East and Southeast Asia, 2005. 38th ed. Harpers Ferry, W.Va.: Stryker-Post Publications, 2005.

Micronesia: A Guide through the Centuries. Alexandria, Va.: Close Up Foundation, 2000.

Poyer, Lin. The Ngatik Massacre: History and Identity on a Micronesian Atoll. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.

. The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2001.

Rainbird, Paul. The Archaeology of Micronesia. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

United States General Accounting Office. Foreign Relations: Migration from Micronesian Nations Has Had Significant Impact on Guam, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Washington, D.C.: The Office, 2001.

Wuerch, Wiliam L. Historical Dictionary of Guam and Micronesia. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994.

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Micronesia

MICRONESIA

Major City:
Kolonia

Other Cities:
Chuuk Atoll, Kosrae

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated March 1996. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

After forty years as a United Nations Trust Territory, the Federated States of Micronesia in 1986 emerged as a sovereign nation. The Embassy in Kolonia has the unusual opportunity of shaping this new diplomatic relationship and overseeing US Government activities across a broad expanse of the Pacific. The 607 islands that comprise the Federated States are among the most untouristed, unspoiled sites in the world.

MAJOR CITY

Kolonia

Kolonia, the capital of the state of Pohnpei, is a town of approximately 10,000 which occupies seven square miles at the northern end of Pohnpei Island.

Food

A basic selection of food is available, but high prices and very limited choices. Three fairly large supermarkets are operating in Kolonia along with a few small general stores whose food stocks vary with cargo ship arrival. The selection approximates that of a Seven-Eleven: basic canned goods, cleaning supplies, condiments, and some dairy products, frozen vegetables, and frozen meat and poultry. Locally baked bread is adequate and is supplemented by imported frozen loaves. Steak, hamburger, pork, and chicken are imported from the US, and while of lower quality than found in a normal supermarket, are fully acceptable if the purchaser takes care to inspect it for freezer burn or thawing/refreezing. Fresh tuna and small "reef fish" are for sale in the public market and mangrove crab is frequently offered. Some canned baby foods are available, but the selection is not large. The high humidity wilts crackers and cereals, although chips purchased in metal tins keep well.

Dairy supplies are improving. Imported butter and margarine are in good supply. Ice cream is very popular on Pohnpei, and the stores are careful to keep this in stock. No fresh milk is to be found, but there is an ample supply of California and Australian ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk. A modest number of cheeses are in stock.

Kolonia has only a slim selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Although Pohnpei is lush, cultivation of these crops is rare. Local agriculture revolves around yam, taro, banana and sakau cultivation (the popular local narcotic drink). Sweet potatoes, plantain, pineapple, and green onion can usually be found, while the only fresh green vegetables consistently available are cucumber, Chinese cabbage, bell pepper, and eggplant. Arrangements can also be made with local farmers and the Pohnpei Agricultural and Technical School (PATS) to provide fresh vegetables on a fairly regular basis.

Supply of soft drinks is very good, and Kolonia can boast a respectable variety of imported beers on the shelves. Wine is scarce and expensive, and is stored under inhospitable conditions.

The FSM permits import of fresh produce. Agriculture inspectors tend to admit without problem foods brought from the US mainland in the original packages, e.g. shrink-wrapped, plastic-packaged vegetables and meats. The traveler's assurance that the items originated in the US will usually suffice. Loose vegetables and fruits are usually confiscated. Meat and poultry may be imported from the US mainland, Hawaii and Guam.

Clothing

Style of dress is very casual. Office attire for men is slacks, with a pullover sport shirt or short-sleeve buttoned shirt. Women wear blouses and skirts or sun dresses. Micronesians consider exposure of women's thighs to be indecent, so short shorts and tight-fitting slacks should not be worn as everyday attire. Bermuda shorts are okay. Standards are changing, however, and expatriate women runners wear jogging shorts on the street without problems. Given the heat and humidity, we strongly recommend that personnel purchase light all-cotton clothing. Lightweight poplin pants and cool shorts are good purchases for casual wear. No dry cleaning nor professional laundry is available on island.

Footwear is also very casual, with sandals and plastic thongs the norm. Good cheap thick-soled thongs can be purchased locally. Lightweight fabric and woven leather shoes are also good choices. The climate makes wearing of hosiery by women impractical.

Since there is little seasonal variation, the same type of attire may be worn year-round. Clothing supply in Kolonia is disappointing, and personnel should bring a full tropical wardrobe with them or plan on making purchases en route, in Honolulu or Manila. Colorful local embroidered skirts and a small but attractive selection of dresses from Bali are sold in local stores, so women will have better luck in local purchases than men.

Children's clothing can be bought locally, but prices are high and selection is poor.

Supplies and Services

Stocks vary from month to month with each arrival of a cargo ship. Store managers are not always consistent in their orders, and are not inclined to maintain large inventories. Local stores sell sundries, cleaning supplies, and other household items, but the selection is very small and supply unpredictable. Prices for these items may be two to three times the US price.

A few pounds of boric acid will be an excellent investment in cockroach control. Pohnpei cockroaches have no immunity to insecticides, and any commercial spray will be effective. Mosquitoes are not a problem in Kolonia. Mosquito coils and netting (15-20 yards for two persons) will come in handy on trips to outlying islands.

Local dressmakers provide simple repairs and make curtains. Local laundromats are available but not a dry cleaning service. A few beauty shops are in operation.

Religious Activities

Catholic and Protestant services are held in English and Micronesian languages. Americans normally attend either the Saturday evening English mass at the Catholic Mission or Sunday morning English nondenominational Protestant service. Individual Protestant denominations represented include Congregationalist, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Assembly of God, and Mormon. The Mormon church is particularly well-represented in missionary activities. The Baha'i faith has a mission in Kolonia.

Education

The Seventh Day Adventist School offers kindergarten through high school instruction in English, and has well-kept facilities with US textbooks and US volunteer missionary instructors. Education is best in grades one through six; above that level, the school falls short of the facilities and faculty required to give students an American-equivalent education. Host country and expatriate children alike attend. Extracurricular activities, including sports, are a part of the program. Since places in the school are limited, it is advisable to contact the school in advance to reserve a spot. The Catholic Mission and the Baptist Church operate schools, and standards are said to be adequate. The public schools do not meet US standards. All dependent children currently at post are elementary school age or younger.

Special Educational Opportunities

Although Kolonia hosts the College of Micronesia-FSM, its facilities are poor and most classes are likely to be insufficiently rigorous for American students. The College also offers courses in Pohnpeian and Japanese. Programs for the handicapped are lacking.

Sports

Micronesia offers outstanding opportunities for divers and snorkelers. The marine life is unspoiled, and local dive shops give reasonable prices on equipment rental and air refills. Certification classes are offered only once or twice a year, so prospective divers should try to become certified before arrival. Chuuk Lagoon, 425 miles to the west, is world-famous for its diving. More than 100 sunken planes, ships, and submarines are at the bottom of the lagoon, accessible to divers, the result of US Navy bombing raids in World War II. Tuna is abundant in waters off Kolonia, and game fish such as marlin and mahi-mahi are also to be found. Anglers should bring ocean rigs or handlines. Due to unpredictable, often slack winds, only a few sailboats are on the island.

Swimming in the warm, clear water is popular, but the absence of local beaches means that persons must take a boat out to the nearby reef.

For joggers Kolonia offers interesting terrain for early morning and evening runs. The heat of the day makes midday exertion difficult. A basketball league plays on Sundays in the winter months. Baseball is an island-wide passion, and volleyball is also very popular. There are two tennis courts on island, although the public courts are in considerable disrepair.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

The 800-year-old ruins of Nan Madol lie in the south of the island, amid a maze of man-made channels overhung with tropical foliage. The ruins are the remnants of the palace of the Saudeleurs, the ancient chiefs of Pohnpei, and is the island's most noteworthy site. Nan Madol is accessible only by boat. Kepirohi Falls, seventy feet high, is a beautiful sight with a fresh water pool at the base for swimming. Visitors take picnic lunches there and to Liduduhniap Falls, a short drive from Kolonia. Cross-island camping treks through the jungle-like interior are possible, led by guides. Never venture into the interior without a guide.

A favorite activity is spending the weekend on Black Coral or Hegs Island Villa (formerly Joy Island). These are tiny privately-owned islands just off Pohnpei's northern and southern coasts. For a small fee per night, persons receive padded mats, kerosene lamp, and use of a covered wooden cottage. Cooking is by campfire. A small store on the island supplies some essentials, but visitors must bring food, beverages, and cookware. Six miles offshore is Ant Atoll, accurately described by a local writer as "the tropic isle of romantic novels." Permission can be obtained to camp on this palm-shaded island with its white sand beaches.

Entertainment

Kolonia has no movies, theaters, or concerts. A few well-stocked video rental stores are located in Kolonia, and this is the main form of entertainment.

Social Activities

Social life for travelers to Kolonia exists largely within the expatriate community, and consists of casual home dinners, Sunday brunch at the Village Hotel, and shared boating and atoll expeditions. For host-country nationals, socializing is primarily a family and clan event, and invitations to Americans are very rare. But a personable American will find that opportunities arise to become more familiar with the people and partake of generous Micronesian hospitality.

OTHER CITIES

CHUUK ATOLL is a collection of 15 large islands and 80 islets. The district center is on Weno, where visitors can experience island life and culture by browsing through the shop-lined streets. A lovely view of Weno and the lagoon can be seen from the Sapuk Lighthouse, built by the Japanese in the 1930s as a watchtower against the Americans. The abandoned houses of the lighthouse guards are still standing nearby.

Scuba divers wont want to miss a trip to the area, which includes the Truk Lagoon Underwater Fleet. More than 60 submerged vessels and several downed aircraft can be seen in this lagoon, which has become known as the world's largest underwater museum.

Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy a number of trail locations. Tonachau Mountain Iras (229 meters) is believed to be the home of the god Souwoniras and his divine son. The area also contains the Wichon Men's Meeting House, where Weno chiefs are said to have met with Poomey, the eldest of the six brothers who were the first chiefs of Chuuk. The Wichon River and Falls include a bathing pool. Numerous petroglyphs are etched in the basalt above the falls. Nefo Cave is about 10 feet wide, 6 feet high and 78 feet long and contains a gun used by Japanese soldiers to guard entry to the north pass.

KOSRAE is a one of the least developed areas in the Federated States, and so offers a unique chance to enjoy the natural beauty and native culture of the area. The main island is about 42 sq miles with natural features including rainforest areas, a pristine coral reef, and a coast that includes sandy beaches and mangrove swamps. The Blue Hole in the Lelu harbor, traditionally used as a burial place for royalty, offers divers and snorkellers the chance to see coral heads, lionfish, stingrays and barracuda. Lelu Harbor also contains the remains of an American search plane, two Japanese boats and the remains of a whaling ship. Lelu Hill includes caves and tunnels used by the Japanese in WWII.

Hikers may enjoy Mt. Finkol, the highest peak in Kosrae (2,064 ft). The hike requires a guide and the hiker must be in good physical condition. The tour takes about seven to eight hours and offers a spectacular rainforest experience. The Mt. Oma hiking trails feature a wide variety of tropical fauna, flora and cascading waterfalls. Tours are offered for short hikes of about 45 minutes or longer trips of six or seven hours. The Menke Ruins hiking trails pass by the temple of the Goddess of Breadfruit, Sinlaku. Legends say that this is where she spent her last days before fleeing to Yap, before the arrival of the missionaries in 1852. The story tells that Sinkalu saw a brilliant light coming over the horizon of the sea that frightened her, causing her to flee. The Christian missionaries arrived by ship the next morning. This story of the coming of "the light" was part of the early Christian conversion of the natives. A guided tour takes about two hours.

Two waterfalls worthy of note are the Sipyen and Saolong. Both offer bottom pools where swimming is allowed.

For the history minded, the Kosrae State Museum contains ancient artifacts and restored photos of Kosrae history and culture. The Lelu Ruins, the remains of the ancient capital city of the Kosrae rulers, include huge basaltic slabs arranged in 20 ft walls, and the remains of several street paths, living areas, and tombs.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

The Federated States of Micronesia consists of four states, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, and covers a wide expanse in the Caroline Islands chain. FSM waters begin just north of the equator and stretch from 136°E to 166°E longitude. Palikir, the capital, is located on Pohnpei Island (previously known as "Ponape") in the Central Pacific at latitude 6° 54 N, longitude 158° 14'E. The post is 3106 miles from Honolulu, 2363 miles from Manila, and 1070 miles from Guam, the closest American territory.

" Micronesia " denotes " small islands," an apt description for the geography of the FSM. Although there are 607 islands within the one million square mile boundaries of the nation, total land area is a modest 270.8 square miles. Only 65 of the islands are inhabited. Pohnpei Island, with 133 square miles of land area, is the largest island in the country and is the site of the U.S. Embassy. Geologically, Pohnpei readily shows its volcanic origins with many hills and cliffs, as well as striking basalt outcroppings such as Sokehs Rock at the entrance to Kolonia Harbor.

Pohnpei Island is lush and thickly forested with tropical foliage. Pohnpei is one of the wettest spots on earth, with an annual rainfall in Kolonia of 200 inches per year. The interior receives as much as 400 inches. January through March are the less rainy months, with steadier rain coming in the summer and fall. High winds may occur in the latter part of the year, but damaging tropical storms generally bypass Pohnpei. The temperature averages a pleasant 81 degrees year-round. Evenings are mild, in the low 70s, and daytime temperatures seldom exceed the upper 80s. Temperatures do not noticeably vary throughout the year. Humidity is high, averaging 89%, and causes rapid growth of mildew and mold in unair-conditioned environments. Air quality is excellent, free of pollutants. Some of the other islands of the FSM, such as Kosrae, are "high islands" like Pohnpei, characterized by hilly terrain and fertile soil. Many other islands are low-lying coral atolls a few feet above sea level covered with coconut palm and scrub vegetation.

As a tropical city, Kolonia has the expected complement of pests: ants, termites, roaches, and centipedes. All of these can be kept under control by regular cleaning and spraying. Geckoes populate the houses and provide a natural insect control service. The island has no venomous snakes, and is malaria-free and rabies-free. Wild deer live in the interior and are hunted by the local population.

Population

Estimated 2000 population of the Federated States is approximately 133,140. Pohnpei State has approximately 34,976 inhabitants, 10,000 of whom reside in Kolonia.

Although most peoples of the FSM share a Micronesian heritage, languages and cultures differ among and within the different states. There are four major languages, Yapese, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, and Kosraean, all part of the Austronesian family. Eleven other languages and dialects are also spoken within the country, including two Polynesian languages. The many linguistic gaps are bridged by English, which is widely spoken and is the official language of the country.

The years of American administration have seen an influx of Western culture that has eroded the traditional cultures of the societies, although traditional leaders and cultural patterns still are influential, especially in the state of Yap. As a rule, the smaller "outer" islands away from the state capitals preserve traditional ways. Due to its scarcity, land is the ultimate denominator of social status in Micronesia. Parcels are passed down through the generations, thus reinforcing the importance of the family to Micronesian society. Social activity in Micronesia revolves around the family and the extended clan, to a degree difficult for outsiders to appreciate.

The Micronesian islands have been fertile fields for missionary activity, with the result that almost all FSM citizens are Christian. A full range of denominations is represented. Kolonia is served by Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, and Seventh-Day Adventist churches, as well as a Baha'i mission. Religion is an important part of the culture, and clergymen are well respected by the inhabitants.

The outside world had little contact with the islands until the mid-19th Century, when American whalers and missionaries entered the region. Spain claimed the Caroline and Mariana Islands in 1885 and retained them until 1899, when Germany purchased most of the island chains in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. Germany, in turn, lost its possessions to Japan in 1914 at the beginning of World War I. The League of Nations formally extended a mandate to Japan in 1920, thus confirming the Japanese conquest, and a new era of colonization. Intensive crop and copra production began, and the islands became exporters of many agricultural products. In 1945, control passed to the United States Navy, which administered the area until formation of the Trusteeship under UN auspices in 1947. The FSM, together with the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Northern Mariana Islands, comprised the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. On November 3, 1986, the Trusteeship era came to a close when the Trusteeship was terminated for the FSM and the Compact of Free Association came into effect. The FSM is now a fully self-governing, sovereign nation in Free Association with the United States.

Public Institutions

The terms of this relationship are contained in the Compact of Free Association, valid for 15 years. The Compact confirms the FSM's authority to manage its domestic affairs and conduct foreign affairs in its own right. The United States retains full authority and responsibility for security and defense issues. Other sections of the Compact outline governmental, legal, and economic relations between the two countries. The Compact is also in effect between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands and as of October 1, 1994, between the United States and the Republic of Palau.

The Federated States governmental structure is modeled on the United States. The national government is headed by a President and Vice President; the President appoints cabinet members, who administer national affairs. The other two branches, Congress and the Supreme Court, function much as the American institutions, albeit with fewer personnel. The Congress is unicameral, and legislators serve either two-or four-year terms. Two-year senators are elected from districts apportioned on the basis of population. Four-year senators are elected at large, one from each state. The President and Vice President are chosen from the ranks of the at-large senators by a majority vote of Congress. No political parties exist.

Each state is headed by a governor, elected for a four-year term, balanced by a state legislature and a state supreme court. Although this structure parallels the American system, the states have substantially more power than their American counterparts. Compact fund distribution reflects this: 87% of annual Compact assistance is earmarked for the states, the remainder to the national government.

Arts, Science, and Education

The FSM participates with other Micronesian nations and with US territories in the College of Micronesia. This is an umbrella organization which maintains individual institutions throughout the region. Kolonia is home to the College of Micronesia (COM-FSM). COM-FSM offers a two-year academic program leading to an Associate of Arts degree. The focus of its program is teacher training, but studies are offered in a number of other subjects. Outside of the formal educational structure, the FSM is host in any given year to several visiting researchers, particularly in the fields of anthropology, marine resources, and agriculture. Cultural and artistic institutions in the Western sense do not exist in Kolonia, although wood carving and choral singing are popular local forms of artistic expression.

Commerce and Industry

More than half of the population earns a livelihood from subsistence fishing and cultivation. Of those working within the monetized economy, 60% are employed by government. Palikir, as the national capital, has an even higher proportion of government employees, drawn from all four states. Micronesian technical and legal specialists are in short supply, so many professional positions are filled by American contract employees. One of the three Supreme Court Justices, the FSM Deputy Attorney General, and Pohnpei's Attorney General, for example, are United States citizens.

Estimated gross domestic product (GDP) was $263 million in 1999, (per capita GDP = $2,000).

The FSM is working to strengthen local production and exports in the Compact period. Currently, the business sector in the FSM is modest, and centers on small retail establishments selling imported goods. Potential for development of agricultural exports is good in the states of Kosrae and Pohnpei, which produce excellent citrus and world-renowned pepper, respectively. Yap and Chuuk have large fish transshipment facilities, and Chuuk and Pohnpei are exploring possibilities for canning plants. The untouched islands of the FSM are desirable tourist destinations, but this sector remains small in scale. The nation encompasses rich tuna fishing waters. Its multilateral fisheries pact with the U.S. and several bilateral fishing treaties provide a steady flow of tuna licensing fees.

The Compact of Free Association provides the Federated States with $1.3 billion in US economic assistance over a 15-year period, in addition to a number of US federal programs and grants for which the FSM remains eligible. A $20 million Investment Development Fund was also provided by the United States as a means of encouraging joint ventures. The national government has implemented an ambitious National Development Plan to enhance infrastructure and expand local production and social services.

Transportation

While taxis are available in Kolonia, a personal vehicle is essential. Twenty-five miles of road on the island are paved, thus daily driving presents few challenges. Outside of town, the roads are partially paved (21 miles). Most vehicles on island are Japanese. Reliable repair service is available.

Transportation between Kolonia and the other states and neighboring countries is by Continental Air Micronesia jet. Protestant Missionary Airlines runs weekly propeller flights to the nearby islands of Mokil and Pingelap. Travel to outer islands is also accomplished by government-owned "field trip" ships, which ply regular routes out of the state capitals.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

Telephones are available on Pohnpei Island. Connections with the United States are excellent and cost about $2.50-$3.00 per minute ($2.00 per minute on Sunday). AT&T calling cards are accepted in the FSM, but cost more than using the local service. Kolonia can be dialed directly from the United States, using the sequence 011-691-320-(local number). Telex communications are equally reliable, and are billed at about $2.50$3.00 per minute outgoing.

Radio and TV

A local AM and an FM radio station broadcast music and occasional news, primarily in Pohnpeian. A short-wave radio is needed to stay in touch with world affairs. Radio Australia comes in clearly, and Voice of America, Armed Forces Radio, and BBC are not hard to raise. Kolonia has a cable television company, which broadcasts copies of Los Angeles and San Francisco TV tapes with a one-week delay in addition to HBO, Disney Channel and VH-1 channels. They also broadcast CNN and ESPN live. Basic monthly rate is $20.00 ($10.00 extra for HBO or Disney). The broadcast system is the same as the United States, so no special set is needed.

Newspapers, Magazines

The Guam Pacific Daily News is sold in one outlet; copies are received one to three days after publication date. No bookstores are found on island.

Health and Medicine

Medical facilities

Health care facilities in the FSM consist of hospitals on each of the four major islands and a few scattered clinics. These facilities sometimes lack basic supplies and medicines, and the quality of health care is variable. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Community Health

While great improvements in the quality of the water supply were made from 1992-1994, individuals are cautioned not to drink the tap water. Local standards of community health are variable, and sanitation practices in stores and restaurants are in general far below American standards. Public health measures are few. Tuberculosis, leprosy, and venereal disease are common, but post personnel who have no intimate contact with the population have no cause for concern. There is no AIDS in Pohnpei, but two cases have been reported in other states of the FSM.

Preventive Measures

If you have no distiller, boil water for 10 minutes before drinking. Some Americans choose to take their chances with occasional gastrointestinal distress. No local milk is available, but there is an steady supply of potable ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk from California and Australia. Vegetables should be rinsed with treated water.

Travelers should have up-to-date immunizations. Since hepatitis B is endemic in the Pacific islands, some personnel have chosen to be vaccinated against this disease at their own expense. This disease is transmitted solely by blood exchange and sexual contact; nonetheless, the possibility, however remote, of an emergency blood transfusion has prompted a few persons to seek out the vaccine. Gamma globulin shots are recommended. There are two pharmacies on island. The pharmacies can have refills shipped in. It is advisable that families bring a good supply of over-the-counter remedies, since local stores may fail to have even common items, or if available, sell them at high prices.

The island is free of malaria and rabies, as well as other insect-borne diseases. Pests encountered are seldom dangerous. Exceptions are venomous centipedes, which inflict painful stings, and jellyfish, which sometimes drift through local waters.

NOTE FOR TRAVELERS

Passage, Customs & Duties

Proof of citizenship, sufficient funds, and onward/return ticket are required for tourist visits up to 30 days. Visits are extendible for up to 60 days total from the initial entry; this extension is sought after arrival in Micronesia. An entry permit may be needed for types of travel other than tourism); the necessary forms may be obtained from the airlines. There is a departure fee of five U.S. dollars. A health certificate may be required if the traveler is arriving from infected area. Travelers are advised to enter and leave the FSM on a valid U.S. passport. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia does not issue passports; passports for persons living or traveling in the FSM are issued by the Honolulu Passport Agency. For more information about entry requirements of the Federated States of Micronesia, travelers may consult the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia, 1725 N Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20038, tel: (202) 223-4383 or via the Internet at http://www.fsmembassy.org. The Federated States of Micronesia also have consulates in Honolulu and Guam.

U.S. citizens living in or visiting the Federated States of Micronesia are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia, where they may also obtain updated information on travel and security within the country. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia is located on Kasalehlie Street (the main downtown street). The mailing address is P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia 96941. The telephone number is (691) 320-2187. The fax number is (691) 320-2186.

Pets

The FSM permits imports of dogs and cats from the United States and other countries on the "rabies-free" list. For import of animals from other countries, write the mission for information. The dog or cat must have the following: certificate showing the animal's country of origin; certificate of rabies vaccination; certificate showing that the animal has been dipped for parasites within the past five days; certificate affirming that the animal is free from any signs of infectious or communicable disease.

If transiting Honolulu, the pet will have to be in quarantine for the stopover. Pet-owners should avoid Guam, which also quarantines pets, but which has no facilities or procedures for caring for them. Contact the airline for information on procedures and fees. Other animals may enter only upon issuance of a quarantine permit.

As of early 1995, two veterinarians reside in the FSM. Services, including spaying, can be performed. Owners should bring flea collars, worm medicine, vaccine if needed, and any other desired accessories.

Currency, Banking and Weights and Measures

The national currency is the US dollar. Kolonia has branches of the Bank of Hawaii and Bank of Guam. Weights and measures follow the American system.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar/Apr. Easter*

May 10Constitution Day

July 12 Micronesia Day

Oct. 24 United Nations' Day

Nov. 4Independence Day

Dec. 25 Christmas

*variable

RECOMMENDED READING

Ashby, Gene, A Guide to Ponape (Rainy Day Press, Kolonia, Pohnpei) 1983.

Ashby, Gene (ed.), Micronesian Customs and Beliefs (Rainy Day Press, Kolonia, Pohnpei) 1983.

Kluge, Paul, The Edge of Paradise (University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu) 1991.

McHenry, Donald, Micronesia: Trust Betrayed (Carnegie Endowment, Washington, DC) 1975.

Nevin, David, The American Touch in Micronesia (Norton, New York) 1977.

"New Pacific Nations," National Geographic Magazine, October 1986.

Oceania, A Regional Study. Foreign Area Studies Series, The American University (US Government, Washington, DC) 1984.

Pacific Islands Yearbook (Pacific Publications, Sydney/New York).

Peattie Mark, Nanyo: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese in Micronesia, 1885-1945 (University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu) 1988.

Stanley, David, Micronesia Handbook: Guide to an American Lake (Moon Publications, Chico, CA) 1985.

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Micronesia

MICRONESIA

Federated States of Micronesia

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

The Federated States of Micronesia forms (with Palau) the archipelago of the Caroline Islands, and lies about 800 kilometers (497 miles) east of the Philippines. The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of 607 islands and includes (from west to east) the states of Yap, Chuuk (formerly Truk), Pohnpei (formerly Ponape), and Kosrae. Micronesia covers about 702 square kilometers of land (271 square miles), has a coastline of 6,112 kilometers (3,798 miles) and is scattered over more than 2.7 million square kilometers (1 million square miles) of the ocean. Micronesia's largest island cluster is Pohnpei (163 islands), with an area of 344 square kilometers (133 square miles), while the smallest cluster is Kosrae (5 islands), spanning 110 square kilometers (42.5 square miles). The islands include a variety of terrains, ranging from mountainous islands to low, coral atolls and volcanic outcrops.

POPULATION.

The population of Micronesia was estimated at 134,597 in July 2001, up 18 percent from 114,000 in 1998. The current annual population growth rate is 3.28 percent, which will result in a population of 176,815 by 2010. The birth rate is 27.09 per 1,000 population, with a fertility rate of 3.83 children per woman. The death rate is 5.95 per 1,000 population. The immigration rate is 11.65 migrants per 1,000 population. The infant mortality rate in July 2000 was 33.48 per 1,000 births (the U.S. rate was 7 per 1,000).

There are 9 ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups, spread across the islands. In 1994, around 53,319 people lived in Chuuk; 33,692 in Pohnpei; 11,178 in Yap; and 7,317 in Kosrae. The highest population density was estimated in Chuuk island with 419.8 people per square kilometer (1,087 per square mile) in 1994.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Previously administered by the United States as a Trust Territory of the United Nations, the Federated States of Micronesia became self-governing in domestic matters in 1986, and fully independent in 1991.

The small size of Micronesia, both in terms of geographical area and population size, its remote location, and its lack of commercially viable mineral resources all combine to set limits on the economy. The nation's main assets are its tropical location (which provides good potential for tourism), productive fishing grounds, and reasonably well-educated workforce .

Micronesia's estimated GDP per capita is $2,000, which places it near the top of 45 world economies the World Bank classifies as Lower Middle-Income (coun-tries with GDP per capita in a range from $700-$2,800). Financial support from the United States has been a vital feature of the period since self-government was introduced in 1986, with $1.3 billion allocated over the period from 1986 to 2001, an enormous sum for a community of 134,000almost $100,000 per person. The money has been allocated to improving educational and health provisions, providing infrastructure , training for political and community leaders, bolstering public sector efficiency, and encouraging the private sector . Grants from external sources amounted to some $91.5 million in 1996-97 (equivalent to 43 percent of GDP).

The most significant cash export is fish, which accounted for 82 percent of total exports in 1996. Micronesia has established an exclusive economic zone , which covers an ocean area of more than 2.5 million square kilometers (965,250 square miles) of particularly productive fishing grounds yielding tuna, red snapper, and grouper. Local producers fish these waters, and licenses are granted to foreign fishing fleets to work these waters as well. Other marine resources include phosphate deposits, and there are currently trials under way to see if these deposits on the ocean floor can be exploited commercially.

In the past, copra (the sun-dried white flesh of the coconut, from which coconut oil is extracted) was Micronesia's main cash crop . However, low world prices have led to production plummeting from 8,500 tons in 1979 to 200 in 1992, and it has remained around that level since, although in some years no exports of copra are recorded at all, and this despite a government subsidy to try to maintain production. Copra now makes a small contribution to income in Micronesia, and the economy is no longer buffeted by fluctuations in world copra prices. Also, Micronesia no longer faces a dilemma of whether to continue production in the face of current low prices. Needless to say, the decline in copra production is a particular blow for farmers on the outer islands for whom coconuts have been an important source of income.

The islands all have some tree cover, and timber, including wood from the coconut tree, is used for house construction, furniture, and household utensils. The climate in the Micronesia is tropical, and there is a healthy amount of rainfall. The soil is rich, and fruits indigenous to the islands include bananas, mangos, pineapples, and papayas.

Economic growth in the Micronesia is heavily influenced by changes in global and regional commodity prices and the climate. The nation is mainly made up of small, flat islands, which makes it difficult to support large-scale cultivation. The main form of agriculture is therefore subsistence production. It is difficult for subsistence producers to create a large surplus due to the lack of storage facilities and transportation. The strongest areas for economic growth are tourism, fishing, manufacturing and mining.

The government employed as much as two-thirds of the population before 1997. However, in 1997, the Asian Development Bank approved a loan of $17.68 million for the funding of a program of major economic structural adjustment. This was done in preparation for the ending of U.S. assistance under the Compact of Free Association at the beginning of the 21st century. The reform package included measures for attracting new sources of foreign aid and private investment, for fiscal reform, and for the strengthening of the private sector, as well as severe reductions in the number of public-sector employees. The year 1997 saw the balance of the workforce begin to tilt toward the private sector, and in 1998, government expenditures declined by 27 percent, spurred by continuing privatization . In terms of GDP components, the government's recent efforts to encourage privatization of certain industries seem to be working. Non-market production dropped 4.3 percent as more citizens chose to work in the money economy.

In exchange for allowing the United States exclusive access to its waters, Micronesia receives an annual fixed payment from the U.S. government.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

The Federated States of Micronesia emerged as a nation from the former United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) administered by the United States from the end of World War II. The Federated States of Micronesia became self-governing in 1986.

Political legitimacy rests on a majority vote through elections in accordance with the constitution. On May 10, 1979, the locally drafted Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia incorporated the 4 states of Kosrae, Yap, Ponape (later Pohnpei), and Truk (later Chuuk). The Congress includes 14 members, called Senators. The 4 states each elect 1 "Senator-at-Large" for a 4-year term. The remaining 10 Senators are elected for 2-year terms: their seats are distributed in proportion to the population of each state. Each of the 4 states has its own constitution, governor, and legislature. The federal president and vice-president are elected by the Congress from among the 4 "Senators-at-Large." The president of the Federated States of Micronesia since May 1999 has been Leo A. Falcam.

The state governments are fairly autonomous and work like state governments in the United States, with individual executive, legislative, and judicial systems. In each state, traditional leaders work closely with the local governments to maintain cultural traditions.

There are 3 branches of government: an executive branch led by a president who also serves as head of state; a unicameral (single house) legislature elected from the 4 constituent states; and a judicial system that applies criminal and civil laws and procedures closely paralleling those of the United States. Under the Compact of Free Association, the United States is responsible for defence.

The Council of the Micronesian Government Executives aims to facilitate discussion of economic developments in the region and to examine possibilities for reducing the considerable cost of shipping essential goods between the islands.

The main tax that all businesses in Micronesia pay is the Gross Receipts Tax. The tax is assessed on the gross revenues of businesses, which includes all receipts without deductions. The rate is $80 on the first $10,000 of gross revenues and 3 percent of any excess for the calendar year. Businesses with less than $2,000 gross revenue in a year are eligible for a refund of the taxes paid for that year. A Wages and Salaries Tax is assessed on an employee's income. The Social Security Tax requires the employer to pay half of the tax and the employee to pay the other half. The current rate is 4 percent of wages paid by both the employee and the employer.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Micronesia has a total of 240 kilometers (149 miles) of roadways, 42 kilometers (26 miles) of which are paved. Macadam (a mix of small broken stone and concrete or asphalt) and concrete roads are found in the more important islands. Other islands have stone and coral-surfaced roads and tracks. There are no rail lines in the islands.

The country has a total of 6 airports, of which 5 have paved runways. International airports which can accommodate medium-sized jets can be found in Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, and Kosrae, and there are airstrips in the outer islands of Onoun and Ta in Chuuk. The Federated States of Micronesia is considering expanding air terminals in order to meet the increasing demand for air traffic. The islands are served by Continental Micronesia, Air Nauru, and Continental Airlines (USA). Pacific Missionary Aviation, based in Pohnpei and Yap, provides domestic air services.

There are several ports and harbors, such as Colonia (Yap), Kolonia (Pohnpei), Lele, and Moen. All of the states in the Federated States of Micronesia have deep draft harbors capable of handling almost all commercial shipping needs. Each port is capable of providing containerized cargo handling, as well as some warehousing and transshipment capabilities. All ports offer cold storage

Communications
Country Telephones a Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a Radio Stations a Radios a TV Stations a Televisions a Internet Service Providers c Internet Users c
Micronesia 11,000 (2001) N/A AM 5; FM 1; shortwave 0 N/A 2 N/A 1 2,000
United States 194 M 69.209 M (1998) AM 4,762; FM 5,542; shortwave 18 575 M 1,500 219 M 7,800 148 M
Philippines 1.9 M 1.959 M (1998) AM 366; FM 290; shortwave 3 (1999) 11.5 M 31 3.7 M 33 500,000
Solomon Islands 8,000 658 AM 3; FM 0; shortwave 0 57,000 0 3,000 1 3,000
aData is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.
bData is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.
cData is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].

facilities. Shipping services are available to anywhere in the world on a monthly schedule by PM & O Line, Pacific Micronesia Line, Kyowa Lines, Palau Shipping Lines, Tiger Lines, and Saipan Shipping Company. Freight rates are relatively high, as volume shipping is rarely possible.

The 4 urban centers all have public water and sewer systems. Outside of the urban centers, the populations rely on water catchments (devices for trapping water), wells, and septic tank systems. Charges for water usage range from $1.50 to $5.40 per 6,000 gallons of water. Kosrae does not charge for water and sewerage.

With the exception of some small hydroelectric facilities in Kosrae and Pohnpei, electricity in the Federated States of Micronesia is produced by diesel generators. The principal energy source in Micronesia is imported petroleum. From 1993 to 1997, Micronesia spent $10 to $20 million per year for petroleum products. Power is generally available only in the 4 urban centers. The power system in Pohnpei is operated as a state enterprise fund and is the most reliable system. The other 3 states are moving in a similar direction. The existing power system can accommodate additional users, and the government is willing to provide such means when necessary. Electricity generating costs are $0.19 a kilowatt-hour, while charges range from $.05 a kilowatt-hour to $0.25 a kilowatt-hour.

The telecommunications system in the Federated States of Micronesia is highly developed and offers satellite access for telephone, telex, and facsimile to any location worldwide. There were 8,000 main telephone lines in use in 1995. For domestic purposes, the islands are interconnected by shortwave radiotelephones (used mostly for government business). For international links there are 4 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) satellite earth stations.

The Federated States of Micronesia Postal Service delivers and sends mail by air. The Federated States of Micronesia is part of the U.S. zip code system. Postage rates between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States are the same as U.S. domestic rates.

There are 5 AM radio stations and 1 FM radio station. The majority of stations broadcast in English. There are 2 broadcasting television stations.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Economic activity in Micronesia consists primarily of subsistence farming and fishing as well as revenues from external licensing (the U.S. government, for example, makes a fixed payment to the Federated States of

Micronesia for exclusive access to its waters). In the financial year ending September 30, 1997, fees from fish-eries licensing agreements, mainly with Japan, contributed some 30 percent of domestic budgetary revenues.

The islands have no mineral deposits worth exploiting, with the possible exception of off-shore phosphate, but it is uncertain whether these deposits can be extracted commercially. The potential for a tourist industry exists, but the remoteness of the location and a lack of adequate facilities hinder development. Currently, monetary aid from the United States provides the majority of revenue for both the government and the national economy.

The government's main economic priority is to develop a sustainable, independent economy by bolstering the private sector and reforming the public sector with the objective of reducing dependence on foreign aid and encouraging economic self-sufficiency. In addition, the government supports international efforts to stop global warming and pollution in general, in order to protect the islands and their agricultural sectors. In recent years, the climate has been very unstable with typhoons, flooding, and mudslides followed by a drought.

AGRICULTURE

Farming is mainly on a subsistence level, although its importance is diminishing. The principal agricultural crops are coconuts, bananas, betel nuts, cassava, and sweet potatoes. The agricultural sector contributed 19 percent of GDP in 1996 and engaged 27 percent of the total labor force in 1994. Exports of agricultural products (excluding fish) accounted for 6 percent of export earnings in 1996, while exports of marine products accounted for 84 percent of total export revenues in that year. The annual rainfall received each year varies from 2,500 millimeters (98 inches) in Yap to 4,500-7,500 millimeters (177-295 inches) in Pohnpei. The limited water reserves in both Chuuk and Yap are a source of concern for the long term.

INDUSTRY

Industry (including mining, manufacturing, utilities, and construction) provided 4 percent of GDP in 1996, and engaged 10 percent of the total labor force in 1994. The major industrial productions are construction, fish processing, and craft items from shells, wood, and pearls. There is little manufacturing, other than garment production (in Yap) and the manufacture of buttons using troche shells.

SERVICES

The service sector provided an estimated 77 percent of GDP in 1996, and government services alone contributed 42.1 percent. The national and state governments in 1996-97 employed a total of 6,015 people, and services as a whole employed 63 percent of the labor force. Tourism is an increasingly important industry, and it is hoped that several projects to improve communications will further stimulate the sector, which has been hindered by the territory's remote location. The tourism industry was identified in the Asian Development Bank in mid-1995 as having the greatest potential for development and thus contributing to Micronesia's economic growth. Presently, most of the Federated States of Micronesia's tourism industry is inadequate and not competitive with destinations such as Guam and, soon, Palau. As of 1991, the most recent year for which such data are available, the Federated States of Micronesia's entire tourism industry (hotel, motel, and other accommodations) amounted to only 290 rooms, 144 of which were in Pohnpei, 80 in Chuuk, 26 in Yap, and 30 in Kosrae. Among the visitors from overseas, 60 percent are from the United States and 25 percent from Japan.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Thanks to its lack of exportable goods, Micronesia has traditionally run a large trade imbalance. In 1996, the trade deficit was $95 million, on exports of $73 million and imports of $168 million. The main exports of the Federated States of Micronesia are marine products, while the main imports are food, manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, beverages, and fuels. Micronesia's main trading partners are the United States, Japan, Australia, and Guam. In 1996, the United States supplied 73.2 percent of Micronesia's imports and Japan 11.9 percent.

Exchange rates: Micronesia
US$
Jan 2001 1.0000
2000 1.0000
1999 1.0000
1998 1.0000
1997 1.0000
1996 1.0000
Note: US currency is used in the Federated States of Micronesia.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

MONEY

The United States dollar is the official currency of Federated States of Micronesia. Its value fluctuates in terms of the other main currencies of the world, but remains relatively stable. Financial regulation is provided by the Federated States of Micronesia Banking Board. Commercial banks include the Bank of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Bank of Guam, and the Bank of Hawaii. There is also the Federated States of Micronesia Development Bank, which has branches in all of the states, and which makes low-interest, long-term loans primarily to local investors.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

The average per capita income was estimated at $2,000 in 1998 (in the United States, by way of comparison, per capita income in 1998 was $29,340). Although manufactured goods are expensive, as they are mostly imported, basic foodstuffs are cheap, and this does much to alleviate poverty. The government has a considerable amount of income at its disposal as a result of the financial support from the United States, and as a result, it is able to support sections of the community (such as farmers in the outlying islands, with the subsidy of copra production) that might otherwise be in poverty.

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Federated States of Micronesia 1,760 2,000 N/A 2,000 N/A
United States 28,600 30,200 31,500 33,900 36,200
Philippines 2,600 3,200 3,500 3,600 3,800
Solomon Islands 3,000 3,000 2,600 2,650 2,000
Note: Data are estimates.
SOURCE: Handbook of the Nations, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th editions for 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 data; CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online] for 2000 data.

There is a compulsory education law that requires all children to begin school at the age of 6. Children may leave school when they reach the age of 14 or after completing the eighth grade. There are virtually 100 percent enrollment rates in primary and, until the age of 14, in secondary education. The adult literacy rate was estimated at 89 percent in 1980. The government maintains a free medical service.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The unemployment rate in Federated States of Micronesia was estimated at 27 percent in 1989, but had fallen to 16 percent by 1999. These figures are high, the degree of under-utilization of the labor force is somewhat greater than even these figures suggest. For much of the year in small-scale family farming there is relatively little work to do, and this is shared among the family members. During planting and harvesting, there is more work to be done, and everyone is more fully occupied. Everyone sharing the work appears to have an occupation in agriculture, but many workers are not engaged full time for all the year, and hence there is some "disguised unemployment."

The government respects the human rights of its citizens. There is no law dealing specifically with trade unions or with the right to collective bargaining. Individual employers, the largest of which are the national and state governments, set wages.

Neither the constitution nor the law specifically prohibits forced and bonded labor by children, but such practices are not known to occur. There is no law establishing a minimum age for employment of children. While in practice there is no employment of children for wages, they often assist their families in subsistence farming activities.

The 4 state governments have established minimum wage rates for government workers. Pohnpei has a minimum hourly wage rate of $2.00 an hour for government and $1.35 an hour for private workers. The other 3 states have established minimum hourly rates only for government workers of $1.25 for Chuuk, $1.49 for Kosrae, and $0.80 for Yap. The minimum hourly wage for employment with the national government is $1.68. These minimum wage structures and the wages customarily paid to skilled workers are sufficient to provide an adequate standard of living under local conditions.

There are no laws regulating hours of work (although a 40-hour workweek is standard practice) or prescribing standards of occupational safety and health. A federal regulation requires that employers provide a safe work-place. The Department of Health has no enforcement capability and working conditions vary in practice. Foreign laborers are paid at a lower rate than citizens, work longer hours per day, and work a 6-day week in contrast to the 5-day week for citizens.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1525. Portuguese navigators in search of the Spice Islands (Indonesia) come upon Yap and Ulithi. Spanish expeditions later explored the rest of the Caroline Islands and make the first European contact with native peoples.

1526-1899. The Spanish Empire claims sovereignty over the Caroline Islands.

1899. Facing insurmountable management challenges in its Pacific empire as war with the United States looms, Spain sells the islands to Germany. The German administration encourages the development of trade and the production of copra (dried coconuts).

1914. German administration ends when Japanese naval squadrons take possession of the Caroline Islands, the Marshall Islands, and the islands of the Marianas at the start of World War I (1914-18).

1918. Japanese economic interest and settlement in the islands expands. The Japanese population in Micronesia exceeds 100,000, compared with an indigenous population of about 40,000. Sugar cane, other tropical crops, mining, and fishing are developed as major industries.

1939-1945. World War II abruptly ends the relative prosperity experienced during the period of Japanese civil administration.

1947. The United Nations establishes the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI), and the United States takes on the role of trustee as administering authority. The TTPI consists of the 4 island groups that will later become the states of the Federated States of Micronesia.

1965. The Congress of Micronesia formed.

1967. A commission is established to examine the future political status of the islands.

1970. Micronesians declare their rights to sovereignty over their own lands, to self-determination, to devise their own constitution, and to revoke their association with the United States.

1977. U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that his administration intends to terminate the trusteeship agreement.

1978. Following a constitutional convention, the Federated States of Micronesia drafts a constitution that provides for federation of the 4 states: Chuuk (formerly Truk), Pohnpei (formerly Ponape), Kosrae (formerly Kusaie), and Yap.

1979. The 4 states ratify the constitution, and the Federated States of Micronesia comes into being.

1982. The United States signs a Compact of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia.

1986. The Federated States of Micronesia becomes self-governing.

1991. Micronesia achieves full independence and becomes a member of the United Nations.

1993. Micronesia joins the International Monetary Fund.

2001. Micronesia begins a renegotiation of Compact of Free Association with the United States to secure the continuation of financial support. The government announces a privatization plan.

FUTURE TRENDS

Although Micronesia will continue to be hampered economically by its isolated location, small geographical area, and population size, it has the enormous benefit of the generous financial support of the United States. The level of this support is undergoing renegotiation, with the United States offering $74 million a year and Micronesia requesting $84 million. Even at the lower level of support, this would secure Micronesia's living standards for the next 15 years of the agreement (the level of U.S. assistance in 2000 was $79 million).

Micronesia had a positive GDP growth rate in 2000 of 2.5 percent, and although this is encouraging in view of the negative growth rates recorded from 1996 to 1999, it is still below the population growth rate of 3.3 percent a year. There is pressure on the government from the IMF to reduce expenditures and increase revenue collection to maintain the budget surplus achieved since 1996, and to maintain the current low inflation rate (2.8 percent in 2000). The government has announced a privatization program to try to improve efficiency in the economy, and this is to be supported by loans from the Asian Development Bank

Fisheries is targeted as one the industries presenting the greatest potential for growth in the private sector. The fishing industry should see improvements in the near future as Japan is funding a $2.8 million project to train fishermen in Micronesia. However, both Taiwan and Japan are seeking to reduce the license payments they make for fishing in Micronesia's waters. They argue that the current low price for tuna on the world market makes this necessary, and they also claim that tuna have begun to migrate away from Micronesia's waters to other parts of the Pacific.

Tourism is the second sector with expansion potential. In 2000, the islands received 17,152 visitors. The number of visitors has fallen slightly for each of the past 4 years. Initially, the fall was credited to the Asian financial crisis, particularly affecting the number of Japanese tourists. However, the fact that the fall has continued indicates that there is much to be done in regenerating the sector, and this will require foreign investment in hotels and an international marketing program. A British firm, Travel Research International, has been engaged to promote Micronesia's tourism, concentrating on diving, cultural tourism, deep-sea fishing, and eco-tourism as the main attractions.

In common with many other South Pacific countries, Micronesia is alarmed by the effect continuing global warming will have on its islands. The consequent rise in the level of the oceans threatens low-lying islands with flooding and, eventually, with submergence.

DEPENDENCIES

Micronesia has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Federated States of Micronesia. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia, Washington, D.C. <http://www.fsmembassy.org>. Accessed September 2001.

Goetzfridt, N. J., and W. L. Wuerch. Micronesia 1975-1987 .Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 1989.

Pacific Islands Business Network. Federated States of Micronesia: Country Profile. <http://pidp.ewc.hawaii.edu/pibn/countries/fsm.htm>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http:// www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed August 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Federated States of Micronesia, June 1996. <http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/micronesia_0696_bgn.html>. Accessed September 2001.

Oygul Musakhanova

CAPITAL:

Palikir, Pohnpei Island.

MONETARY UNIT:

The official currency of Micronesia is the United States dollar ($). One dollar equals 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents and 1 dollar. There are notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Fish, garments, bananas, and black pepper.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Food, manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, and beverages.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$263 million (1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$73 million (1996 est.). Imports: US$168 million (1996 est.).

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Micronesians

Micronesians

ETHNONYMS: Carolinians, Chamorros, Chuukese (Trukese), Guamanians, I-Kiribati (Gilbertese), Kosraeans, Marshallese, Micronesian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Palauans, Pohnpeians, Nauruans, Yapese


Orientation

Identification. Micronesians of North America are Pacific Islanders whose homeland comprises over twenty-five hundred minuscule coral islets and volcanic islands of the Western Pacific. The term Micronesia, meaning "tiny islands," was coined by the French geographer Domeny de Rienzi in 1831 and used by subsequent explorers and cartographers. Geographically, the area includes three great archipelagoes, the Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall Islands, covering an ocean expanse equal to the continental United States. Anthropologists define Micronesia as one of the three "culture areas" of Oceania, which also includes Polynesia and Melanesia. The "culture area" identification, however, cloaks considerable Diversity among different island societies within Micronesia. Politically also the Micronesian area is diverse and includes seven entities: two are independent republics (Kiribati and Nauru); two are in a unique "free association" with the United States (the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands); one is a commonwealth (the Northern Mariana Islands); one is an unincorporated territory of the United States (Guam); and one (the Republic of Belau) has yet to finalize a treaty defining its relationship to the United States as of late 1990. The ethnonym "Micronesia" is primarily an artifact of European cultural categories and geographic divisions imposed as part of a larger heuristic upon the multitudinous island societies of Oceania. There is very little if any common ethnic identification or shared cultural heritage among the different island groups subsumed under this term.

Location. Micronesians in the United States and Canada are one of the smallest and most recent immigrant groups, and its characteristics are changing quickly. Very little Research has been directed toward Micronesians in the United States, and it was not until the 1980 census that Micronesians were enumerated separately from other Asian and Pacific Islanders. Consequently, geographic and demographic information on Micronesians in the United States is very sketchy. Most of the Micronesians immigrating to the United States initially take up residence in Hawaii or on the Pacific Coast. The 1980 census indicated that 55 percent of Guamanians (or Chamorros, as the indigenous people of Guam are called) in the United States reside in California. Other Micronesians, such as Chuukese, Marshallese, and Palauans, have formed small pockets of settlement in Washington, Oregon, southern California, and Texas, but the non-Guamanian Micronesians probably reside in largest numbers in Hawaii. These Pacific Islanders prefer West Coast and southern states with sunny climates similar to the tropical Pacific. Micronesians live predominantly in urban or suburban areas where they have access to the employment and educational opportunities that motivated their migration. Although the earlier immigrantsmainly the Guamanians who came to the United States in the 1950s and 1960smay own homes in working-class suburban neighborhoods, the more recent Micronesians are mainly apartment renters in lower-class urban neighborhoods.

In Canada, the majority of immigrants from the Pacific Islands are Asian Indians who emigrated from Fiji. Pacific Islanders in Canada reside almost exclusively in British Columbia, with less than one thousand in Ontario and Manitoba.

Demography. The 1990 estimated population of the seven island entities composing Micronesia is roughly 375,000, of which the great majority are ethnic Micronesians. On the larger U.S.-affiliated islands in Micronesia there are minority communities of Americans, Filipinos, and Asians who hold professional and technical positions. Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, currently enjoying an economic surge of tourism-related growth, employ sizable numbers of Korean, Chinese, and other Asian construction workers on short-term contracts. In much of Micronesia the population was declining from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, owing mainly to the effects of introduced diseases in small, vulnerable populations. Since the advent of antibiotics, Micronesia has undergone a dramatic demographic reversal, and the population today is young and highly fertile. The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) currently have annual population growth rates of over 3 percent, and the resultant population pressure is one major incentive for increasing migration to Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland. Micronesians in the United States probably numbered no more than 60,000 in 1990, of which about 85 percent were Guamanians. Demographically, Micronesians in the United States show aspects typical of new migrant Populations: a low median age (less than twenty-three, compared with the U.S. median age of thirty) and a preponderance of males over females. The largest concentration of Micronesiansroughly 20,000is in Long Beach, California, where the naval base has attracted large numbers of Guamanians. Since November 1986, when the United States signed compacts of Free Association giving citizens of the FSM and RMI the privilege of free immigration to the United States, there has been a surge of emigrants from these two island countries. A sizable Marshallese community has grown up in Costa Mesa outside of Los Angeles. The numbers are nearly inconsequential by U.S. national standards, but the thousand or so emigrants annually from Micronesia to the United States since 1986 represents a significant outflow of people from these small island communities.

In Canada, estimates from the 1986 census indicated that there were 5,305 residents of Pacific Island origin, about 90 percent of them from Micronesia or Melanesia. Whether this figure accounts for just native Pacific Islanders or includes some Fijian Indians is unclear.

linguistic Affiliation. All Micronesian languages are part of the Austronesian family of languages, which is dispersed over nearly one-third of the globe and includes language Communities as widely separated as Madagascar, Easter Island, Hawaii, and the Philippines. None of the Micronesian Languages has a writing system that predates European contact. Even today there are very few written materials in these Languages, and orthographies are not well standardized or widely accepted. Consequently there are very few contexts outside of the family where Micronesians speak, read, or write their own languages. Guamanians born in the United States usually do not speak their language fluently. According to the 1980 U.S. census, over 50 percent of Guamanians in the United States speak only English at home. Non-Guamanian Micronesians represent a much more recent immigration, and include a larger percentage of first-generation migrants. In the 1980 census, nearly 10 percent of non-Guamanian Micronesians indicated that they speak English "not well" or "not at all."


History and Cultural Relations

The first Micronesian immigrants to the United States were a very few islanders, known as "Bajinerus" in Guam, who shipped out from home as whalers or crewmen on merchant ships in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1898 the United States took possession of Guam as a booty of the Spanish-American War, and prior to World War II, young Guamanian men became eligible for the draft. Military service and the subsequent relocation of families in the 1940s and 1950s provided the first avenue for significant Micronesian immigration to the United States, although this route was limited Entirely to Guamanians. This wave of migration reached its peak during the 1950s and 1960s, owing to the Korean and Vietnam wars. The U.S. Naval Base in Long Beach, California, has been the primary employer of Guamanians as navy enlisted personnel and as civilians.

After World War II, the United States received trusteeship of the remainder of the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands, and the Marshall Islands, and the entire territory Except for Guam became the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. As the Americanization of Guam and the other Micronesian islands accelerated during the postwar decades, education gained increasing importance. American-style schools were built throughout Micronesia, and growing numbers of young Micronesian high school graduates arrived in the United States to pursue college education. This accounted for a second wave of Micronesian migrants. In 1972, U.S. Federal scholarship assistance in the form of grant and loan programs was extended to Micronesians, which considerably increased the tide of college-bound islanders coming to the United States. By the early 1980s, however, this stream of migration peaked. At its height, there were perhaps a maximum of five-thousand Micronesian college-age individuals (not counting Guamanians) in the United States, which represented a sizable percentage of the home population in this age bracket.

The third and most recent wave of Micronesian migration to the United States comprises individuals and families who have left their homes out of dissatisfaction with the Economic and social constraints of life in small island Communities and have come to the United States to seek a better life. This third wave is significantly different from the first two. The individuals are older, and rather than intending a shortterm circular migration for military service or educational training, these migrants usually intend to settle permanently or for a long period in the United States. The third wave shows aspects typical of chain migration. Often the migrants follow relatives or friends who had previously migrated for military or educational reasons, and they rely heavily on their social relations or kinship with previous migrants in order to find jobs and housing, and generally receive assistance in accommodating to their new life. Among Guamanians, this stream began in the 1960s and now accounts for the largest number of immigrants to the United States.

Other Micronesians gained unrestricted immigration into the United States only in 1986 when the Compacts of Free Association were signed, leading to a migration of Islanders seeking a better life during the past few years. Micronesian settlement in the United States still reflects the importance of military and educational centers of opportunity. Guamanians are concentrated around military bases in southern California and in the south bay cities of Long Beach, Carson, and Wilmington; settlement extends to border cities of Orange County such as Garden Grove and Buena Park. Other Micronesians tend to cluster around University and community college centers in Washington, Oregon, California, and Texas.


Economy

Micronesians in the United States mostly hold low-paying, semi-skilled or unskilled jobs in service industries such as restaurants and hotels, in the construction industry, and in factories. Some have attained middle-level management positions, but very few hold professional jobs, even among the Guamanians who came to the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. Per capita income of Guamanians and other Micronesians in the United States is about 25 percent below the national average, according to 1980 census data. Lack of education and specialized training, recency of migration, and the low median age are the main factors in Micronesians' Marginal integration into the economy. Also, there is no cultural tradition of capital accumulation or mercantile Entrepreneurship in the Micronesian societies, and strong kinship pressure still exists for the sharing and redistribution of resources. Many Micronesians send money and material goods back to relatives at home and help finance the migration and education of other relatives.

Kinship, Marriage and Family

Kinship. Micronesian kinship groups and descent vary from one island society to another, but generally give primacy to the female line. The most important kinship group above the level of the domestic unit is the matrilineage, a group of women closely related through their mothers. Kinship terminology reflects the authority of the female line. Micronesian kinship is complex, however, and relatedness is considered through a wide circle of relatives on both the mother's and the father's sides, as well as through "fictive" or constructed kin relations such as customary adoption of children.

Marriage. Micronesian marriages are monogamous and in general are quite stable after the couple has begun having children. There is no particular preference for ethnic group endogamy, especially among the younger Micronesian college-age migrants to the United States. Micronesian Marriages to White and Latino spouses are fairly common.

Domestic Unit. In Micronesia, the domestic unit has narrowed considerably within the past two generations. Cash economy has replaced much of the subsistence fishing and gardening activities of the past that provided the rationale for larger, extended domestic groups who resided and worked Together and shared subsistence resources. Nevertheless, family structure among Micronesians in the United States is still close-knit and multigenerational. The average number of Persons per household among Guamanian and other Micronesian migrants is significantly higher (3.57 and 3.88, respectively) than the U.S. average (2.74).

Inheritance. Traditional inheritance of family land and group membership in most Micronesian societies is matrilineal, and married couples typically reside on the wife's land. But the succession of foreign colonial administrations in MicronesiaSpain, Germany, Japan, and the United Stateshas greatly altered the customary patterns of land ownership and inheritance, postmarital residence, and the transmission of surnames. Micronesians in the United States have largely adopted the American legal practice of children carrying their father's surname. Frequently the father's given name becomes the family surname in the United States, a practice foreign to Micronesian custom.

Socialization. Micronesian patterns of socialization are highly indulgent during the early years, and children are trained to be respectful toward older family members and to be sensitive toward harmonious social relationships. Responsibilities for infant and child caretaking frequently fall upon young adolescents, especially girls. This practice of multiple caretakers and early child-care responsibilities among older children may help foster socially affiliative and accommodating behavior among adults. Some high school-aged Guamanian youth have formed Chamorro youth clubs to promote ethnic identification, but generally there is very little formal socialization into the ethnic group among Micronesians in the United States.


Sociopolitical Organization

Social and Political Organization. Primary loyalty and identification traditionally among Micronesians are with Individual islands and villages. State and national allegiance within Micronesia is a recent political concept and is not strongly developed. In the United States, Guamanians have taken the lead in forming community associations, but other Micronesians are not especially well organized at the Community level. There are about a dozen large community organizations of Chamorros in California encompassing Chamorros from San Diego to Sacramento. Annual Chamorro cultural celebrations have recently been organized in Vallejo, and the Chamorro community also shares in the annual celebration of Guam liberation from Japan by U.S. forces following World War II. Some other Micronesian groups have organized community associations in Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast; these often center around a church organization and primarily involve social and recreational activities such as picnics and sports by college-aged individuals and their families. The Marshallese community in Costa Mesa is perhaps the only such Micronesian community association to have received substantial support from its home government and to have constructed a community center building. There is no political association that unifies the various Micronesian groups in the United States. In California, Chamorro Community organizations formed the Federation of Guamanian Associations in 1977, aimed at promoting and supporting Chamorro needs and concerns through community organizations and political action. No such overarching political structure exists for other Micronesian groups in the United States.

Social Control and Conflict. In Micronesian islands, Social control and conflict resolution customarily were in the hands of traditional chiefs and lineage leaders. Formal legal litigation and arbitration of disputes is a rather newly imposed judicial system in Micronesia and is not entirely understood or accepted. In the United States, many Micronesians feel alienated from the political and legal system, preferring to settle disputes in informal ways. Micronesians in the United States seem to be involved in a disproportionate amount of police trouble relating to drunken and disorderly conduct and alcohol-related vehicular accidents. One factor in this pattern of criminal activity is the preponderance of young males in the migrant population. Within many Micronesian islands, the per capita consumption of alcohol is high by world Standards, and roughly 90 percent of arrests and emergency hospitalizations are alcohol-related.


Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. Guam was invaded and conquered by Spanish soldiers and missionized by Catholic priests Beginning in 1668, making the island the first Pacific outpost of European colonization and religion. All the Chamorro People from Guam and the neighboring islands were forcibly resettled into mission villages. Within the first forty years of Spanish missionization on Guam, the Chamorro people suffered catastrophic depopulation, losing perhaps 90 percent of their population to disease, warfare, and the hardships brought about by resettlement and forced labor on plantations. Protestant and Catholic missions were established elsewhere throughout the Micronesian islands during the mid-1800s, and a similar pattern of depopulation from introduced diseases ensued on Yap, Pohnpei, and other Micronesian Islands. All of the larger islands of Micronesia have been Christianized for at least a century, and in no place was local resistance successfully maintained for very long. Chamorros today are nearly entirely Roman Catholic, while in other areas of Micronesia, Protestants slightly outnumber Catholics. During the past twenty years a number of Christian sects have gained a small foothold, including Baptists, Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses. In Guam, Catholic beliefs and practices are heavily flavored with elements from Filipino animism and spiritualism, indigenous Chamorro ancestor veneration, and medieval European idolizing of religious icons. Elsewhere in Micronesia, there is a similar syncretic mix of modern Christian theology and practice with indigenous beliefs in animism and many varieties of magic.

Religious Practitioners. Religious leaders in Micronesia command considerable respect in the wider social and Political arena and are frequently called upon as advisers for Government planning and development and as mediators in Political disputes. Although American and other foreign priests and ministers are working in all the larger islands in Micronesia, indigenous religious practitioners are being trained and are assuming leadership of churches throughout the area.

Ceremonies. Micronesians are faithful churchgoers, and in many communities the church functions as a focus of sociability and cohesion. But Chamorros and other Micronesians who have recently immigrated to the United States for educational reasons or to seek a better life are much less dedicated to churchgoing than the earlier immigrants who came for military service. Nevertheless, ceremonial occasions such as weddings, christenings, and funerals play an important role among Micronesians in the United States not only as occasions for religious observance but, more important, as Ceremonies that promote social interdependence and ethnic cohesion. Among Guamanians, one example of this is the prevalent custom of chinchule giving money, food, or other gifts to a family at weddings, christenings, or deaths to assist the family in meeting the costs of the ceremony or to repay a prior gift. This practice reinforces the socioeconomic indebtedness and reciprocity that permeate Micronesian family relationships.

Arts. In traditional Micronesian societies, arts were closely integrated into functional and subsistence aspects of life, such as house building, weaving of clothing, and construction and embellishment of sailing canoes. There was no class of people who worked solely as specialist craftspersons or artists. Performing arts such as dance were also closely integrated into the agricultural calendar and into the cycle of arrivals and departures of people from their home islands. Among Micronesian immigrants in the United States, there are very few if any professional performers who sustain Micronesian arts, but there are frequent informal presentations of Micronesian singing and dancing at community gatherings and family social events.

Medicine. Medical knowledge traditionally was shared fairly widely in Micronesian communities. Although some individuals could gain a reputation for being especially knowledgeable in administering therapeutic massage, setting bones, practicing midwifery, or preparing herbal remedies, there were no specialist healers who were recognized and supported as such. Both magical and efficacious aspects of medical treatment were often used together and were inseparable in actual practice. Among Micronesians in the United States, there is still frequent resort to non-Western explanations of illness causation and to alternative treatments.

Death and Afterlife. Contemporary Micronesian beliefs about the afterlife are a syncretic mix of Christian and Indigenous ideas. Christian dogma regarding rewards and punishments in the afterlife is more explicitly formulated than indigenous Micronesian notions, but corresponds with and reinforces some indigenous beliefs in spirit worlds beneath the sea and beyond the horizon. Experiences of spirit possession and communication from the dead are rather widely believed and sometimes are given as an explanation for unnatural deaths such as suicide. Funerals are very important not only as occasions for community and family reintegration involving several days of ceremonial feasts and speeches but also as rituals to mark the departure of the dead properly and to put the person's spirit to rest. Among many Micronesians in the United States, great expense is incurred to return the body of the deceased to his or her home island and to provide a proper burial on family land.


Bibliography

Hezel, Francis X., and Michael J. Levin (1987). "Micronesian Emigration: The Brain Drain in Palau, Marshalls, and the Federated States." Journal of the Pacific Society 10:16-34.

Hezel, Francis X., and Michael J. Levin (1990). "Micronesian Emigration: Beyond the Brain Drain." In Migration and development in the South Pacific, edited by John Connell, 42-60. Pacific Research Monograph no. 24. Canberra: National Centre for Development Studies, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.

Leon Guerrero, Ramon (1972). "An Exploratory Study of Life-Style Adjustments of Guamanians." Master's thesis, San Diego State University.

Levin, Michael J. (1984). "Pacific Islanders in the United States." Paper presented at the conference on Asia-Pacific Immigration to the United States Honolulu: East-West Population Institute.

Munoz, Faye Untalan (1979). "An Exploratory Study of Island Migration: Chamorros of Guam." Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles.

Shimizu, D. (1982). "Mental Health Needs Assessment: The Guamanians in California." Ed.D. diss., University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Underwood, Robert A. (1985). "Excursions into Inauthenticity: The Chamorros of Guam." In Mobility and Identity in the Island Pacific, edited by Murray Chapman and Philip S. Morrison. Special issue of Pacific Viewpoint 26:160-184.


DONALD H. RUBINSTEIN

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Micronesians

Micronesians

PRONUNCIATION: mye-cro-NEE-zhuns

LOCATION: Federated States of Micronesia (also Guam, Republic of Belau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru, the Northern Mariana Islands, and thousands of smaller islands)

POPULATION: 100,000

LANGUAGE: Indigenous languages of the islands; English

RELIGION: Catholicism; Protestantism

1 INTRODUCTION

The name Micronesia comes from Greek, meaning "small islands." The Micronesian cultures are located in the northern Pacific Ocean. Most of the nearly 2,500 islands that make up Micronesia were administered by the United States until 1986 as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1986, the territory was dissolved into four constitutional governments: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Belau (Palau), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. All four have continuing political and economic relationships with the United States.

2 LOCATION

The Micronesian region is shaped like a parallelogram. Its corners are formed by the Republic of Belau in the southwest; Kiribati, formerly the Gilbert Islands, in the southeast; Guam in the northwest; and the Marshall Islands in the northeast.

Volcanic and coral islands make up Micronesia. Almost all of the islands within the region of Micronesia are located north of the equator. The largest island is Guam, with 225 square miles and about half of the total population. The Republic of Nauru (not previously administered by the U.S.) is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a total area of 9 square miles. It is also one of the least densely populated, with only about 9,000 people.

3 LANGUAGE

The languages of the Micronesian region belong to the large family of Austronesian languages. Austronesian is widely spread throughout the Pacific Basin. Micronesian languages are related to other Austronesian languages such as Javanese, Tagalog (Pilipino), Balinese, Hawaiian, and Malay. English is also spoken.

4 FOLKLORE

One Palauan myth recounts the story of a magical breadfruit tree that the child of the sun provided for his human mother. In order to provide fish for her to eat, the son cut a hole in the center of a breadfruit tree growing outside her house. Fish were thrown through the hole by the waves of the sea. The mother just had to walk out her door to collect fish. Her neighbors became jealous and cut down the breadfruit tree. This caused a catastrophic flood that engulfed the whole island. Only the mother was saved; her son flew her through the sky on a raft.

5 RELIGION

Christian missionaries in Micronesia have converted most of the people to either Catholicism or Protestant faiths. Traditional religion in Micronesian cultures involved belief in ghosts and ancestor worship. People also believed in spirits associated with specific places, objects, and activities. Chants and offerings were directed to these patron spirits.

6 MAJOR HOLIDAYS

Major religious holidays in Micronesia now are based on the Christian calendar. Many Micronesian states celebrate Ash Wednesday (in February), Easter (in March or April), All Saints' Day (in November), and Christmas (December 25). American secular holidays, including Thanksgiving, are observed in many parts of Micronesia. A major event for the display of traditional culture is the South Pacific Arts Festival. Performing groups from a number of different Pacific Island nations participate in it.

7 RITES OF PASSAGE

Many of the traditional celebrations that accompany events like birth, the start of adolescence, marriage, and death have been replaced by Christian rituals. On the island of Yap, however, male adolescence is still marked by a hair-cutting ceremony.

8 RELATIONSHIPS

Traditionally, there were specific rules of etiquette for Micronesians to follow when they visited another island. Most societies had three distinct social classes. Social status still determines etiquette in Micronesian societies.

Greetings among many Micronesians are equivalent to the English "welcome." In the Chamorro language of the Northern Marianas, the greeting is hafa adai.

9 LIVING CONDITIONS

Western-style housing has become common in Micronesia. Some houses, however, are still constructed out of traditional materials, with the addition of a corrugated tin roof.

Electricity and running water are available on those islands where there has been an American or European presence. Some families own gasoline-powered generators to run their appliances.

10 FAMILY LIFE

Households in traditional Micronesian societies include a husband, a wife, and their unmarried children. Women's councils play an important role in village decision-making in Belau.

11 CLOTHING

Micronesians wear Western-style clothing most of the time. However, for ceremonial occasions they often return to traditional styles of dress. Before European colonization, typical clothing was a loincloth for men and a skirt of natural fibers for women.

12 FOOD

The Micronesian diet is pretty much the same across the region. There are some local differences due to climate patterns and geographic features. Foods including taro root, breadfruit, coconuts, and yams are staples in many households throughout the region. Europeans introduced corn, sweet potatoes, and manioc (cassava). Fish is the most important source of protein in all parts of Micronesia.

Western foods have become important, especially to younger people. Packaged American foods such as breakfast cereals are part of many Micronesian daily meals.

13 EDUCATION

Western-style education has been introduced throughout Micronesia. There are a number of American-run schools where residents from the United States send their children. Opportunities for a college education must be found in the U.S. or in other developed countries.

14 CULTURAL HERITAGE

Micronesian music is mainly vocal. Very few musical instruments are produced by Micronesian cultures. The shell trumpet and the nose flute are the most common instruments in the region.

Polynesian-style music from Hawaii has become popular in parts of Micronesia. American music and dance have been introduced by television and by Americans living on the islands.

15 EMPLOYMENT

Traditionally, men have engaged in fishing and harvesting. Women were responsible for gardening and household chores. Wage labor is now common for both men and women in Micronesia. Many states have set minimum-wage standards. In the Northern Marianas Islands, the minimum hourly wage for 1996 was $3.05.

16 SPORTS

Traditional forms of competitive sports have all but disappeared from most parts of Micronesia. Sports introduced from foreign nations (such as the United States and Japan), have become popular.

17 RECREATION

Television and video have become popular in many Micronesian societies. The programming is mostly foreignusually from the U.S. or Japanand often out of date. Movie theaters on many of the islands run current American and other foreign films.

Traditional forms of entertainment in Nauru consisted of singing and dancing contests and kite flying. The competing "teams" were organized along family lines.

18 CRAFTS AND HOBBIES

Belau, in western Micronesia, is well known for the elaborately carved and painted wooden fronts of the houses known as bai. Every plank of the panels at either end of the house front was illustrated with scenes from a historical or mythological story. In the 1930s, the Palauans began to create copies of these planks, as well as new "story-boards," for sale to tourists. Carved bowls of various shapes and sizes and finely braided mats for sleeping and sitting on are also produced for the tourist industry.

19 SOCIAL PROBLEMS

Economic self-sufficiency (independence) and the survival of the many cultures are two of the major problems facing Micronesian countries. Tensions must be resolved between factions, both on each island and also between islands.

20 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ashby, Gene, ed. Some Things of Value: Micronesian Customs and Beliefs. Eugene, Ore.: Rainy Day Press, 1985.

Kluge, P. F. The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia. New York: Random House, 1991.

WEBSITES

World Travel Guide. Micronesia. [Online] Available http://www.wtgonline.com/country/fm/gen.html, 1998.

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Micronesia

Micronesia

Official name: Federated States of Micronesia

Area: 702 square kilometers (271 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Mount Totolom (791 meters/2,595 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zones: In Pohnpei and Kosrae, 10 p.m. = noon GMT; in Yap and Chuuk, 9 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 2,898 kilometers (1,800 miles) east to west from Kosrae to Yap

Land boundaries: None

Coastline: 6,112 kilometers (3,798 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

The country of Micronesia comh2ises several islands in the North Pacific Ocean that are part of a larger group known as the Carolinian archipelago. In turn, this archipelago is located within a region that is also known as Micronesia, which belongs to the larger region known as Oceania. The country is located about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia. With an area of about 702 square kilometers (271 square miles), the country is about four times the size of Washington, D.C. Micronesia is divided into four states.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Micronesia has no outside territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

The climate in Micronesia is maritime tropical, with little seasonal or diurnal (dayto-night) variation in temperature, which averages 27°C (80°F) year-round. Average humidity is 80 percent.

The northeast trade winds that prevail during November, December, April, and May frequently bring heavy rainfall. The short and torrential nature of the rainfall, which decreases from east to west, results in an annual average of 508 centimeters (200 inches) of rain in Pohnpei and 305 centimeters (120 inches) in Yap. Pohnpei is one of the wettest places on Earth. The eastern islands are located on the southern edge of the typhoon belt and occasionally suffer severe damage from typhoons, which are a threat from June through December.

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

The country of Micronesia covers the second-largest land and sea area in the region, which is also known as Micronesia. Its four states consist of four major island groups. From east to west, they are Kosrae, Pohnpei (Ponape), Chuuk (formerly Truk), and Yap Islands. The territory is made up of 607 islands, including mountainous islands of volcanic origin and coral atolls, forty of which are a significant size. Only sixty-five of the islands are inhabited. The outer islands of all states are mainly coral atolls. The primary economic activities are subsistence farming and fishing. Tourism is an emerging industry, catering mostly to sport scuba divers; geographical isolation and a lack of adequate lodging and infrastructure hinder development, however.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Seacoast and Undersea Features

The Pacific Ocean surrounds the nation of Micronesia.

Sea Inlets and Straits

The Truk Lagoon is one of the largest enclosed lagoons in the world, encircled by a 225-kilometer- (140-mile-) long barrier reef and covering an area of 2,129 square kilometers (822 square miles). Ports and harbors are located at Colonia (Yap), Kolonia (Pohnpei), Lele (Kosrae), and Moen (Chuuk).

Islands and Archipelagos

Within Micronesia, each of the four states centers on one or more "high islands." Kosrae, the smallest and easternmost state, consists of five closely situated islands, but is essentially one high island of 119 square kilometers (42 square miles). Pohnpei (344 square kilometers/133 square miles) consists of the single large island of Pohnpei (137 square kilometers/130 square miles), twenty-five smaller islands within a barrier reef, and 137 outer islands, of which the major atolls are Mokil, Pingelap, Kapingamarangi, Nukuoro, and Ngatik. Chuuk (Truk) (127 square kilometers/49 square miles) includes the large Truk Lagoon, which encloses ninety-eight islands, plus the major outer island groups which include the Mortlocks, Halls, Western, and Namwunweito Islands. Yap (118 square kilometers/46 square miles), the westernmost state, consists of four large islands and seven smaller islands surrounded by barrier reefs, plus 134 outer islands, of which the largest are Ulithi and Woleai.

There is moderately heavy tropical vegetation; tree species include tropical hardwoods on the slopes of higher volcanic islands and coconut palms on the coral atolls. Pohnpei and Kosrae have the only remaining patches of mountain cloud forest in Micronesia. Forest covers 40 percent of total land area in the Yap Islands, but it is largely secondary growth.

Coastal Features

Low sheltered coastal areas of Micronesia are covered with mangrove forests. The Chuuk islands are an "almost atoll," encircled by a barrier reef. Of the eighty countries that have coral reefs, Micronesia ranks thirteenth in area; it contains 1.53% of the world's reefs, spanning 11,241 square kilometers (4,340 square miles). During the past century, Micronesia's coral reefs suffered from soil erosion resulting from logging, agriculture, major coastal construction (dredging and filling), military occupation, and World War II battles, along with the poaching of giant clams, sharks, trochus (marine gastropod), and other commercial species from remote reefs.

6 INLAND LAKES

The four states of Micronesia have a total of 7,164 square kilometers (2,766 square miles) of lagoons within their coastal borders.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

Pohnpei, the largest and tallest island in Micronesia, has peaks that receive much rainfall annually, creating more than forty rivers that feed the upper rain forest and create spectacular waterfalls.

8 DESERTS

There are no desert regions in Micronesia.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

There are no substantial plains, hills, or valleys in Micronesia.

DID YOU KNOW?

Oceania refers to the islands in the region that covers the central and southern Pacific Ocean and its adjacent seas. The boundaries for this region are the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the southern tip of New Zealand. The region known as Micronesia, a division of Oceania in the western Pacific Ocean, includes the islands east of the Philippines and north of the equator. The Caroline, Marshall, Mariana, and Gilbert Islands are all a part of the region of Micronesia.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

The state of Kosrae is largely mountainous, with two main peaks: Fenkol (Mount Crozer) (634 meters/2,080 feet) and Matanti (583 meters/1,913 feet). Pohnpei contains a large volcanic island, with the highest elevation at Mount Totolom (791 meters/2,595 feet), which is also the highest point in the country. Chuuk has fourteen islands that are mountainous and of volcanic origin. Yap has four large, high islands; this state's highest point is Mount Tabiwol (178 meters/584 feet). Yap is situated at the southern end of a submerged ridge; volcanic land formation has occurred in its five largest island clusters.

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

There are no significant caves or canyons in Micronesia.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

There are no plateau regions in Micronesia.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

There are no significant man-made structures affecting the geography of Micronesia.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Ashby, Gene, ed. Some Things of Value: Micronesian Customs and Beliefs. Eugene, OR: Rainy Day Press, 1985.

Karolle, Bruce G. Atlas of Micronesia. 2nd ed. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bess Press, 1993.

Kluge, P. F. The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia. New York: Random House, 1991.

Web Sites

Government of the Federated States of Micronesia. http://www.fsmgov.org/info/index.html (accessed April 24, 2003).

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Micronesia

Micronesia

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Federated States of Micronesia
Region: Oceania
Population: 133,144
Language(s): English, Trukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosrean
Literacy Rate: 89%

Public education in the western Pacific archipelago most commonly known as Micronesia began early in the twentieth century. The first educational program of Micronesia was launched as part of an effort by German colonizers to mold island inhabitants into citizens willing and able to assimilate a more European work ethic and the desire for financial gain. Children began attending school at the age of 6 and were required to continue their studies until the age of 13.

When the Japanese occupied Micronesia during World War I and set up their own public school system there, learning the Japanese language became the focus in Micronesian classrooms. Schools were eventually established in each of the six island groups, with a minimum requirement of three years of instruction for children aged 8 to 14. The school day lasted roughly six hours, and the curriculum was expanded beyond the Japanese language to include moral and vocational education, mathematics, geography, and exercise. Like their German predecessors, Japanese authorities wished the natives of Micronesia to adopt their value system.

By the end of the 1920s, despite the logistical difficulties in reaching the more rural communities, nearly 50 percent of all school aged children were enrolled in school, a fact that reflects the widespread belief among the island inhabitants that education was a means of achieving wealth and power.

At the end of World War II, a United Nations Trusteeship Agreement gave the United States administrative authority over the Micronesian islandswhich had become known as the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands (TTPI)and also the responsibility for helping the people of TTPI become self-reliant. Part of this agreement charged the United States with the task of advancing the education of the residents of TTPI. Efforts to this end began in earnest when U.S. President John F. Kennedy established the Accelerated Elementary School Construction Program in 1962, which doubled the education budget of TTPI from $7.5 million that year to $15 million in 1963 to $17.5 million in 1964. As a result, primary school enrollment increased nearly twofold from 15,119 students at the beginning of the decade to 28,906 students by 1970. Secondary school enrollment soared from 335 students to 5,726 students over the same time period, and college graduates in TTPI grew from 117 people to 595 people. Education was now based upon the U.S. model.

In 1979, TTPI split into several entities. Four island groupsKusaie (Kosrae), Ponape (Pohnpei), Truk (Chuuk), and Yapwere colonized as the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), an independent state that relied heavily on the U.S. for financial support and military defense. Although FSM became a fully self-governing entity in 1986, its schools remained modeled after those in the United States.

Eight years of public schooling is mandatory in FSM. Roughly 76 percent of all residents receive some sort of public education, according to a 1994 Census, with 30.3 percent completing some elementary school, 15.1 percent completing some high school, 13.6 percent holding a high school diploma, 7.5 completing some college, 6.1 percent holding an associates degree, 3.1 percent holding a bachelors degree, and 1.6 percent pursuing graduate studies.

Students begin primary schooling, which is free, at the age of six. The eight-year curriculum includes science, mathematics, language arts, social studies, and physical education. Religious groups also offer private schooling.

Public secondary education is available free of charge. Residents may also attend private secondary schools such as Pohnpei Agricultural and Trade School and Xavier High School in Chuuk.

The College of Micronesia-FSM is the only institution of higher education in the country. It offers various two- and three-year associate degree programs. In the late 1990s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a land grant to the College of Micronesia to construct a campus in Pohnpei. Many students seeking higher education attend the University of Guam.

When the government of FSM was first established in 1979, a Division of Education was created as part of the Department of Social Services. In 1992, FSM's Congress passed PL 7-97, which called for the establishment of a full-fledged Department of Education, complete with four divisions: Curriculum, Standards, Testing, and Evaluation; Vocational Education Manpower Development and Training; Postsecondary and Scholarship; and Federal Community and Foreign Assistance.

The National Literacy Act of 1991 established a grant that allowed for the creation of the FSM Adult Education Program two years later. The program offers adult education and literacy training to adults in Micronesia.

Having adopted the educational models of first the Germans, then the Japanese, and finally the Americans, Micronesia has found itself the subject of debate regarding what type of education actually best meets the needs of its residents. Because the economy there has not kept pace with the increasing costs of its growing educational system, Micronesia struggles to maintain facilities, offer adequate compensation to teachers, and purchase educational materials. Graduates also have difficulty finding jobs that utilize their education, and many relocate to other countries. Some scholars argue that these difficulties support the notion that education in FSM should be scaled back to stay in better step with the economy, while others assert that such difficulties don't outweigh the rights of the islanders to have access to a public education system that allows them to compete in an increasingly global economy. At the onset of the twenty-first century, the University of Ohio, with financing from the United States, was researching ways to identify the curriculum most appropriate for FSM.


Bibliography

Colletta, Nat J. "American Schools for the Natives of Ponape." Ph.D. diss., Michigan State University, 1972.

Federated States of Micronesia. FSM Education. Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, 2001. Available from http://www.fsmgov.org.

Federated States of Micronesia Department of Education. FSM Adult Education and Literacy. Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, 2001. Available from http://www.literacynet.org.

Hezel, Francis X. "The Price of Education in Micronesia." Ethnies: Droits de L'homme et Peuples Autochtones 8-10 (Spring 1989): 24-29.

Rechebei, Elizabeth D. "Micronesia and Education: The Future." Paper presented at Sasakawa Peace Foundation Seminar, Tokyo, December 1999.


AnnaMarie L. Sheldon

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Micronesia

Micronesia

Basic Data

Official Country Name: Federated States of Micronesia
Region (Map name): Oceania
Population: 133,144
Language(s): English, Trukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosrean
Literacy rate: 89%

Micronesia, a group of 600 islands in the North Pacific Ocean, is an independent country made up of four districts: Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, and Kosrae. Prior to establishing its sovereignty in 1978, Micronesia was part of a trust territory created by the United Nations following World War II (the United States was trustee). Democratic elections were held the following year, and Micronesia joined the United Nations in 1991. The estimated population is 135,000. English is the official and most common language, but local dialects like Trukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, and Kosrean are also spoken. The literacy rate is 89 percent. Micronesia's President leads both the state and the government, and heads a 14-seat unicameral Congress. In 1986, Micronesia and the United States entered a Compact of Free Association, meaning the U.S. would provide more than $1 billion in financial and technical assistance to the island nation. This agreement expired in 2001, leaving the Micronesian economy extremely fragile. Other than foreign aid, the economy relies on farming and fishing. The potential to develop tourism exists, but it is hindered by lack of adequate facilities, the country's underdeveloped infrastructure and its remote location.

Since 1998, Micronesia is experiencing increased media freedom. There is no daily newspaper. The Pohnpei district boasts three English-language publications. A bi-weekly publication called Micronesia Focus has published since 1993, The FSM News, a newspaper founded in 1994, which appears monthly, and the National Union, begun in 1979, which prints every two weeks. The National Union, a free publication, focuses on national government news and accepts no advertising. The Yap shirt also produces a newspaper called the Yap State Bulletin. Like the National Union, this free publication appears every two weeks, highlights government news, and contains no advertisements.

There are six radio stations, one FM and five AM, and three television stations. There is one Internet service provider.

Bibliography

"Country Profile: Micronesia," BBC News. (n.d.). Available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/asia-pacific.

"Federated States of Micronesia," University of Queensland, Australia's CocoNET Wireless (1995). Available from http://www.uq.edu.au.

"History," Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (2002). Available from http://www.fsmgov.org/info/hist.html.

"Micronesia," CIA World Fact Book (2001). Available from http://www.cia.gov.

Jenny B. Davis

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Micronesia, Federated States of

Federated States of Micronesia, independent nation (2005 est. pop. 108,000), c.271 sq mi (702 sq km), an island group in the W Pacific Ocean. It comprises four states: Kosrae, Pohnpei (formerly Ponape), Chuuk (formerly Truk), and Yap. The capital, Palikir, is on the island of Pohnpei. The population is predominantly Micronesian and Christian. English is the official language; a number of Austronesian and Polynesian languages are also spoken.

The United States spent heavily in the islands in the 1990s, making financial assistance the primary source of income. Other mainstays of the economy are subsistence farming and fishing. Fish, clothing, bananas, and black pepper are exported and food and beverages, manufactured goods, and machinery are imported. The United States and Japan are the main trading partners.

The islands are governed under the constitution of 1979. The president, who is both head of state and head of government, is elected by Congress for a four-year term. There are 14 members of the unicameral Congress; four are popularly elected for four-year terms and 10 for two-year terms. Defense is the responsibility of the United States. Administratively the country is divided into four states.

Germany purchased the islands from Spain in 1898. They were occupied (1914) by Japan, which received them (1920) as a League of Nations mandate. During World War II, U.S. forces captured the islands, and in 1947 they became part of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1979, as negotiations for termination of the trusteeship continued, they became self-governing as the Federated States of Micronesia. In 1986, they assumed free-association status with the United States; the economic and defense relationship with the United States was renewed for 20 years in 2004. Emmanuel Mori became president in 2007 and was reelected in 2011. Chuuk and Yap were devastated by a supertyphoon in 2015.

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Micronesia, Federated States of

Micronesia, Federated States of Republic in the w Pacific Ocean, consisting of all the Caroline Islands except Belau. The 607 islands of the republic divide into four states: Kosrae, Pohnpei, Truk, and Yap. The capital, Palikir, is on the main island of Pohnpei. The archipelago is widely dispersed. Spain formally the islands in 1874, and sold them to Germany in 1899. In 1914, Japan occupied the archipelago and was given a mandate to govern by the League of Nations in 1920. In 1944, US naval forces captured the islands, and in 1947 they came under formal US administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1979, the Federated States of Micronesia came into being, with Belau remaining a US trust territory. In 1986, a compact of free association with the USA was signed. In 1990 UN trust status was annulled, and in 1991 Micronesia became a full member of the UN. The economy depends heavily on US aid. Land use is limited to subsistence agriculture. Area: 705sq km (272sq mi). Pop. (2000) 110,000.

http://www.fsmgov.org; http://www.fm

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Federated States of Micronesia

Federated States of Micronesia

Culture Name

Micronesian

Alternative Names

FSM

Orientation

Identification. Formed in 1978, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is an island nation in the Caroline archipelago of the western Pacific Ocean. Between 1947 and 1986, these islands were administered by the United States as part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The United Nations trusteeship was terminated in 1986, when the FSM and the United States entered into a Compact of Free Association that guaranteed financial assistance to the FSM in exchange for U.S. authority over matters of security and defense through the year 2000. Communities throughout the FSM are culturally and linguistically heterogeneous. A shared national identity has been important for economic and political negotiations with outsiders, but sociocultural diversity within the FSM is more often the hallmark of islander identity.

Location and Geography. The Federated States of Micronesia consists of 607 islands with a total land area of 270 square miles (700 square kilometers) scattered across more than one million square miles (2.6 million kilometers) of the western Pacific Ocean. The islands are grouped into four geopolitical states: from west to east, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. The capital of the FSM is Palikir, which is located in a mountainous region of the main island of Pohnpei. Each state features both mountainous volcanic islands and low-lying coral atolls, with the exception of Kosrae, which has one mountainous island. Coral atolls consist of several small islets within a fringing reef, arranged around a central lagoon. Volcanic islands have a greater diversity of ecological zones, including an interior of dense rain forest and soaring mountains, a coastal plain of ridges and winding valleys, and thick mangrove swamps crowding the shoreline.

Demography. Virtually all of the islands in the FSM suffered severe depopulation following the introduction of diseases by the Europeans in the mid-1800s. Since the late 1800s, population figures have risen steadily. The 1999 population, estimated at 116,268, is up 19 percent from 1990. The annual growth rate of the nation's population is at 2 percent, down 1 percent from the growth experienced between 1950 and 1980. This drop in the population's growth rate can be attributed, in part, to emigration and the free movement of citizens between the FSM and the United States and its territories allowed by the Compact of Free Association. Despite international migration trends, the rapidly growing population of the FSM is expected to double in the next 36 years.

Linguistic Affiliation. English, the official language, is taught in schools and is widely known throughout the region. It is, however, a second language for most Micronesians. Virtually every inhabited island in the FSM is associated with a distinct language or dialect from the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. With the exception of a few Polynesian outliers, the languages spoken among the islanders of Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae, and the coral atolls of Yap State are classified as Nuclear Micronesian. Yapese mainlanders speak a Western Micronesian language. The linguistic diversity among citizens of the FSM is a testament to the importance of local communities.

Symbolism. On the FSM's national flag, four white stars on a sea of blue represents the four unified states in a vast expanse of the western Pacific. The flag symbolically acknowledges that although each state is composed of a diversity of cultures over many miles of ocean, they are joined, not separated, by the sea. The sea and maritime themes associated with fishing and voyaging are employed as symbols of a pan-Micronesian identity. Island food and the land on which it is grown also figure prominently in discourse on national identity. Even so, gatherings of ethnically distinct Micronesians during national events feature performances and associated symbolism that highlight the rich cultural diversity of the nation. Dance forms are highly regionalized, often expressing the unique cultural histories of the performers. Images employed in paintings, decorations, and publications often emphasize the cultural heritage of individual states.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. At the end of World War II, the United States assumed control over Micronesia. Prior to this time the islands were governed successively by Spain, Germany, and Japan. In 1947 the entire region became known as the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI), a geopolitical entity administered entirely by the United States. The establishment of the Congress of Micronesia in 1964 was the first sign of the Micronesian movement towards autonomy. Dissatisfaction with the TTPI administration's inadequate development strategies and their own lack of control over economic planning compelled members of the congress to press for self-government. Micronesia's strategic location at the threshold of the Asian mainland gave the islanders leverage in their negotiations with the United States, which began in 1969.

A draft constitution for the FSM was crafted by delegates from each of the TTPI districts during the constitutional convention of 1975. The hope was to forge a national identity and unite all districts under a single, constitutional federation. The relatively greater U.S. military interests in the Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas, and Palau, however, provided leaders of these districts with the incentive to pursue separate negotiations. In a referendum held in 1978, the voters from the remaining four central districts (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae) approved the constitution and became the FSM. The new government formally commenced operations in 1979, yet remained under the authority of the United States until 1986 when the Compact of Free Association took effect. The United Nations welcomed the FSM as a sovereign nation in 1991.

National Identity. The creation of a national identity has not been easy considering the differences between island sociocultural practices, languages, and resources. The continuing importance of the FSM's economic and political relationship with the United States and other foreign powers, however, has contributed to the emergence of a national identity. The identification of FSM's citizenry as a nation is largely a response to the economic and political dependency fostered by the United States. This supralocal identity is of recent origin and rarely supersedes the importance of local communities in day-to-day activities. Citizens of the FSM value their identity as members of distinct ethnic groups with diverse cultural traditions and values. This sense of "unity in diversity" is embedded in the preamble to the FSM constitution: "To make one nation of many islands, we respect the diversity of our cultures. Our differences enrich us. The seas bring us together, they do not separate us. Our islands sustain us, our island nation enlarges us and makes us stronger."

Ethnic Relations. Numerous ethnic groups are gathered within the FSM. Although these groups have, at times, assumed a pan-Micronesian identity when dealing with external powers, individuals maintain strong ethnic affiliations and a diversity of interests. The high degree of circular migration brings diverse cultures together and often contributes to the reification of ethnic identities. Ethnic differences are often at the heart of political contention between the states and also contribute to local disputes. Even so, other distinctions, including village, class, kinship, and religious affiliation, often take precedence over ethnicity in defining islander identity.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Architecture in the FSM is a mixture of indigenous designs, colonial influences, and Western models. Open-sided houses made of wooden posts with thatch roofs and earthen floors have largely been replaced by homes made of cement block or poured concrete with corrugated steel roofs. In the urban centers, many homes feature modern kitchens, bathrooms, separate bedrooms, and driveways for automobiles. In rural areas, separate cook-, bath-, and boathouses are still the norm, but Western building materials are increasingly used in construction. Traditional feast houses and meetinghouses are still important places for social interaction in many rural communities, although churches are often the most prominent buildings.

The use of space is related to the relative importance of subsistence production in island communities. Urban residents who rely on the cash economy are settled in close proximity to government offices and places of employment. They generally own little arable land, though they often tend small gardens on house plots. Rural villages on high islands are located within a short distance of both the sea and extensive family gardens devoted to taro, yam, sweet potato, or cassava cultivation. Communities on the coral atolls are usually concentrated along the leeward shoreline of lagoons, not far from more centrally located taro pits, providing protection from storms and access to both marine and terrestrial resources.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. The social and symbolic significance of food is one of the most salient aspects of life in Micronesia. Sharing food is an expression of solidarity that validates kinship ties and defines a host of rights, duties, and obligations between people. Meals usually consist of a starchy carbohydrate, and fish or chicken, and may include a variety of fruits. Taro, breadfruit, yams, sweet potatoes, and cassava are the primary starches. Meat, usually fish, is also considered to be an essential part of Micronesian meals. Hundreds of edible fish species are available to fishers in addition to an abundance of marine turtles, shellfish, and crustaceans. Locally-raised livestock, including chicken and pigs, is usually reserved for feasting. Fruits accompany mealtime, and are casually eaten throughout the day, or are incorporated into recipes; fruits include coconut, banana, papaya, pandanus, mango, and a variety of citrus.

Production and consumption of locally harvested produce has diminished throughout the FSM as a result of an increasing reliance on the cash economy and imported foods. Today, boiled rice, fried or baked bread, pancakes, and ramen noodles often constitute the starch component of meals. Canned meats have made similar inroads, but atoll residents and rural high-islanders still rely heavily on subsistence fishing.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Food is the focal point of most ceremonial occasions. Feasts involving the distribution of enormous quantities of food are integral to religious ceremonies, government celebrations, and secular parties marking life-cycle events and changes in status. The distribution of food takes place in accordance with culture-specific rules of hierarchy and etiquette, and is often a sign of the host's wealth and generosity. Certain foods assume a special status during feasts and are considered essential. In Pohnpei, for example, pigs, yams, and sakau (a beverage, with psychoactive properties, made from piper methisticum root) are the most prestigious foods featured during feasts. Elsewhere, taro, sugarcane, and coconuts figure prominently. Although subsistence produce and "traditional" recipes are highlighted during feasts, foreign food imports are gaining currency as markers of wealth among those participating more fully in the market economy.

Basic Economy. The cash economy is almost entirely dependent on the flow of funds from the United States. Since 1986, the nation has received roughly $100 million per year from the United States in Compact of Free Association funds and supplementary grants. Sixty percent of compact disbursements support administrative costs of the government including salaries and benefits, and 40 percent are funneled into infrastructure projects and economic development. Thus, the FSM's public sector drives the cash economy and supports the small, service-oriented private sphere. The subsistence economy is based on small-scale horticulture, fishing, and the exploitation of resources in kinbased island territories. Participation in these two spheres of the economy is not mutually exclusive and many subsistence farmers and fishers move in and out of the cash economy. Remittances from family members participating in the cash economy also supplement the income of households primarily engaged in subsistence production. The prestige economy, based on indigenous forms of status, reciprocity, and exchange, intersects these two dimensions of the economy.

Land Tenure and Property. On the small islands in the FSM, land is scarce. Complex, diverse, and often competing tenure systems governing ownership and access rights to the precious land have developed throughout the islands. Many of these systems include aboriginal and postcolonial elements. On most islands access to land may depend upon membership in a lineage or clan. With the exception of Yap and a few atolls in the state of Pohnpei where patrilineal affiliation governed inheritance of land rights, matrilineages traditionally controlled estates in Micronesia. These estates were often subject to chiefly authority and control. In most cases, the oldest male member of the matrilineage managed the estate. After a century of colonial rule, systems of land tenure followed the path away from corporate, descent group ownership toward individualization of tenure. Furthermore, the nuclearization of the family and greater individual self-interest accompanying Westernization are weakening systems of land tenure based on lineage affiliation.

Commercial Activities. Commercial production, conducted on a very small scale in the FSM, is centered on subsistence produce. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish are sold in roadside markets throughout the region. The commercial sale of merchandise and food imports is the mainstay of the many mom-and-pop shops scattered across the islands and the larger retailers and wholesalers. Handicrafts made from local materials are also sold on a limited scale to tourists.

Major Industries. The FSM economy suffers from the impoverished state of the industrial sector. There are only two small garment factories in the entire nation. The agricultural industry is limited by the high costs of transshipment and a shortage of arable land. Fishing is the most successful and potentially lucrative industry in the FSM. The nation's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) contains 2.5 million square miles (6.5 million square kilometers) of ocean and vast schools of tuna. To date, local fishing companies and joint ventures have had limited success, but the sale of fishing licenses and access rights to the EEZ account for over half of the nation's internal revenue. Tourism attracts more than 20,000 visitors a year, but occupancy rates average only 30 percent throughout the FSM. Lack of infrastructure, inadequate hotel facilities, and limited air transportation hamper the development of a mass tourist market.

Trade. Import dependence is high in the FSM, and the trade balance deficit is equivalent to roughly 60 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The export sector of the economy is small, averaging 5 percent of the GDP. Niche agricultural produce, including gourmet pepper, sakau (kava), betel nut, and citrus fruit, is exported in limited quantities. Copra (dried coconut flesh), once the region's main export, is now produced in limited supplies due to falling prices and competing markets. Marine products account for approximately 80 percent of the nation's commodity export market. Tuna, the principal marine export, is shipped to Japan, Guam, Taiwan, Korea, and the United States.

Division of Labor. Education is one of the principal bases upon which the division of labor in the cash economy is built. Employees of the state and federal governments are typically high school graduates and many hold postsecondary degrees. Mastery of the English language is another trait of salaried workers in the government sector. Among participants in the subsistence economy, labor is primarily divided on the basis of gender. Age and ability also influence the assignment of tasks. Children begin performing domestic chores at an early age, assisting in child care and other gender-specific work. In addition, experts with specialized knowledge may perform specific tasks related to healing, building, or divining.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. Social hierarchies in the Caroline Islands are a complex amalgam of indigenous ranking systems and income-centered socioeconomic stratification. Traditional ranking systems across the islands are diverse, but the greatest differences in status are typically found on the high islands where status is primarily determined by descent group affiliation, seniority, and the relationship between people and the land. Age, gender, achievement, and specialized knowledge, in addition to kinship affiliation and land claims, are typically important for determining status on the more egalitarian coral atolls. Achievement in the market economy, however, constitutes another dimension of stratification in the FSM that has, in some instances, eroded indigenous status distinctions.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Traditional hierarchies and income-based class distinctions are evident in behavior, language, and consumption practices. High ranking, in genealogy, age, or title, is acknowledged by acts of deference and displays of respect by those of lower rank. Respected elders or title holders may receive the first share of food at a feast, or may be seated in an honored position. Traditional stratification may be marked by the use of a special honorific language reserved for people of high title, the observance of taboos and ritual proscriptions, or displays of generosity that accompany feasts. The accumulation of goods and conspicuous consumption, hallmarks of income-based class distinctions, is growing in importance among participants in the market economy. Automobiles, appliances, food imports, and Western-style houses and dress have become symbols of economic success throughout the FSM.

Political Life

Government. The structure of the FSM's national government is modeled on U.S. political institutions. The president, head of the executive branch, is elected to a four-year term by the National Congress from among its members. The unicameral National Congress constitutes the legislative branch of the government and is composed of fourteen senators. The Supreme Court, consisting of trial and appellate divisions, is headed by a chief justice and no more than five associate justices appointed for life by the president with the advice and consent of the National Congress. Each of the four state governments includes executive, legislative, and judicial branches, while municipalities within each state govern at the village level.

Leadership and Political Officials. There are no political parties in the FSM. Elected officials represent a great diversity of cultures and interests. The tendency of leaders to vote in the interests of their state's constituents has, at times, hampered consensus and fostered a sense of disunity. Leadership on the national, state, and municipal levels is interwoven with a strong attachment to traditional forms of local leadership. Today, there is some crossover between traditional leadership and elective office. For example, two councils of chiefs constitute a fourth branch of the Yap State government. In Chuuk and Pohnpei many district magistrates also hold titles based on descent, and elected officials often have genealogical ties to traditional leaders.

Social Problems and Control. The structure of courts in the FSM is patterned after the judicial system of the United States with federal trial and appellate divisions and state supreme and district courts. Law enforcement is handled by both municipal and state police officers. Despite the existence of formal legal mechanisms, crime is often handled by local communities in accordance with customary practice. Societies throughout the FSM feature a variety of formal and informal social control mechanisms. Formal control may be conducted by a council of elders or persons of chiefly status who mediate between parties and levy fines. Informal control stems from the avoidance of actions that cause shame and embarrassment and the need to maintain one's personal and family status through honorable and respectful behavior. A sense of corporate responsibility among kin, coupled with the interdependence of island societies, curbs disruptive behaviors.

The most pressing social problems in the FSM are related to the sociocultural transformations occurring as a result of Westernization. The high rate of suicide among young males is related to the erosion of traditional authority, the declining significance of the extended family, and the displacement of young men seeking education and employment away from home communities. These factors, coupled with alcohol consumption and the lack of clearly defined roles, also contribute to the high frequency of youth violence and delinquency. Alcoholism and the declining influence of extended kin on nuclear family relationships appear to be factors in the increasing incidence of physical and sexual domestic abuse.

Military Activity. Under the provisions of the Compact of Free Association between the FSM and the United States, the United States is granted full authority and responsibility for the nation's security and defense. The FSM is obligated by the "Military Use and Operating Rights Agreement" to provide specified locations for the establishment of U.S. military sites.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

The FSM has a generous system of social welfare. Health services are provided and medications dispensed for a nominal fee to all citizens. The government absorbs most costs, including the high cost of overseas referrals. Grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cover the cost of many immunization and disease prevention programs. Education is compulsory through eighth grade and is freely provided through twelfth grade. Free public education is made possible through direct U.S. financial assistance, grants from the U.S. Department of Education, and compact funds that also provide scholarships for college study in the United States. The nation also operates a social security system that provides monthly income to retirees.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Activity of NGOs in the FSM is curtailed by the strong financial presence of the United States and its supporting agencies. Millions of dollars in grants are funneled into the FSM by a host of U.S. bureaucracies including the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Labor. Relief from typhoons, droughts, landslides, and other natural disasters is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Among those who participate in the subsistence economy, gender is a major organizing principle in the division of labor. Women are the primary child-care providers and gardeners. They are responsible for many domestic chores including meal preparation and laundry. Women also harvest subsistence produce, weave mats, tend livestock, glean shellfish, and fish inshore. Men are the primary builders and carpenters. They do much of the heavy labor associated with subsistence horticulture and conduct the more dangerous fishing activities beyond the reef. High status positions in religious and traditional political hierarchies are primarily held by men, although women's church organizations provide a separate system of ranking among the women in some societies.

Participation in the market economy has blurred the strict demarcation of gender roles associated with subsistence production. Across the FSM, 52 percent of females 15 years of age and older participate in the cash economy compared to 66 percent of males. Men still hold the higher status jobs in government, but the increasing frequency of female employment in the labor force often requires men to perform domestic tasks traditionally performed by women.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. With the exception of Yap and a few coral atoll societies in Pohnpei, Micronesian societies emphasize matrilineal descent. Women, therefore, are the channels through which identity, titles, land rights, and property are acquired. This provides women with a level of status that is not found in more patriarchal societies, allowing women to exercise considerable influence over the conduct of domestic affairs, and even the allocation of use rights to land. Men typically control the political and economic affairs in the public sphere and have ultimate authority over domestic decisions, but the complementarity of tasks provides males and females with valued roles in society. The shift towards a market-oriented economy, however, has unsettled traditional gender relations. In many societies, the patrilineal emphasis of Western cultures is eroding matrilineal inheritance practices, while greater female participation in the cash economy is challenging male roles and diminishing the complementarity of tasks performed by males and females.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Although polygamy was practiced traditionally, monogamy has been the norm since the arrival of Christianity in the mid-1800s. Marriages in many parts of the FSM are still arranged by families with the consent of prospective spouses. Marriage unions that create family alliances and concentrate land, wealth, and status, such as preferential cross-cousin marriage, are favored in many Micronesian societies. Clan exogamy is still a very important marriage requirement. A large majority of marriages take place under the auspices of Christian churches, but they are often preceded by common-law unions in which couples co-reside. Formal marriages typically involve the exchange of gifts between the spouses' families and feasting to mark the occasion, and may involve the transfer of land between families. Divorce can be initiated by either spouse, but it is less commonly practiced among couples with children.

Domestic Unit. Households are often composed of extended kin. On average, extended kin account for 18 percent of household membership. This is down from 30 percent in the 1970s, indicating a clear trend towards the nuclearization of the domestic group. Household composition is dependent on a variety of postmarital residence patterns. Where patrilocality is the norm (Pohnpei, Yap), the household may consist of a joint family of brothers, their wives, and children, or a stem family that includes multiple generations of father-son ties. Conversely, matrilocal residence (favored in Chuuk and Yap's outer islands) establishes a household composed of related women and in-marrying husbands. Neolocal residence, which encourages the creation of nuclear families, is gaining popularity due to Westernization and the influence of the market economy.

Inheritance. Customs governing the inheritance of land, corporeal property, and certain skills or lore are complicated by the rapid pace of Westernization. In general, individually owned corporeal property may be disposed of in accordance with the owner's wishes and is usually passed to children or siblings. Specialized knowledge may be owned by descent groups, but it is commonly inherited by children of the possessors who are deemed to be competent and adept students. Land is another issue. Where land is owned by a corporate descent group, usufruct rights are inherited either matrilineally or patrilineally upon birth or adoption into a lineage. Lifelong use rights to specific plots of land may be divided by the male lineage head among his sons (patrilineal) or sister's sons (matrilineal). As Western concepts of ownership and formal inheritance codes become more entrenched, individual ownership of land is becoming increasingly common. Heirship disputes between those claiming individual ownership and those claiming usufruct rights through descent are not uncommon given the competing forms of ownership. Formal legal codes and courts often handle these disputes and govern the disposal of property in cases of intestate succession.

Kin Groups. Kinship in Micronesia extends far beyond the confines of the domestic unit. Systems of descent vary considerably between and within states. On the main island of Yap, people have affiliations with both a localized, patrilineal land estate and a geographically dispersed matrilineal clan. Chuukese and outer islanders of Yap are organized into matrilineal lineages and clans that share rights to land. Matrilineal clans are also found on Pohnpei where their influence has diminished as a result of acculturation. In Kosrae, descent is reckoned bilaterally, creating ego-focused kindreds. Though built on principles of descent, these extended kinship ties are validated and legitimized by performance, including the sharing of land, food, and resources.

Socialization

Infant Care. Children are highly valued in the FSM. They are considered to be a family's source of wealth and insurance for parents in old age. For this reason, parents create a nurturing environment and indulge infant needs. Although mothers are the primary caregivers, fathers and older siblings also tend to infants. They also receive a great deal of attention from extended kin and neighbors. Because of the importance of interaction in small island communities, infants are carried facing outwards, away from the holder. Infants typically nurse on demand and may be breast-fed for a number of years. Cosleeping with parents is the norm.

Child Rearing and Education. The transmission of cultural values and expectations begins early in the socialization of children. Children are taught to be cooperative, generous, sharing, and respectful. Discipline, in the form of shaming and ridicule, is often administered by family members and the community at large, but corporal punishment is the prerogative of parents. Education of children involves a combination of formal schooling and informal acquisition of gender-related knowledge and skills. In the past, the transmission of lore and skills was an important aspect of growing up in a subsistence household. Today, formal education is mandatory and most children attend grade school between the ages of five and fourteen.

Higher Education. Greater participation in the market economy places a premium on higher education in the FSM. More and more families are sending children to high school and college with the hopes of providing them greater access to employment. Since the 1980s, the percentage of citizens over 25 years of age with education beyond grade school has increased from 25 to 47 percent. High school enrollment is near 70 percent of both males and females between the ages of 14 and 17. College enrollment lags far behind elementary and high school rates. Only 27 percent of males and females between the ages of 18 and 21 attend college. Most of these students are enrolled at branch campuses of the College of Micronesia, while a limited number receive scholarships to study at colleges in the United States.

Etiquette

Rules of etiquette among Micronesians focus on displays of respect related to kinship, gender, age, political rank, and religious title. Brothers and sisters should avoid one another in public and refrain from telling bawdy jokes or making sexual remarks in each other's presence. Among matrilineal societies, respect for one's mother's brother is marked by the use of polite language and physical avoidance on formal occasions. Women show respect for their husbands by walking behind them in public or serving them first during meals. Although members of the same sex may hold hands as a sign of friendship, public displays of affection between males and females are extremely rare. Further, men and women usually occupy separate social spaces during church services and community gatherings. Older members of society as well as titled persons enjoy an exulted position of respect, and may be given first shares of a feast distribution or special seats during public gatherings.

In addition to demonstrating age, gender, and political status, food etiquette illustrates the importance of generosity in Micronesian cultures. Sharing food with visitors is a must, and hosts take pride in providing sustenance to others. Guests are usually fed first and are expected to eat in moderation. Compliments paid to the host center on the host's generosity and the experience of satiation. In general, Micronesian etiquette reflects the emphasis on harmonious, nonassertive, and respectful behavior. In public, people tend to speak cautiously and avoid confrontation with others. Gossip is an ever-present check on disrespectful or inappropriate public behavior.

Religion

Religious Beliefs. Missionization of the region began in the mid-1800s. Prior to the arrival of Christianity, beliefs focused on the activity of ancestral souls, a pantheon of deities, and the numerous spirits, both kind and malevolent, that inhabited the earth, sea, and sky. Today, roughly half of the population is Catholic and half belong to various Protestant sects, most notably the United Church of Christ (Congregational). Although Christianity has largely replaced the traditional animistic systems of belief, elements of pre-Christian belief systems are interwoven with ecclesiastical practice. Many Micronesians still believe in the power of deceased ancestors to influence events and the existence of spirits and spirit possession.

Religious Practitioners. Prior to Christian conversion, island societies relied on a variety of religious specialists to mediate between the natural and supernatural world. The men who held these positions were responsible for a variety of tasks including divination, healing, navigation, weather control, and bringing about propitious events such as victory in battle and abundant harvests. Although specialists with supernatural skills are still employed from time to time, the majority of formal religious practitioners are members of Catholic and Protestant churches. Practitioners in both faiths are ordained by the formal ecclesiastical organizations. Protestant churches feature a hierarchy of religious titles for which members of each congregation compete.

Rituals and Holy Places. The ritual cycle of Christian churches dominates the organization of community activity in many parts of Micronesia. Elements of traditional culture, such as competitive feasting and the harvest of first fruits, have been incorporated into church calendars. People can be found preparing for, or celebrating, a church-related event almost every day. Churches are the primary holy places and are often the most conspicuous buildings in Micronesian communities. Even so, many places associated with legendary or historical events are considered sacred. Such sites may have an inherent power relating to the past, or may be the abode of spirits.

Death and the Afterlife. Death is an occasion for great feasting in all island societies of the FSM. Each culture has specific mourning rites and observances that are integrated with Christian beliefs and rituals. In general, the first feast, associated with intense mourning and the burial itself, lasts between three and four days. The body is usually interred on ancestral land or in the church cemetery. On some islands, formal mourning among close kin and friends may continue for a number of months. At the end of this period another feast may be held by the immediate family to recognize the assistance of those who observed the mourning rites. Death anniversaries are commonly celebrated and may involve community-wide feasts or small family gatherings. The rich diversity of indigenous beliefs concerning the afterlife have largely been replaced by the Christian emphasis on heaven and hell. Even so, many believe in the ability of ancestral spirits to influence events and intercede on behalf of kin.

Medicine and Health Care

In the past, island medical practice was intimately related to religious beliefs. Illness could result from the transgression of taboos, unprovoked spirit attack, or the loss of the soul, or be due to the malevolent work of sorcerers. Depending on the etiology of the illness, treatment by specialists could involve the use of herbal remedies with supernatural powers, massage, or spiritual mediation between human and supernatural domains.

Today, Micronesians rely on Western biomedicine in concert with indigenous remedies. Health care is subsidized by the government and provided to citizens for a nominal fee. There is a main hospital in each state and numerous dispensaries are scattered throughout the island communities, but the limited number of trained doctors places a heavy burden on existing services. There are approximately 3,500 citizens per doctor in the FSM. Western medicine is considered indispensable for the treatment of the nation's primary health problems including perinatal infection, tuberculosis, skin disease, venereal disease, intestinal parasites, and diseases related to the high consumption of unhealthy imported foods, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Masseurs, midwives, and specialists in herbal remedies, however, are still employed for the treatment of a variety of ailments.

Secular Celebrations

National holidays include New Year's Day (1 January), Constitution Day (10 May), United Nations Day (24 October), and National Day (3 November). Christmas (25 December) is also nationally recognized. In addition to these federal holidays, each state and municipality has its own celebrations. Common among these are dates celebrating the signing of state and municipal constitutions, as well as Liberation Day (11 September), which commemorates the U.S. victory over Japan in WWII.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. Arts and literature in the FSM receive very little government or private support. Exhibits of Micronesian art are rare and usually restricted to regional museums and universities. There is a trend, however, towards greater Micronesian participation in Pacific-wide art events, such as the Pacific Festival of Arts, held in various places in the South Pacific, and the Rarotonga Festival of Pacific Arts, held on Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Literature. Oral literature occupies a special place among the arts in Micronesian societies. Stories told and retold through generations transmit historical understandings, specialized knowledge, and the mores of society. Besides the work of foreign scholars, a number of Micronesians have recorded indigenous histories, myths, and folklore. In addition, regional publications commonly feature indigenous poets and writers.

Graphic Arts. Many of the skills required for the production of indigenous graphic art in the FSM have been lost. Canoe carving, once a highly evolved and valued art form, is largely forgotten among the young men who prefer to fish from fiberglass out-board motorboats. Western models have largely replaced indigenous architectural detailing and design. Tattooing was abandoned as a form of artistic expression in the postcontact era. Many of the more elaborate textiles are no longer produced, although women still fashion a large variety of woven and plaited goods. The Kapingamarangi in Pohnpei and the Chuukese also produce finely carved wooden crafts, mostly for sale to tourists.

Performance Arts. Both music and dance are very important modes of expression in Micronesian societies and often serve to transmit islander identity and commemorate history. Forms of musical expression vary from pre-Christian chants to popular genres such as reggae, hip-hop, and pop. Choral hymns sung in four-part harmony by church choirs are commonly performed during secular and church-related events. Indigenous chants and songs featuring complex rhythms, harmony, and metaphorical language in conjunction with various dance movements are often favored ways of expressing cultural affiliation during public celebrations.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

Research conducted in the FSM is typically research on the FSM, funded by U.S. and foreign granting agencies. Three major scientific investigations involving more than 30 researchers were funded during the U.S. Naval Administration's tenure. Since that time hordes of foreign researchers, primarily from the United States, have descended on the islands. Regional physical and social science programs within the FSM are limited by inadequate financial support. The College of Micronesia, the only university in the nation, does not support extensive research programs. College-educated Micronesians often take their talents elsewhere, contributing to what has been called the region's "brain drain."

Bibliography

Alkire, William H. An Introduction to the Peoples and Cultures of Micronesia, 1977.

Bernart, Luelen. The Book of Luelen, 1977.

Demmke, Andreas, et. al. Federated States of Micronesia Population Profile: A Guide for Planners and Policy-Makers, 1997.

Falgout, Suzanne. "Americans in Paradise: Custom, Democracy, and Anthropology in Postwar Micronesia." Ethnology 34 (2): 99111, 1995.

Federated States of Micronesia. Statistical Yearbook, 1999.

Fischer, John L., and Ann M. Fischer. The Eastern Carolines, 1970.

Flinn, Juliana. Diplomas and Thatch Houses: Asserting Tradition in a Changing Micronesia, 1992.

Goodenough, Ward H. Property, Kin, and Community on Truk, 1951.

Hanlon, David. Upon a Stone Altar: A History of the Islands of Pohnpei to 1890, 1988.

. Remaking Micronesia: Discourses over Development in a Pacific Territory, 19441982, 1998.

Hezel, Francis X. Reflections on Micronesia, 1982.

. The First Taint of Civilization: A History of the Caroline and Marshall Islands in Pre-Colonial Days, 15211885, 1983.

. Strangers in Their Own Land: A Century of Colonial Rule in the Caroline and Marshall Islands, 1995.

Hezel, Francis X., and M. Levin. "Micronesian Emigration: Beyond the Brain Drain." In J. Connell, ed., Migration and Development in the South Pacific, 1990.

International Monetary Fund Economic Reviews. Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia, 1995.

Keating, Elizabeth. Power Sharing: Language, Rank, Gender, and Social Space in Pohnpei, Micronesia, 1998.

Kiste, Robert C., and Mac Marshall, eds. American Anthropology in Micronesia: An Assessment, 1999.

Labby, David. The Demystification of Yap: Dialectics of Culture on a Micronesian Island, 1976.

Lessa, William A. Ulithi: A Micronesian Design for Living, 1966.

Lingenfelter, Sherwood Galen. Yap: Political Leadership and Culture Change in an Island Society, 1975.

Lutz, Catherine, ed. Micronesia as Strategic Colony: The Impact of U.S. Policy on Micronesia Health and Culture, 1984.

. Unnatural Emotions: Everyday Sentiments on a Micronesian Atoll and Their Challenge to Western Theory, 1988.

Marshall, Mac. Weekend Warriors: Alcohol in a Micronesian Culture, 1979.

Meller, Norman. Constitutionalism in Micronesia, 1985.

Peoples, James G. Islands in Trust: Culture Change and Dependence in a Micronesian Economy, 1985.

Perin, Dan. Economic Use of Land in the FSM: A Review and Description of Land Tenure Systems in the FSM, 1996.

Petersen, Glenn. One Man Cannot Rule a Thousand: Fission in a Pohnpeian Chiefdom, 1982.

. "A Micronesian Chamber of Chiefs? The 1990 Federated States of Micronesia Constitutional Convention." In G. M. White and L. Lindstrom, eds., Chiefs Today: Traditional Pacific Leadership and the Postcolonial State, 1997.

Pinsker, Eve C. "Point of Order, Point of Change: Nation, Culture, and Community in the Federated States of Micronesia." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, 1997.

"Traditional Leaders Today in the Federated States of Micronesia." In G. M. White and L. Lindstrom, eds., Chiefs Today: Traditional Pacific Leadership and the Postcolonial State, 1997.

Poyer, Lin. The Ngatik Massacre: History and Identity on a Micronesian Atoll, 1993.

Rubenstein, Donald H. "Suicide in Micronesia." In F. X. Hezel, D. H. Rubenstein, and G. M. White, eds., Culture, Youth, and Suicide in the Pacific: Papers from an East-West Center Conference, 1985.

Ushijima, Iwao, and Ken-ichi Sudo, eds., Cultural Uniformity and Diversity in Micronesia, 1987.

Ward, Martha C. Nest in the Wind: Adventures in Anthropology on a Tropical Island, 1989.

Bryan P. Oles

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Micronesia

Micronesia (mīkrōnē´zhə, –shə), one of the three main divisions of Oceania, in W Pacific Ocean, north of the equator. Micronesia includes the Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, Mariana Islands (see Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, Gilbert Islands, and Nauru. The inhabitants are of Australoid and Polynesian stock. They speak Malayo-Polynesian languages.

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Micronesia

Micronesia Archipelago in the w Pacific Ocean, n of Polynesia. Micronesia includes Belau, Kiribati, Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, and Tuvalu.

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Micronesia

Micronesia

MICRONESIANS 21

The islanders of Micronesia are called Micronesians. A small number are of Polynesian descent.

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Micronesia

Micronesia •Antakya •Britannia, lasagne •Katya • Vanya •Kenya, Mantegna, Sardegna, tenure •failure • Montagna •behaviour (US behavior), misbehaviour (US misbehavior), saviour (US savior) •seguidilla, tortilla •Monsignor •Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia •Tigrinya • De Falla • Vaisya •Lockyer • Bologna • sawyer • bowyer •alleluia, hallelujah •La Coruña •bunya, gunyah

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Federated States of Micronesia

Federated States of Micronesia

Following a popular referendum in 1978, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) began to be organized as an independent nation in 1979. After a seven-year transitional period, complete independence was achieved in 1986. This relatively new nation consists of more than six hundred islands with a total land area of just over 700 square kilometers (about 270 square miles). Yet, it extends across more than 2,735 kilometers (about 1,700 miles) of the western Pacific Ocean and includes over a million square miles of ocean. It is therefore understandable that the federal government would concede a great deal of autonomy to the governments of the four states (listed from west to east): Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

The federal government concerns itself with foreign relations, international trade, and disputes between the states. The governments of the individual states manage almost every other aspect of governance. Both the federal and state governments have been loosely modeled on the three-branch structure of the U.S. government. The legislature is, however, unicameral rather than bicameral, and includes one senator from each state who is elected to a four-year term and ten senators apportioned according to population who serve two-year terms.

Known previously as the Caroline group, these islands were first visited by Portuguese traders early in the sixteenth century. The islands were then colonized by the Spanish, who had established settlements in the Philippine Islands as a counter to Portuguese and, somewhat later, Dutch influence in the East Indies (present-day Indonesia). The Spanish controlled the islands for more than three centuries. Following their defeat in the Spanish-American War (1898) and the loss of such Pacific possessions as the Philippines and Guam, the Spanish sold the islands in 1899 to Germany, which was anxious to establish a colonial presence that would suggest its growing parity with France and the United Kingdom. But after only a decade and a half, after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Japan opportunistically declared war on Germany and seized control of the Caroline Islands as well as other German possessions in the Pacific. In 1920 the United Nations extended a formal mandate to the Japanese administration of the islands.

Unlike the Spanish, the Germans had begun to develop the islands economically, establishing copra production (dried coconut meat that is rendered to oil) as a major export industry. Under the Japanese, this economic development accelerated, with the introduction of sugarcane processing plants and mining enterprises. The downside of this prosperity was the extensive Japanese immigration into the islands, which ultimately reduced the indigenous peoples to about two-sevenths of the total population. In any case, any progress achieved under the Japanese civilian government was undercut when the Japanese military seized power and ruthlessly exploited all available resources to support Japan's war effort. Japanese preparations to defend the islands, and the eventual American conquest of them left the islands devastated on almost every level, from the topographical to the economic.

Through the United Nations, the United States was granted a trusteeship over many of the island groups in the western Pacific, including the Carolines. Although the United States did much to reconstruct and to improve the islands' infrastructures, the sustained infusion of considerable foreign aid did not promote the development of self-sustaining economic enterprises. Thus, although the islanders seem to have been well prepared for political independence, they have not achieved economic independence. The continued close relationship between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia is reflected in the Compact of Free Association, which declares that the citizens of the two nations do not require visas to travel across each other's borders.

see also Pacific, American Presence in; Pacific, European Presence in.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brower, Kenneth. Micronesia: The Land, the People, and the Sea. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981.

Darrach, Brad, and David Doubilet. "Treasured Islands." Life (August 1995): 46-53.

Falgout, Suzanne. "Americans in Paradise: Anthropologists, Custom, and Democracy in Postwar Micronesia." Ethnology 34 (Spring 1995): 99-111.

Friedman, Hal M. "The Beast in Paradise: The United States Navy in Micronesia, 1943–1947." Pacific Historical Review 62 (May 1993): 173-195.

Friedman, Hal M. "Arguing over Empire." Journal of Pacific History 29 (1994): 36-48.

Hanlon, David. Remaking Micronesia: Discourses over Development in a Pacific Territory, 1944–1982. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998.

Hezel, Francis X. "The Church in Micronesia." America 18 (February 1995): 23-24.

Kluge, P. F. The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia. New York: Random House, 1991.

Malcomson, S. L. "Stranger than Paradise." Mother Jones 14 (January 1989): 19-25.

"Micronesia: A New Nation." U.S. News & World Report (October 15, 1984): 80-81.

Montoya, R. T. "The Foreign Aid Cancer." Vital Speeches of the Day 1 (August 1987): 616-618.

Parfit, Michael. "Islands of the Pacific." National Geographic 203 (March 2003): 106-125.

Patterson, Carolyn Bennett. "In the Far Pacific: At the Birth of Nations." National Geographic 170 (October 1986): 460-500.

Peoples, James G. "Political Evolution in Micronesia." Ethnology 32 (Winter 1993): 1-17.

Rainbird, Paul. "Taking the Tapu: Defining Micronesia by Absence." Journal of Pacific History 38 (September 2003): 237-250.

Schwalbenberg, Henry M., and Thomas Hatcher. "Micronesian Trade and Foreign Assistance." Journal of Pacific History 29 (1) (1994): 95-104.

Woodard, Colin. "After Uncle Sam Goes Home: Trouble in Paradise." Christian Science Monitor (August 11, 1998): 6.

Woodard, Colin. "America's Half-Forgotten Islands." Christian Science Monitor (December 27, 1999): 6.

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Federated States of Micronesia

Federated States of Micronesia

Type of Government

The Federated States of Micronesia is governed as a democratic federal republic in free association with the United States. Legislative, executive, and judicial powers are divided between the federal government and four state governments. The president serves as both head of state and the head of the government. The unicameral (single-chamber) Congress is the main decision-making body.

Background

The Federated States of Micronesia is an island nation located in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines. It comprises more than six hundred islands and islets, forming the eastern portion of the Caroline Islands archipelago (the western islands are politically part of Palau). The nation has four constituent states: Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap. The capital is Palikir, on the island on Pohnpei. The name Micronesia may be used to refer either to the Federated States or to the region as a whole.

Settlers arrived on the Micronesian islands as early as three thousand to four thousand years ago. In the years before European contact, the hunter-gatherer societies there achieved a high degree of complexity. On the island of Yap, a sophisticated social structure, tribute system, and trade network contributed to the development of a centralized empire that dominated the islands of Micronesia.

Spanish explorers reached the islands in the sixteenth century, naming them the Caroline Islands in honor of Spanish King Charles II (1661–1700), but they would remain uncolonized for nearly three centuries. Throughout the nineteenth century, whaling merchants and traders introduced European weapons, diseases, and religious ways to the islands. The Spanish officially colonized the Caroline Islands in 1886, but their rule lasted little more than three decades. In 1899, suffering losses from the Spanish-American War, Spain sold the islands to Germany.

In 1914 the Caroline Islands were ceded to Japan, which later governed the territory under a mandate from the League of Nations following World War I. Under Japanese colonial administration, the islands’ economy grew, and more than one hundred thousand Japanese settled in Micronesia. Following World War II, however, much of the infrastructure developed by the Japanese during the war was left destroyed, and the United States assumed control of the Caroline Islands as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands created by the United Nations in 1947. (The trust also included the Northern Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Palau.)

Micronesian leaders began to negotiate with the United States for their independence in 1969, and in 1975 a constitution was drafted for the Federated States of Micronesia. The trust states of Truk (now Chuuk), Kosrae, Ponope (now Pohnpei), and Yap voted to join the federation; the Marshall Islands, the Northern Marianas, and Palau opted to form their own independent states. In 1983 voters in the Federated States of Micronesia approved the Compact of Free Association with the United States, which outlined the two nations’ future relationship. The agreement, which became effective in 1986, granted the Federated States of Micronesia independence while assigning responsibility for the islands’ external defense to the United States. In addition, the United States agreed to provide significant, ongoing financial assistance to the new nation. In 2003 the compact was renegotiated for an additional twenty years.

Government Structure

A democratic federal republic, the Federated States of Micronesia has a government whose structure and functions are outlined in the nation’s constitution, which was adopted in 1979, and in the Compact of Free Association with the United States, which became effective in 1986 (an amended compact took effect in 2004).

According to the constitution, legislative, executive, and judicial powers are divided between the federal government and four state governments. All powers that are not of an “indisputably national character” are reserved to the states. The state governments exercise considerable authority relative to the federal government, particularly over budgetary matters. The composition of the state governments mirrors that of the federal government: Each has its own constitution and maintains three branches of government. Constitutional amendments require a three-fourths majority in at least three of the four states.

The Federated States of Micronesia has a unicameral legislature called the Congress. This body is made up of fourteen senators. Four at-large senators, one from each state, serve four-year terms. The remaining ten members, representing single-member constituencies apportioned by population (as of 2007, Chuuk had five seats, Pohnpei had three seats, and Kosrae and Yap had one each), serve two-year terms.

The president serves as both head of state and head of the government. The president and vice president are elected from among the four-year senators in the legislature. Once chosen, their seats in Congress are filled by special elections. The president and vice president both serve four-year terms, with a two-term limit. Proposals for electoral reform have called for the popular election of the president and vice president, but in 2002 voters rejected a constitutional amendment to do so. The president and vice president are advised by a cabinet of eight ministers who lead the major departments of government. Cabinet ministers are appointed by the president with congressional approval.

The federated nature of the state influences the legislative process. In order to become law, bills must pass two readings on separate days. To pass the first reading, a two-thirds majority in Congress is required. On the second reading, each state’s legislative delegation casts one vote; a two-thirds majority among all the delegations is required for the bill to proceed. The president has the right to return approved bills to Congress within ten days of passage; if the president has no objections, the bill becomes law.

The Supreme Court, which has both trial and appellate divisions, is the ultimate judicial authority in the Federated States of Micronesia. The court consists of three judges who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Congress. Judges serve lifetime appointments.

Political Parties and Factions

There are no organized political parties in the Federated States of Micronesia; rather, candidates align themselves according to family, island, or state allegiances.

Major Events

The adoption of the Compact of Free Association between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States in 1986 had the unintended consequence of stimulating significant emigration from the Micronesian islands. The provisions of the compact permitted residents of the Federated States of Micronesia to enter the United States without visa requirements, prompting many to leave the country. Emigrants from Micronesia tend to be younger and more educated, sparking fears of a “brain drain” in Micronesia.

Twenty-First Century

Dependent on financial assistance from the United States, the Federated States of Micronesia faces important economic challenges in the twenty-first century. According to the amended Compact of Free Association, the United States will provide $100 million in direct financial assistance each year until 2023. The nation lacks industry and infrastructure that would allow it to become more self-sufficient. One potential area for economic development is tourism, although the area’s remote location and lack of commercial air connections are impediments to future growth.

U.S. Department of State. “Background Note: Micronesia.” (accessed June 27, 2007).

U.S. Government Accountability Office. Compacts of Free Association: Trust Funds for Micronesia and the Marshall Islands May Not Provide Sustainable Income . Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2007. (accessed June 26, 2007).

Willens, Howard P., and Deanne C. Siemer. National Security and Self-Determination: United States Policy in Micronesia, 1961–1972 . Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000.

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Micronesia

Micronesia

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-MICRONESIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the December 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 702 sq. km (about 270 sq. mi.) in four major island groups (Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae).

Cities: Capital—Palikir. Other cities—Kolonia, Weno, Colonia, Lelu.

Terrain: 607 mountainous islands and low-lying coral atolls.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjectiveMicronesian.

Population: 108,000.

Growth rate: 0.26%.

Ethnic groups: Nine ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups.

Religions: Roman Catholic 53%, Protestant 42.4%, others 4.6%.

Languages: English, and nine ethnic languages.

Education: Literacy—91%.

Health: Life expectancy—male 65.6 yrs.; female 66.9 yrs. Infant mortality rate—40.4/1,000.

Work force: More than one-half of workers are government employees.

Government

Type: Constitutional confederation in free association with the U.S. The first Compact of Free Association entered into force in 1986, and an Amended Compact entered into force June 30, 2004.

Independence: (from U.S.-administered UN trusteeship) November 3, 1986.

Constitution: May 10, 1979.

Government branches: Executive—President (chief of state and head of government), cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Congress with 14 seats. Judicial—Supreme Court.

Political parties: No formal parties.

Economy (FY 2004 figures)

GDP: $218 million.

GDP per capita: (nominal) $2,018.

National income: (GDP + foreign assistance) $360 million.

National income per capita: $3,100.

GDP composition by sector: services 77%, agriculture 19%, industry 4%.

Industry: Types—fishing, agriculture, tourism.

Trade: Exports ($14 million)—fish, kava, betel nut. Export market—Japan (21%), US (25%), others (53%), U.S. Imports ($133 million)—food, manufactured goods, fuel. Import sources—U.S. (50%), Japan (11%), others (39%).

External debt: $ 60.81 million.

Currency: U.S. dollar.

GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of 607 islands extending 1,800 miles across the archipelago of the Caroline Islands east of the Philippines. The four states are the island groups of Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, and Kosrae. The federal capital is Palikir, on Pohnpei.

The indigenous population consists of various ethno-linguistic groups. English has become the common language. The birth rate remains high at more than 3%, but the population of the four states remains almost constant due to emigration.

HISTORY

Ancestors of the Micronesians settled the Caroline Islands over 4,000 years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire based principally in Yap and Pohnpei. European explorers—first the Portuguese in search of the Spice Islands and then the Spanish—reached the Carolines in the 16th century, with the Spanish establishing sovereignty. The current FSM passed to German control in 1899, and then through the Treaty of Versailles to the Japanese in 1919. Following World War II, these islands became part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, administered by the United States.

On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia. The neighboring trust districts of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands chose not to participate. The FSM signed a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. in 1986. An Amended Compact entered into force in June 2004.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The FSM is governed under a 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has 14 members elected by popular vote. Four senators at large—one from each state—serve 4-year terms; the remaining 10 senators represent single-member districts based on population and serve 2-year terms. The President and Vice President are elected by Congress from among the four senators at large who serve in 4-year seats. Once elected, the President and Vice President serve for four years. Their congressional seats are then filled by special elections. An appointed cabinet supports the president and vice president. There are no formal political parties.

The FSM is a confederation with a weak central government. Each of FSM's four states has its own constitution and its own elected legislature and governor. The state governments maintain considerable power, particularly regarding the implementation of budgetary policies.

The FSM's highest court is the Supreme Court, which is divided into trial and appellate divisions. The President appoints judges with the advice and consent of the Congress.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

President: Joseph J. URUSEMAL

Vice President: Redley KILLION

Sec. of Economic Affairs: Akillino K.SUSAIA

Sec. of Finance & Administration: John EHSA

Sec. of Foreign Affairs: SebastianANEFAL

Sec. of Health, Education, & SocialAffairs: Eliuel K. PRETRICK

Sec. of Justice: Paul E. MCILRATH

Sec. of Transportation, Communication, & Infrastructure: Akillino K. SUSAIA

Ambassador to the US: JesseMAREHALAU

Permanent Representative to the UN, NewYork: Masao NAKAYAMA

The FSM maintains an Embassy at 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: 202-223-4383. Fax: 202-223-4391. Email: [email protected] Internet website: www.fsmembassydc.org. The FSM also maintains consulates in Honolulu and Guam.

ECONOMY

Under the terms of the Compact of Free Association, the U.S. provided the FSM with about $2 billion in grants and services between 1986 and 2001. The Compact's financial terms were renegotiated for the 20-year period 2004 through 2023, with the aim of encouraging sustainable development. The U.S. will provide almost $100 million in direct assistance every year until 2023, which includes the systematic reallocation of a portion of the direct aid to a jointly managed Trust Fund. Additional federal grants to the FSM total approximately $35 million annually. Assistance under the Amended Compact is distributed by grants in response to a transparent FSM budget process, focusing on the following six sectors: education, health, infrastructure, public sector capacity building, private sector development, and the environment. The U.S. Department of the Interior is responsible for monitoring and implementing the Amended Compact. The FSM government sector plays a central role in the economy as recipients and domestic administrators of Compact funds. The national and state-level governments employ over half of the country's workers, with government services accounting for more than 40% of GDP. Real wages nationwide have been flat for the past decade, as has the number of jobs in the economy (about 15,500.) Private sector jobs pay about half as much as public sector jobs.

The fishing industry is highly important. Foreign commercial fishing fleets pay over $14 million annually for the right to operate in FSM territorial waters. These licensing fees account for 28% of the national government revenues. Exports of marine products, mainly to Japan, account for nearly 85% of export revenues.

Visitor attractions include scuba diving, World War II battle sites, ecotourism, and the ancient ruined city of Nan Madol on Pohnpei. Some 18,000 tourists visit the islands each year. However, the tourist industry has been hampered by a lack of infrastructure and limited commercial air connections. The Asian Development Bank has identified tourism as one of FSM's highest potential growth industries. Agriculture is mainly subsistence farming. The principal crops are breadfruit, coconuts, bananas, betel nuts, cassava, taro, and kava. Less than 10% of the formal labor force and less than 7% of export revenue come from the agricultural sector. The large inflow of official assistance to FSM allows it to run a substantial trade deficit—imports outstrip exports by a seven-to-one ratio—and to have a much lighter tax burden than other states in the region (11% of GDP in FSM compared to 18%-25% elsewhere). The government borrowed against future Compact disbursements in the early 1990s, yielding a significant external debt, close to $60 million. In 2005, the FSM Government and Congress took positive steps toward establishing a nationwide tax system to improve collections and more fairly distribute the tax burden.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia conducts its own foreign relations. Since independence, the FSM has established diplomatic relations with a number of nations, including most of its Pacific neighbors, Japan, Australia, and the People's of China. Regional cooperation through various multilateral organizations is a key element of its foreign policy. The FSM became a member of the United Nations in 1991.

U.S.-MICRONESIAN RELATIONS

The Governments of the FSM and the U.S. maintain deep ties and a cooperative relationship. Reflecting a strong legacy of Trusteeship cooperation, over 25 U.S. federal agencies continue to maintain programs in the FSM. Under the Amended Compact, the U.S. has full authority and responsibility for the defense of the FSM. This security relationship can be changed or terminated by mutual agreement. Also under the Compact, Micronesians can live, work, and study in the United States without a visa. Micronesians volunteer to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces at approximately double the per capita rate as Americans. Americans can live and work freely in the FSM without the need for a visa.

The U.S. will provide about $100 million annually in assistance to the FSM over the next 20 years. A Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) consisting of representatives of both nations is responsible for ensuring that assistance funds are spent effectively, with the aim of fostering good governance and economic self-reliance. The basic relationship of free association continues indefinitely.

The United States is the FSM's largest trade partner.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

KOLONIA (E) P.O. Box 1286, POhnpei FM 96941, APO/FPO No APO/FPO available at Post., 691-320-2187, Fax 691-320-2186, INMARSAT Tel 011-872-383-132633, Workweek: Monday—Friday 8a.m. to 5 p.m., Website: http://kolonia.usembassy.gov 8a.m. to 5 p.m., Website: http://kolonia.usembassy.gov.

DHS/CIS:Guam/Honolulu
DHS/ICE:Embassy Singapore
ECO:Richard Pruett
MGT:Jonathan Floss
AMB:Miriam Hughes
CON:Angelina Wilkinson
DCM:Richard Pruett
GSO:Scott Anderson (Gsa)
RSO:Embassy Manila
APHIS:Embassy Canberra
EST:Richard Pruett
FAA:Barry Brayer
FMO:Embassy Manila
ICASS:Chair David Reside
IMO:Robert Boylan (Ims)
IRS:Embassy Tokyo
ISSO:Jonathan Floss
POL:Richard Pruett
State ICASS:Vacant

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

January 22, 2008

Country Description: The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is composed of four states spanning dozens of atolls scattered over a million square miles of the north central Pacific. The four states are: Pohnpei (formerly Ponape), Kosrae (formerly Kusaie), Chuuk (formerly Truk) and Yap. The federal capital is located at Palikir, on the island of Pohnpei, close to Pohnpei's largest town, Kolonia. The FSM is a constitutional democracy and is party to a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens require a U.S. passport, a completed FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record (FSM Form 5004) and a completed FSM Customs Form to enter the FSM. The passport must be valid for at least 120 days beyond the date of entry into the FSM. The air carrier distributes the FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record and Customs Form prior to passengers’ arrival at the point of entry. There is no limit to the length of time U.S. citizens and nationals may remain in the FSM. All states except Yap levy a departure fee. A health certificate may be required if the traveler is arriving from an area experiencing an epidemic. Visit the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia web site at www.fsmem-bassydc.org for the most current visa information.

For more information about FSM entry requirements, travelers may consult the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia at 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20038, tel: (202) 223-4383 or the Embassy's web site at http://www.visit-fsm.org/visitors/entry.html. The FSM also has Consulates in Honolulu and Guam.

Safety and Security: U.S. citizens in the FSM should review their own personal security practices, be alert to any unusual activity around their homes or businesses, and report any significant incidents to local police authorities. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: On occasion, foreigners have been subject to, and possibly singled out for, theft and verbal and physical abuse. Modern Western swimwear may be considered immodest by local standards, and persons wearing such clothing outside of hotels that cater to tourists could be subject to harassment.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Health care facilities in the FSM consist of hospitals on each of the four major islands and a few scattered clinics. These facilities sometimes lack basic supplies and medicines, and the quality of health care varies. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific coverage for overseas treatment and medical evacuation may prove useful. Medical evacuation for non-ambulatory patients may not be immediately available and can be very expensive. Scuba divers are advised that there are only two decompression chambers in the FSM (in Yap and Chuuk); their availability and staff experience in treating dive injuries varies. A small outbreak of dengue fever, a flu-like illness which may be complicated by hemorrhage or shock, was reported from Yap in October 2007. Visitors to Yap should wear long sleeves, long pants, hats and shoes (rather than sandals). It is advised that you apply insect repellents containing 20-35% DEET or 20% picaridin to exposed skin.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's web site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Micronesia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

In the FSM, driving is on the right-hand side of the road, as in the United States. However, unlike most cars in the United States, the majority of vehicles in FSM have the driver's seat situated on the right side. Traffic, particularly in the state capitals, is increasing. Congestion may be a problem at the beginning and end of the workday. Most roads are narrow and without sidewalks, creating a hazard for both drivers and pedestrians. Many roads are in poor condition, with potholes and little or no shoulder. Road conditions can worsen after heavy rains; coral surfaces are particularly likely to be slippery. Driving skills vary; drivers often make turns or stop to pick up pedestrians without warning. Roads outside the towns are often unpaved, and are used by pedestrians, children playing, animals, and drivers alike. Streetlights are rare. Taxis are available in state capitals, but visitors are advised to be careful, since some taxi drivers are reckless. There is no formal training in road safety, so many drivers are unaware of road safety rules. Drunk drivers pose serious hazards, in particular on weekend evenings and holidays. Drivers are required by law to report immediately to local police authorities all accidents involving property damage or personal injury. Visit the web site of the FSM's national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety at www.visit-fsm.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in the FSM, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Micronesia's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Continental Airlines is the only commercial carrier serving the FSM. Flight schedules and routes are limited and subject to change. There may be few alternatives if flights are canceled or missed. Flights are usually 100% booked, and aircraft weight is an issue due to short runways and the type of aircraft used. Because of these limitations and the numerous transit stops made (the typical routing to get to Kolonia would be via Honolulu with intermediate stops in Majuro, Kwajalein and Kosrae, or via Guam with a stop in Chuuk), with exiting and arriving passengers at each location, baggage sometimes may not be loaded at the departure point or may be off-loaded by mistake and left behind at an intermediate stop. Americans are advised to keep these logistical challenges in mind when traveling in this region. Missing baggage should be reported immediately to Continental Airlines ground personnel before onward flight departure.

Special Circumstances: Micronesian customs authorities assess import taxes on cigarettes, tobacco, alcoholic beverages, gasoline, and other personal items that exceed specified amounts. All imports are subject to physical inspection by customs officials. There are strict quarantine regulations restricting entry of plant and animal products. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Micronesia in Washington or one of Micronesia's consulates in Honolulu or Guam for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Micronesian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Micronesia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in the Federated States of Micronesia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Micronesia.Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia does not issue U.S. passports; it accepts passport applications from persons living or traveling in the FSM and forwards them to the Honolulu Passport Agency in Hawaii for processing. The U.S. Passport Office in Guam does not issue U.S. passports, but it does accept passport applications and forwards them to Hawaii for processing. The U.S. Embassy is located on Kaselehlie Street (the main downtown street) across from the Pohnpei Botanical Gardens. The mailing address is PO Box 1286, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia 96941. The telephone number is (691) 320-2187. The Duty Officer phone number is (691) 920-2369. The fax number is (691) 320-2186. The U.S. Embassy's web site can be accessed at http://kolonia.usembassy.gov.

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Micronesia

Micronesia

Micronesia is a region of the central Pacific Ocean. It forms, together with Melanesia and Polynesia, one of the three cultural areas of Oceania. Micronesia includes the islands of Guam and Nauru, and the Mariana, Caroline, Marshall, Gilbert, and Line islands. The name Micronesia derives from Greek words meaning "tiny islands." Most of these islands are atolls, or low coral islands fringing a partially enclosed lagoon.

Human beings have inhabited parts of Micronesia for at least five thousand years. Though Micronesia extends over a vast area, its people are excellent sailors and discovered and settled nearly every island in the region well before Europeans arrived. Traditional Micronesian society was based on a system of hereditary chiefs, with individuals divided into nobility and commoners.

The first European to visit Micronesia was the Portuguese Fernão de Magalhães (1480–1521), better known in English as Ferdinand Magellan. Employed by the king of Spain, Magellan entered the Pacific from the southern tip of South America and reached Guam in 1521.

Though Spain laid claim to Guam in 1565, it did not establish a settlement there until the mid-1600s. As in other parts of Oceania, European colonialism really began in the nineteenth century. Though Spain was a weak colonial power at this time, it still controlled Guam, as well as the Mariana and Caroline Islands, though British and American traders and missionaries had become active on these islands. Britain claimed the Gilbert Islands and the nearby island of Banaba, while Germany claimed the Marshall Islands and Nauru.

After Spain's 1898 loss in the Spanish-American War, the United States acquired Guam and Spain and sold the Marianas and the Carolines to Germany. Germany lost all its colonies after its defeat in World War I, with the Marianas, Carolines, and Marshalls going to Japan, and Nauru being administered by Australia. Japan settled large numbers of its citizens in Micronesia, but lost these colonies after its own defeat in World War II; its Micronesian empire was transferred to the United States.

The small size and remote location of Micronesia's islands did not make it an especially attractive place for European colonialism. Export crops were largely limited to copra, a form of dried coconut used for its oil, and the islands of Nauru and Banaba were also important as sources of phosphate fertilizer. Micronesia was of strategic importance, given its location between the United States and Japan, the two naval powers of the Pacific, and both countries militarized islands under their control.

Today Micronesia is a mix of colonies, semicolonies, and independent states. The Gilbert Islands became independent in 1979 as the Republic of Kiribati, and Nauru is also an independent republic. Guam and the Northern Marianas are still colonies of the United States, while the Marshalls and Carolines are in "free association" with the United States, meaning that the United States maintains certain political rights in those places. The Caroline Islands were split into Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, the latter consisting of the four states of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

see also Federated States of Micronesia; Marshall Islands; Pacific, American Presence in; Pacific, European Presence in.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lal, Brij V., and Kate Fortune, eds. The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2000.

Oliver, Douglas L. The Pacific Islands, 3rd ed. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1989.

Scarr, Deryck. A History of the Pacific Islands: Passages Through Tropical Time, 2nd ed. London: Routledge/Curzon, 2001.

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Micronesia

MICRONESIA

Compiled from the October 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

702 sq. km (about 270 sq. mi.) in four major island groups/states (Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae).

Cities:

Capital—Palikir. Other cities—Kolonia, Moen, Lelu.

Terrain:

607 mountainous islands and low-lying coral atolls.

Climate:

Tropical.

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Micronesian.

Population:

107,000.

Growth rate:

3.0%.

Ethnic groups:

Nine ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups.

Religion:

Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 47%.

Language:

English (official and common), and all four states have their own ethnic language.

Education:

Literacy—89%.

Health:

Life expectancy—male 66.7 yrs.; female 70.6 yrs. Infant mortality rate—33.5/1,000.

Work force:

More than one-half of workers are government employees.

Government

Type:

Constitutional confederation in free association with the U.S. The first Compact of Free Association entered into force in 1986, and an Amended Compact entered into force June 30, 2004.

Independence (from U.S.-administered UN trusteeship):

November 3, 1986.

Constitution:

May 10, 1979.

Branches:

Executive—president (chief of state and head of government), cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Congress with 14 seats. Judicial—Supreme Court.

Major political parties:

No formal parties.

Economy

GDP:

$240 million.

GDP per capita (nominal):

$2,200.

National income (GDP + foreign assistance):

$360 million.

National income per capita:

$3,100.

GDP composition by sector:

Services 77%, agriculture 19%, industry 4%.

Industry:

Types—government, fishing.

Trade:

Exports ($19 million)—fish, garments and buttons, betel nut. Export market—Japan (80%), U.S. Imports ($133 million)—food, manufactured goods, fuel. Import sources—U.S. (73%), Japan, Australia.

External debt:

$111 million.

Currency:

U.S. dollar.


GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of 607 islands extending 1,800 miles across the archipelago of the Caroline Islands east of the Philippines. The four states are the island groups of Yap, Chuuk (called Truk until January 1990), Pohnpei (called Ponape until November 1984), and Kosrae. The federal capital is Palikir, on Pohnpei.

The indigenous population, which is predominantly Micronesian, consists of various ethnolinguistic groups. English has become the common language. Population growth remains high at more than 3%, but the population of the four states remains almost constant due to emigration.


HISTORY

The ancestors of the Micronesians settled the Caroline Islands over 4,000 years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire centered on Yap. 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. The current FSM passed to German control in 1899, then to the Japanese in 1914, and, following World War II, to the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which was administered by the United States after 1947.

On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia. The neighboring trust districts of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands chose not to participate. The FSM became independent and signed a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. in 1986. An Amended and Perpetual Compact entered into force in June 2004.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The internal workings of FSM are governed by the 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has 14 members elected by popular vote. Four senators—one from each state—serve 4-year terms; the remaining 10 senators represent single-member districts based on population, and serve 2-year terms. The president and vice president are elected by Congress from among the four state-based senators to serve 4-year terms in the executive branch. Their congressional seats are then filled by special elections. An appointed cabinet supports the president and vice president. There are no formal political parties.

The FSM is a confederation with a weak central government. Each of FSM's four states has its own constitution, elected legislature, and governor. The state governments maintain considerable power, particularly regarding the implementation of budgetary policies.

The judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court, which is divided into trial and appellate divisions. The president appoints judges with the advice and consent of the Congress.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 11/9/2005

President: Vladimir VORONIN
Speaker of the Parliament: Marian LUPU
Prime Minister: Vasile TARLEV
First Dep. Prime Min.: Zinaida GRECIANI
Dep. Prime Min.: Valerian CRISTEA
Dep. Prime Min.: Andrei STRATAN
Min. of Agriculture & Food Industry: Anatolie GORODENCO
Min. of Culture & Tourism: Artur COZMA
Min. of Defense: Valeriu PLESCA
Min. of Economy & Commerce: Valeriu LAZAR
Min. of Education, Youth, & Sport: Victor TVIRCUN
Min. of Environment & Natural Resources: Constantin MIHAILESCU
Min. of Finance: Mihai POP
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Andrei STRATAN
Min. of Health & Social Protection: Ion ABABII
Min. of Industry & Infrastructure: Vladimir ANTOSII
Min. of Information Development: Vladimir MOLOJEN
Min. of Internal Affairs: Gheorghe PAPUC
Min. of Justice: Victoria IFTODI
Min. of Reintegration: Vasile SOVA
Min. of Transport & Roads Management: Miron GAGAUZ
Sec., Supreme Security Council: Ion MOREI
Prosecutor General: Valeriy BALABAN
Dir., Intelligence & Security Service (ISS): Ion URSU
Pres., National Bank: Leonid TALMACI
Ambassador to the US: Mihai MANOLI
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Vsevolod GRIGORE

FSM maintains an embassy at 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel: 202-223-4383). It also maintains consulates in Honolulu and Guam.


ECONOMY

Under the terms of the Compact of Free Association, the U.S. provided FSM with around $2 billion in grants and services from 1986 to 2001. The Compact's financial terms were renegotiated for a 20-year period through 2023. The U.S. will provide almost $100 million in direct assistance every year until 2023, including contributions to a jointly managed Trust Fund. U.S. grants to the FSM in addition to these funds totaled $57 million in 2004. Assistance under the Amended Compact will be distributed via grants to the following six sectors: education, health, infrastructure, public sector capacity building, private sector development, and the environment.

The FSM public sector plays a central role in the economy as the administrator of the Compact funds. The national and state-level governments employ over one-half of the country's workers and provide services accounting for more than 40% of GDP. Real wages nationwide have been flat for the past decade, as has the number of jobs in the economy (about 15,500.) Private sector jobs pay about half as much as public sector jobs; however, both national and state government salaries continue to fall in real terms.

The fishing industry is highly important. Foreign commercial fishing fleets pay over $20 million annually for the right to operate in FSM territorial waters. These licensing fees account for nearly 30% of domestic budgetary revenue. Additionally, exports of marine products, mainly re-exports of fish to Japan, account for nearly 85% of export revenue.

Visitor attractions include SCUBA diving in each state, World War II battle sites, and the ancient ruined city of Nan Madol on Pohnpei. Some 15,000 tourists visit the islands each year. However, the tourist industry has been hampered by a lack of infrastructure and limited commercial air connections. The Asian Development

Bank has identified tourism as one of FSM's highest potential growth industries.

Farming is mainly subsistence, and its importance is declining. The principal crops are coconuts, bananas, betel nuts, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Less than 10% of the formal labor force and less than 7% of export revenue come from the agriculture sector. Manufacturing activity is modest, consisting mainly of two garment factories in Yap.

The large inflow of official assistance to FSM allows it to run a substantial trade deficit—imports outstrip exports by a seven-to-one ratio—and to have a much lighter tax burden than other states in the region (11% of GDP in FSM compared to 18%-25% elsewhere). The government borrowed against future Compact disbursements in the early 1990s, yielding a significant external debt that now tops $60 million. In 2005, the FSM Government and Congress took positive steps to revamp and rationalize the nationwide tax system to improve collections and more fairly distribute the tax burden.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia conducts its own foreign relations. Since independence, the FSM has established diplomatic relations with a number of nations, including most of its Pacific neighbors and the People's Republic of China. Regional cooperation through various multilateral organizations is a key element in its foreign policy. The FSM became a member of the United Nations in 1991.


U.S.-MICRONESIAN RELATIONS

The Governments of the FSM and the U.S. entered into the first Compact of Free Association on November 3, 1986. An Amended Compact entered into force on June 30, 2004. Under the Compact, the U.S. has full authority and responsibility for the defense of the FSM. This security relationship can be changed or terminated by mutual agreement. The U.S. will provide $92 million in assistance to the FSM over the next 20 years. A Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) consisting of representatives of both nations will ensure that assistance funds are spent effectively. The basic relationship of free association continues indefinitely.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

KOLONIA (E) Address: P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei FM 96941; APO/FPO: No APO/FPO available at post.; Phone: 691-320-2187; Fax: 691-320-2186; INMARSAT Tel: 011-872-383-132633; Workweek: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Website: www.fm/usembassy.

AMB:Suzanne Hale
AMB OMS:Patricia Limeri
DCM:Stephen A. Druzak
POL:Stephen A. Druzak
MGT:Michael Pace
APHIS:Embassy Canberra
CUS:Embassy Singapore
ECO:Stephen A. Druzak
EEO:Michael Pace
EST:Stephen A. Druzak
FAA:Barry Brayer
FMO:Robert Ripley
GSO:Scott Anderson
ICASS Chair:Phil Giles
IMO:Vacant
INS:Guam/Honolulu
IRS:Embassy Tokyo
RSO:William Lamb
State ICASS:Vacant
Last Updated: 12/18/2005

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

July 19, 2005

Country Description:

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is composed of four states, named after their main islands, and dozens of atolls extending over a large area of the north central Pacific. The four states are: Pohnpei (formerly Ponape), Kosrae (formerly Kusaie), Chuuk (formerly Truk) and Yap. The federal capital is located at Palikir, on the island of Pohnpei, close to its largest city, Kolonia. The FSM is a constitutional democracy, and is party to a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Entry Requirements:

U.S. citizens require proof of citizenship and presentation of a completed "FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record" to enter the FSM. The FSM accepts one of the following as proof of citizenship: a U.S. passport or a certified U.S. birth certificate. The passport must be valid for at least 120 days beyond the date of entry into the FSM. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia advises U.S. citizens to enter and depart the FSM on a valid U.S. passport. The "FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record" can be obtained from your air carrier prior to arrival at the point of entry. There is no limit to the length of time U.S. citizens and nationals may remain in the FSM. All states except Yap levy a departure fee. A health certificate may be required if the traveler is arriving from an infected area.

The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia does not issue U.S. passports; passport applications are accepted from persons living or traveling in the FSM and forwarded to the Honolulu Passport Agency in Hawaii for processing.

For more information about FSM entry requirements, travelers may consult the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia at http://www.visit-fsm.org/visitors/entry.html, 1725 N Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20038, tel: (202) 223-4383 or go to http://www.visit-fsm.org/visitors/entry.html. The FSM also has Consulates in Honolulu and Guam.

Safety and Security:

U.S. citizens in the FSM should review their own personal security practices, be alert to any unusual activity around their homes or businesses, and report any significant incidents to local police authorities.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov/, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

On occasion foreigners have been subject to, and possibly singled out for, theft and verbal and physical abuse. Modern Western swimwear may be considered immodest by local standards, and persons wearing such clothing outside of hotels that cater to tourists could be subject to harassment.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Health care facilities in the FSM consist of hospitals on each of the four major islands and a few scattered clinics. These facilities sometimes lack basic supplies and medicines, and the quality of health care varies. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific coverage for overseas treatment and medical evacuation may prove useful. Medical evacuation can be very expensive for non-ambulatory patients. Scuba divers are advised there are only three decompression chambers in the FSM (in Yap, Pohnpei, and Chuuk), their availability varies, and there is very little experience in treating dive injuries.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web-site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Micronesia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

In Micronesia, drivers drive on the right-hand side of the road, as in the United States. However, the majority of vehicles have the driver's seat on the right side. Traffic, particularly in the state capitals, is increasing. Congestion is a problem particularly at the beginning and end of the workday. Most roads are narrow and without sidewalks, creating a hazard for both drivers and pedestrians. Many roads are in poor condition, with potholes and little or no shoulder. Road conditions can worsen after heavy rains. Driving skills vary; drivers often make turns or stop to pick up pedestrians without warning. Roads outside the towns are often unpaved, and are used by pedestrians, playing children, animals and drivers alike. Streetlights are rare. Taxis are available in state capitals, but visitors are advised to be careful, since some taxi drivers are reckless. There is no formal training in road safety; so many drivers are unaware of road safety rules. Drunk drivers can pose serious hazards, in particular on weekend evenings.

For specific information concerning Micronesian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Micronesia national tourist organization offices via the Internet at http://www.visitfsm.org/.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the FSM's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards.

Continental Micronesia Airlines is the only commercial carrier serving the FSM. Flight schedules and routes are limited and subject to change. There may be little flexibility or alternatives if flights are canceled or missed.

Special Circumstances:

Micronesian customs authorities assess import taxes on cigarettes, tobacco, alcoholic beverages, gasoline, and other items that exceed specified amounts. All imports are subject to physical inspection by customs officials. There are strict quarantine regulations restricting entry of plant and animal products. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Micronesia in Washington or one of Micronesia's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Micronesian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Micronesia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Prison conditions in the FSM meet minimal international standards. Legal procedures provide for due process.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://www.travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration and Embassy Location:

Americans living in or visiting the Federated States of Micronesia are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia or through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Micronesia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia is located on Kaselehlie Street (the main downtown street) across from the Botanical Garden. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia 96941. The telephone number is (691) 320-2187. The fax number is (691) 320-2186. The U.S. Embassy's website can be accessed at either http://kolonia.usembassy.gov/ or http://micronesia.usembassy.gov/.

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Micronesia

Micronesia

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Micronesians

35 Bibliography

Federated States of Micronesia

CAPITAL: Palikir, Pohnpei Island

FLAG: Adopted in 1978, the flag is light blue, bearing four five-pointed stars arranged in a diamond in the center.

ANTHEM: Patriots of Micronesia (adopted in 1991).

MONETARY UNIT: The U.S. dollar is the official medium of exchange.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: British units are used, as modified by U.S. usage.

HOLIDAYS: New Year’s Day, 1 January; Federated States of Micronesia Day, 10 May; Independence Day, 3 November; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: In Pohnpei and Kosrae, 10 PM = noon GMT; in Yap and Truk, 9 PM = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is located in the western Pacific Ocean (an area known as Oceania) within a large group of islands known as the Carolinian archipelago. The four states—Kosrae, Pohnpei, Truk, and Yap—consist of 607 islands with a total area of 702 square kilometers (271 square miles). Comparatively, the area occupied by the Federated States of Micronesia is slightly less than four times the size of Washington, D.C. The total coastline length is 6,112 kilometers (3,798 miles).

The capital city of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palikir, is located on the island of Pohnpei.

2 Topography

The 607 islands constituting the four states include large, mountainous islands of volcanic origin and coral atolls. Kosrae is largely mountainous, with two peaks, Fenkol and Matanti. Pohnpei contains a large volcanic island, with the highest elevation in the nation at Mount Totolom, which rises to 791 meters (2,595 feet). Truk contains 14 islands that are mountainous and of volcanic origin. Yap contains four large, high islands, with the peak elevation at Mount Tabiwol. The outer islands of all states are mostly coral atolls. The lowest point is at sea level (Pacific Ocean).

GEOGRPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 702 sq km (271 sq mi)

Size ranking: 175 of 194

Highest elevation: 791 meters (2,595 feet) at Totolom

Lowest elevation: Sea level at the Pacific Ocean

Land Use*

Arable land: 6%

Permanent crops: 46%

Other: 48%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 305–508 centimeters (120–200 inches)

Average temperature in January: 27°C (80°F)

Average temperature in July: 26°C (78°F)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

3 Climate

There is little seasonal or daily variation in temperature, which averages 27°c (80°f). The islands are subject to typhoons. Annual average rainfall ranges from 305 centimeters (120 inches) in Yap to 508 centimeters (200 inches) in Pohnpei.

4 Plants and Animals

There is moderately heavy tropical vegetation, with tree species including tropical hardwoods on the slopes of the higher volcanic islands and coconut palms on the coral atolls. The only native land mammal is the tropical bat. A rich marine life inhabits the open sea, reefs, lagoons, and shore areas.

5 Environment

Solid waste disposal in urban areas is a continuing problem and the land is threatened by toxic pollutants from mining operations. Micronesia’s water supply is also threatened by industrial and agricultural pollutants.

United Nations research shows that global warming and the rise of sea levels are a threat to Micronesia’s forests, agricultural areas, and freshwater supply. Pollution from industrial and agricultural sources also threatens the nation’s mangrove areas.

Threatened species include the chuuk flying fox, the chuuk monarch, and the Mortlock Islands flying fox. The Kosrae crake and the Kosrae mountain starling have become extinct.

6 Population

The population was estimated in 2005 at 108,000. The projected population for the year 2025 was 115,000. The overall population density was 157 per square kilometer (406 per square mile). The majority of the population lives in the coastal areas of the high islands, leaving the

mountainous interiors largely uninhabited. The capital city is Palikir.

7 Migration

Most emigration is temporary as citizens leave seeking higher education. In 2005, the estimated net migration rate was -21.01 migrants per 1,000 population, a significant change from 11.65 migrants per 1,000 population in 1999. The total number of migrants in 2000 was 3,000.

8 Ethnic Groups

The islanders are generally classified as Micronesians of Malayo-Mongoloid origins. The people of the Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi atolls in southwestern Pohnpei are of Polynesian descent. In total, there are nine ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups.

9 Languages

English is the official language and is taught in the schools. The native languages are of the Malayo-Polynesian family. Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Trukese, Pohnpeian, and Kosraean are classed as Malaysian. Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro, spoken on two isolated atolls in Pohnpei, are Polynesian languages.

10 Religions

Roman Catholicism and Protestantism have been widely accepted since the 1880s. Protestantism is predominant in Kosrae. The largest denominations are the United Church of Christ, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, the Salvation Army, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Assemblies of God. Roman Catholics are dominant on Chuuk and Yap. There is a small Buddhist community on Pohnpei. There are also a small number of Baha’is in the country.

11 Transportation

As of 2002, there were 240 kilometers (149 miles) of roadways on the major islands, of which 42 kilometers (26 miles) are paved. There are commercial harbor facilities at Kolonia, Moen, Okat, and Colonia. Interisland shipping service is provided by six government-owned vessels. International and interstate scheduled airline services are provided by Continental/Air Micronesia, Air Nauru, and Pacific Missionary Aviation. In 2005, there were six airports, all of which had paved runways.

12 History

The string of islands known as the Carolinian archipelago was sighted by European navigators in the 16th century. Until the end of the 19th century, the islands were under Spanish colonial administration.

In 1899, following the Spanish-American War, Spain sold the islands to Germany. The Japanese took control at the end of World War I (1914–18). Following the defeat of Germany and Japan by the Allies in World War II (1939–45), the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) came under United States administration as part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

On 10 May 1979, a constitution drafted by a popularly elected constitutional convention went into effect. The United Nations Security Council voted in December 1990 to terminate the FSM’s status as a United Nations Trust Territory. A capital, Palikir, was built in the Palikir Valley; it has served the FSM since 1990. The FSM became an independent state and joined the United Nations in September 1991. Its congress last met in March 1995.

The Compact of Free Association between the FSM and the United Sates expired in 2001. Under a new agreement, ongoing grant assistance was to be provided for a period of twenty years. Prior to beginning negotiations and before other assistance was considered, the United States requested a full accounting of the approximately $3 billion in U.S. funding provided to FSM since 1986. The United States also suggested that restrictions on Micronesian immigration might be tied to future funding. In May 2003, negotiators agreed upon a document providing 20 years of ongoing assistance in the amount of $76 million per year. U.S. President George W. Bush signed the agreement in December 2003.

Faichuk has been seeking independence from Chuuk since the 1960s. In March 2005, a congressional bill was introduced formally seeking

that Faichuk become the fifth state of the FSM.

In the late-1990s and continuing into the new millennium, global warming and the possibility of rising sea levels have raised concern over the long-term prospects for the islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As countries that rise only a short distance above sea level, their existence may be threatened.

13 Government

The national executive branch includes the president, who also is chief of state, and vice president. Each serves a four-year term. The judiciary consists of a supreme court which applies criminal and civil laws and procedures that are similar to those of the United States. The legislature consists of a single-chamber congress of 14 senators.

Each of Micronesia’s four states has a legislature, governor, and lieutenant-governor. Municipalities are districts composed of a number of small communities (sections), some of which may be located in different islands. Municipal government is considered by many to be the most important level of government in Micronesia. The leaders of local bodies are generally tribal chiefs, who are considered to be more important figures than nationally elected

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Joseph Urusemal

Position: President of a constitutional government in free association with the United States

Took Office: 11 May 2003

Birthplace: Woleai, an outer island of Yap State, Micronesia

Birthdate: 19 March 1952

Education: Rockhurst College, Kansas City, Missouri

Spouse: Olania Latileilam

Children: Four children: B. J., Tarsis, Craig, and Elenita

Of interest: Urusemal has a reputation for being soft-spoken but determined.

politicians by a large body of Micronesians. The Council of Chiefs can veto any legislation it considers detrimental to traditional ways.

14 Political Parties

There are no formal political parties in Micronesia.

15 Judicial System

The national judiciary consists of a supreme court, headed by a chief justice, and subordinate courts established by statute. The supreme court has both trial and appellate divisions and reviews cases that require interpretation of the constitution, national law, or treaties.

State and municipal court systems have been established in each of the states.

16 Armed Forces

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) maintains no armed forces. External security is the responsibility of the United States.

17 Economy

The economy faces serious disadvantages, including shortages of technical and managerial skills and large trade deficits. Grants from the United States—which account for almost one-third of gross domestic product (GDP)—were reduced in 2002. It was estimated in 2005 that

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

after U.S.-led grants end, per capita GDP could drop to below $500. Privatization, reduction of government employment, and the development of tourism and fisheries are recommended.

18 Income

In 2005, Micronesia’s GDP was estimated to be $277 million, or $2,000 per person. The average annual inflation rate was 1% in 2002. The average annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 0.3% in 2005.

19 Industry

Handicrafts and small-scale processing are carried out in all states. There is a cottage industries program in Yap. Truk has a garment factory, a coconut-processing plant, a boat-building plant, and a breadfruit flour plant. Industry in other states includes a coconut-processing and soap and oil plant, a feedmill, an ice production plant, a brick-manufacturing plant, and a wood-processing plant.

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

20 Labor

The national labor force was estimated to be 23,190 in 1994 (the last year for which data is available). Two-thirds of the labor force in 2002 were government employees. In 2000 the unemployment rate stood at 22%. While unemployment remains high, the economy faces shortages of skilled personnel because more than 44% of the population is under 16 years of age. No labor unions had been formed as of 2002. There is no minimum working age for children and many children assist their families in subsistence farming activities.

21 Agriculture

Staple crops include taros, sweet potatoes, bananas, cassavas, and breadfruit. Other vegetables, such as cucumbers, eggplant, head cabbage, and tomatoes, are also produced. Other fruits include mangoes, papayas, pineapples, lemons, and limes, with oranges and tangerines also produced on Kosrae. The coconut palm is used for a wide range of purposes. Copra (dried coconut meat) is the main cash crop and the nation’s leading export. Crop production in 2004 included 140,000 tons of coconut, 11,800 tons of cassava, and 2,000 tons of bananas. Rich volcanic soil and heavy rainfall make gourmet Pohnpei peppers highly regarded.

22 Domesticated Animals

Livestock in 2005 included 13,900 head of cattle, 32,000 pigs, and 4,000 goats. Pigs are traditionally kept by many households for ceremonial purposes. The largest cattle herd is on Pohnpei Island. Chickens are also kept by many households.

23 Fishing

Although the tuna stocks offer a potential for a catch of more than 100,000 tons per year, there has been no interest shown in reaching this catch potential. The total catch in 2003 was 32,191 tons. The tuna catch is valued at about $200 million annually. Total fisheries exports were valued at $19 million in 2003.

24 Forestry

The nation has abundant forestry resources, particularly on the high islands. Exploitation of the nation’s forestry resources is limited and virtually all lumber used in construction is imported. In 2004, imports were valued at $2.1 million. Mangrove timber is used for handicrafts and furniture making.

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

25 Mining

There are deposits of phosphates on Fais Island in Yap and bauxite in Pohnpei, Truk, and Yap, but there has been no commercial exploitation. Clays, coral, sand, rock aggregate, and quarry stone works supply construction materials.

26 Foreign Trade

Exports include agricultural products (coconuts, cassava, bananas, betel nuts, and sweet potatoes), pigs, chickens, and re-exports of fish. Major imports include food, beverages, tobacco, petroleum products, and machinery and transportation equipment.

The United States, Australia, and Japan are the import trading partners, while Japan, the

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

IndicatorMicronesia Low-income countriesHigh-income countriesUnited States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$2,300 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate-0.1% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land157 803032
Life expectancy in years: male68 587675
female72 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people0.6 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)n.a. 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)89% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 people25 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 people108 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)n.a. 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)n.a. 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

United States, and Guam are the major export partners.

27 Energy and Power

Imported petroleum supplies about 80% of the total energy requirements. Fuel wood for household use provides most of the other 20%. Diesel fuel accounts for more than two-thirds of petroleum imports.

28 Social Development

Rapid changes in society have resulted in increasing juvenile delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse, and crime. National and state social programs are addressing these trends. A social insurance system includes old age, disability, and survivor benefits. Sex discrimination and violence against women are serious problems. Women’s roles within the family remain essentially the traditional ones. Women, however, face no discrimination in education. In 2004, women were well represented in middle and lower levels of government and generally received equal pay for equal work.

29 Health

There are hospitals in each state center. In 2005, life expectancy was 69.75 years. Although polio has been eradicated, there have been cases of tuberculosis and measles. Anemia was seen in 33% of children under the age of five in 1993. In 2004, there were an estimated 60 physicians per 100,000 population.

In 2000, there were 15,273 occupied households, with about 44.4% on Chuuk, 35.8% on Pohnpei, 12.9% on Yap, and 6.9% on Kosrae. The average number of members per household was 6.8. There has been a movement away from traditional construction materials toward imported lumber, plywood, and corrugated metal roofing.

31 Education

Elementary education is compulsory up to the eighth grade or until age 15. In 1986 there were 142 primary schools, 9 of them private, with 968 teachers and 23,636 pupils. Secondary education was provided through five public high schools and five private secondary schools.

The only post-secondary institution is the College of Micronesia (COM) in Pohnpei. FSM students are eligible for post-secondary education grants from the U.S. government and attend schools mainly in Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland. Vocational education is provided by the Pohnpei Agriculture and Trade School and the Micronesian Occupational College in Palau. The adult literacy rate has been estimated at around 89%.

32 Media

In 2001 there were 10,100 mainline telephones in use, and 1,800 mobile telephones in use. As of 2001, there is one state-owned radio station in each state capital, broadcasting in English and local languages. There is one private radio station owned by a religious group. In 1997, there were 127 radios per 1,000 population. In 2006, there were an estimated 25 television sets for every 1,000 people. In 2002, there were 6,000 Internet subscribers.

Most of the papers and newsletters are published by the national and state governments. The National Union comes out twice monthly. State publications include Mogethin (Yap), Uss Me Auus, (Truk), Pohnpei Reports, Kaselehile Press Pohnpei State, and Kosrae State Newsletters.

33 Tourism and Recreation

Tourist attractions include the spectacular beauty of the high islands; the rich marine environment; World War II artifacts, including sunken Japanese ships in the Truk lagoon; and ancient remains on Yap Island. In 2003, there were 18,168 tourist arrivals, almost 41% of whom came from the United States.

34 Famous Micronesians

John Haglelgam, a former senator in the congress, was elected president of the FSM from 1987 to 1991. In 2000, FSM’s first five-story building (and first building with an elevator) opened. It was named for Raymond Setik (d. 1997), a successful businessman and one of the first members of the legislature in 1979.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Ashby, Gene, ed. Some Things of Value: Micronesian Customs and Beliefs. Eugene, OR: Rainy Day Press, 1985.

Galbraith, Kate. Micronesia: Coconut Crabs and Divine Diving. Hawthorn, Vic.; London: Lonely Planet, 2000.

Hermes, Jules. The Children of Micronesia. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 1994.

Karolle, Bruce G. Atlas of Micronesia. 2d ed. Honolulu, HI: Bess Press, 1993.

Kluge, P. F. The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia. New York: Random House, 1991.

Wuerch, William L. Historical Dictionary of Guam and Micronesia. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1994.

WEB SITES

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/eap/ci/fm/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.fsmgov.org. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

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Micronesia

Micronesia

Compiled from the October 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-MICRONESIAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 702 sq. km (about 270 sq. mi.) in four major island groups (Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae).

Cities: Capital—Palikir. Other cities—Kolonia, Weno, Colonia, Lelu

Terrain: 607 mountainous islands and low-lying coral atolls.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Micronesian.

Population: 108,000.

Growth rate: 0.26%.

Ethnic groups: Nine ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups.

Religion: Roman Catholic 53%, Protestant 42.4%, Others 4.6%.

Language: English, and nine ethnic languages.

Education: Literacy—91%.

Health: Life expectancy—male 65.6 yrs.; female 66.9 yrs. Infant mortality rate—40.4/1,000.

Work force: More than one-half of workers are government employees.

Government

Type: Constitutional confederation in free association with the U.S. The first Compact of Free Association entered into force in 1986, and an Amended Compact entered into force June 30, 2004.

Independence: (from U.S.-administered UN trusteeship) November 3, 1986.

Constitution: May 10, 1979.

Government branches: Executive—President (chief of state and head of government), cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Congress with 14 seats. Judicial—Supreme Court.

Political parties: No formal parties.

Economy (FY 2004 Figures)

GDP: $218 million.

GDP per capita: (nominal) $2,018.

National income (GDP + foreign assistance): $360 million.

National income per capita: $3,100.

GDP composition by sector: services 77%, agriculture 19%, industry 4%.

Industry: Types—fishing, agriculture, tourism

Trade: Exports ($14 million)—fish, kava, betel nut. Export market—Japan (21%), US (25%), Others (53%), U.S. Imports ($133 million)—food, manufactured goods, fuel. Import sources—U.S. (50%), Japan (11%), Others (39%).

External debt: $60.81 million.

Currency: U.S. dollar.

GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of 607 islands extending 1,800 miles across the archipelago of the Caroline Islands east of the Philippines. The four states are the island groups of Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, and Kosrae. The federal capital is Palikir, on Pohnpei.

The indigenous population consists of various ethnolinguistic groups. English has become the common language. The birth rate remains high at more than 3%, but the population of the four states remains almost constant due to emigration.

HISTORY

The ancestors of the Micronesians settled the Caroline Islands over 4,000 years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire centered on Yap. European explorers—first the Portuguese in search of the Spice Islands and then the Spanish—reached the Carolines in the 16th century, with the Spanish establishing sovereignty. The current FSM passed to German control in 1899, and then to the Japanese in 1914 Following World War II, these islands became part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, administered by the United States.

On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia. The neighboring trust districts of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands chose not to participate. The FSM signed a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. in 1986. An Amended Compact entered into force in June 2004.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The FSM is governed under a 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has 14 members elected by popular vote. Four senators—one from each state—serve 4-year terms; the remaining 10 senators represent single-member districts based on population and serve 2-year terms. The President and Vice President are elected by Congress from among the four senators who serve in 4-year seats. Once elected, the President and Vice President serve for four years. Their congressional seats are then filled by special elections. An appointed cabinet supports the president and vice president. There are no formal political parties.

The FSM is a confederation with a weak central government. Each of FSM’s four states has its own constitution and its own elected legislature and governor. The state governments maintain considerable power, particularly regarding the implementation of budgetary policies.

The FSM’s highest court is the Supreme Court, which is divided into trial and appellate divisions. The President appoints judges with the advice and consent of the Congress.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 10/17/2006

President: Joseph J. URUSEMAL

Vice President: Redley KILLION

Sec. of Economic Affairs: Akillino K. SUSAIA

Sec. of Finance & Administration: John EHSA

Sec. of Foreign Affairs: Sebastian ANEFAL

Sec. of Health, Education, & Social Affairs: Eliuel K. PRETRICK

Sec. of Justice: Paul E. MCILRATH

Sec. of Transportation, Communication, & Infrastructure: Akillino K. SUSAIA

Ambassador to the US: Jesse MAREHALAU

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Masao NAKAYAMA

The FSM maintains an Embassy at 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel: 202-223-4383). It also maintains consulates in Honolulu and Guam.

ECONOMY

Under the terms of the Compact of Free Association, the U.S. provided the FSM with about $2 billion in grants and services between 1986 and 2001. The Compact’s financial terms were renegotiated for the 20-year period 2004 through 2023. The U.S. will provide almost $100 million in direct assistance every year until 2023, including contributions to a jointly managed Trust Fund. U.S. grants to the FSM in addition to these funds total approximately $35 million annually. Assistance under the Amended Compact will be distributed via grants to the following six sectors: education, health, infrastructure, public sector capacity building, private sector development, and the environment.

The FSM public sector plays a central role in the economy as the administrator of Compact funds. The national and state-level governments employ over half of the country’s workers, government services accounting for more than 40% of GDP. Real wages nationwide have been flat for the past decade, as has the number of jobs in the economy (about 15,500.) Private sector jobs pay about half as much as public sector jobs.

The fishing industry is highly important. Foreign commercial fishing fleets pay over $14 million annually for the right to operate in FSM territorial waters. These licensing fees account for 28% of the national government revenues. Exports of marine products, mainly to Japan, account for nearly 85% of export revenues.

Visitor attractions include SCUBA diving, World War II battle sites, and the ancient ruined city of Nan Madol on Pohnpei. Some 18,000 visit the islands each year. However, the tourist industry has been hampered by a lack of infrastructure and limited commercial air connections. The Asian Development Bank has identified tourism as one of FSM’s highest potential growth industries.

Agriculture is mainly subsistence farming. The principal crops are breadfruit, coconuts, bananas, betel nuts, cassava, taro, and kava. Less than 10% of the formal labor force and less than 7% of export revenue come from the agricultural sector.

The large inflow of official assistance to FSM allows it to run a substantial trade deficit—imports outstrip exports by a seven-to-one ratio—and to have a much lighter tax burden than other states in the region (11% of GDP in FSM compared to 18%-25% elsewhere). The government borrowed against future Compact disbursements in the early 1990s, yielding a significant external debt, close to $60 million. In 2005, the FSM Government and Congress took positive steps toward nationwide tax system to improve collections and more fairly distribute the tax burden.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia conducts its own foreign relations. Since independence, the FSM has established diplomatic relations with a number of

nations, including most of its Pacific neighbors, Japan, Australia, and the People’s Republic of China. Regional cooperation through various multilateral organizations is a key element in its foreign policy. The FSM became a member of the United Nations in 1991.

U.S.-MICRONESIAN RELATIONS

The Governments of the FSM and the U.S. entered into the first Compact of Free Association on November 3, 1986. An Amended Compact entered into force on June 30, 2004. Under the Compact, the U.S. has full authority and responsibility for the defense of the FSM. This security relationship can be changed or terminated by mutual agreement. The U.S. will provide about $100 million annually in assistance to the FSM over the next 20 years. A Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) consisting of representatives of both nations will ensure that assistance funds are spent effectively. The basic relationship of free association continues indefinitely.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

KOLONIA (E) Address: P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei FM 96941; APO/FPO: No APO/FPO available at post.; Phone: 691-320-2187; Fax: 691-320-2186; INMARSAT Tel: 011-872-383-132633; Workweek: Monday - Friday 8a.m. to 5 p.m.; Website: http://kolonia.usembassy.gov.

AMB:Suzanne Hale
AMB OMS:Patricia Limeri
DCM:Richard Pruett
POL:Richard Pruett
MGT:Michael Pace
APHIS:Embassy Canberra
CUS:Embassy Singapore
ECO:Richard Pruett
EEO:Michael Pace
EST:Richard Pruett
FAA:Barry Brayer
FMO:Robert Ripley
GSO:Scott Anderson
ICASS Chair:Phil Giles
IMO:Vacant
INS:Guam/Honolulu
IRS:Embassy Tokyo
RSO:William Lamb
State ICASS:Vacant

Last Updated: 11/28/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : January 23, 2007

Country Description: The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is composed of four states, named after their main islands, and dozens of atolls extending over a large area of the north central Pacific. The four states are: Pohnpei (formerly Ponape), Kosrae (formerly Kusaie), Chuuk (formerly Truk) and Yap. The federal capital is located at Palikir, on the island of Pohnpei, close to its largest city, Kolonia. The FSM is a constitutional democracy, and is party to a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens require a U.S. passport, a completed FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record (FSM Form 5004), and a completed FSM Customs Form to enter the FSM. The passport must be valid for at least 120 days beyond the date of entry into the FSM. The FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record and Customs Form are distributed by the air carrier prior to arrival at the point of entry. There is no limit to the length of time U.S. citizens and nationals may remain in the FSM. All states except Yap levy a departure fee. A health certificate may be required if the traveler is arriving from an infected area.

The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia does not issue U.S. passports; passport applications are accepted from persons living or traveling in the FSM and forwarded to the Honolulu Passport Agency in Hawaii for processing. The U.S. Passport Office in Guam does not issue U.S. passports, but it does accept passport applications and forwards them to Hawaii. For more information about FSM entry requirements, travelers may consult the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia at http://www.visit-fsm.org/visitors/entry.html, 1725 N Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20038, tel: (202) 223-4383 or go to http://www.visit-fsm.org/visitors/entry.html. The FSM also has Consulates in Honolulu and Guam.

Safety and Security: U.S. citizens in the FSM should review their own personal security practices, be alert to any unusual activity around their homes or businesses, and report any significant incidents to local police authorities.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: On occasion foreigners have been subject to, and possibly singled out for, theft and verbal and physical abuse. Modern Western swimwear may be considered immodest by local standards, and persons wearing such clothing outside of hotels that cater to tourists could be subject to harassment.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Health care facilities in the FSM consist of hospitals on each of the four major islands and a few scattered clinics. These facilities sometimes lack basic supplies and medicines, and the quality of health care varies. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific coverage for overseas treatment and medical evacuation may prove useful. Medical evacuation can be very expensive for non-ambulatory patients and may not be immediately available. Scuba divers are advised there are only three decompression chambers in the FSM (in Yap, Pohnpei, and Chuuk); their availability and staff experience in treating dive injuries varies.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Travelers may be required to pay in cash for medical services when received and seek insurance reimbursement later.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Micronesia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. In Micronesia, drivers drive on the right-hand side of the road, as in the United States. However, the majority of vehicles have the driver’s seat on the right side. Traffic, particularly in the state capitals, is increasing. Congestion is a problem particularly at the beginning and end of the work-day. Most roads are narrow and without sidewalks, creating a hazard for both drivers and pedestrians. Many roads are in poor condition, with potholes and little or no shoulder. Road conditions can worsen after heavy rains. Driving skills vary; drivers often make turns or stop to pick up pedestrians without warning. Roads outside the towns are often unpaved, and are used by pedestrians, playing children, animals, and drivers alike. Streetlights are rare. Taxis are available in state capitals, but visitors are advised to be careful, since some taxi drivers are reckless. There is no formal training in road safety; so many drivers are unaware of road safety rules. Drunk drivers can pose serious hazards, in particular on weekend evenings and holidays. Drivers are required by law to report all accidents involving property damage or personal injury immediately to local police authorities.

For specific information concerning Micronesian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact the Micronesian tourist organization offices via the Internet at http://www.visit-fsm.org/.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by FSM carriers, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the FSM’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s internet website at http://www.faa.gov. Continental Airlines is the only commercial carrier serving the FSM. Flight schedules and routes are limited and subject to change. There may be few alternatives if flights are canceled or missed. Flights are usually 100% booked, and aircraft weight is an issue due to short run-ways and the type of aircraft used. Because of this and the numerous stops (the typical routing to get to Kolonia would be via Honolulu with intermediate stops in Majuro, Kwajilen and Kosrae or via Guam with a stop in Chuuk), with exiting and arriving passengers at each location, baggage sometimes may not be loaded at the departure point or may be off-loaded and left behind at an intermediate stop enroute. Americans are advised to keep these logistical challenges in mind when traveling in this region. Missing baggage should be reported immediately to Continental Airlines ground personnel before onward flight departure.

Special Circumstances: Microne-sian customs authorities assess import taxes on cigarettes, tobacco, alcoholic beverages, gasoline, and other personal items that exceed specified amounts. All imports are subject to physical inspection by customs officials. There are strict quarantine regulations restricting entry of plant and animal products. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Micronesia in Washington or one of Micronesia’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Micronesian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Micronesia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Prison conditions in the FSM meet minimal international standards. Legal procedures provide for due process.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration and Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting the Federated States of Micronesia are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia or through the State Department’s travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Micronesia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia is located on Kaselehlie Street (the main downtown street) across from the Pohnpei Botanical Gardens. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia 96941. The telephone number is (691) 320-2187. The Duty Officer telephone number is (691) 920-2369. The fax number is (691) 320-2186. The U.S. Embassy’s website can be accessed at either http://kolonia.usembassy.gov/ or http://micronesia.usembassy.gov/.

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Micronesia

Micronesia

At a Glance

Official Name: Federated States of Micronesia

Continent: Oceania

Area: 271 square miles (702 sq km)

Population: 134,597

Capital City: Palikir

Largest City: Palikir (33,372)

Unit of Money: U.S. dollar

Major Language: English (official)

Literacy: 89%

Land Use: Not available

Natural Resources: Forests, marine products, deep-seabed minerals

Government: Republic

Defense: United States responsible for defense

The Place

The Federated States of Micronesia is made up of 607 islands north of the equator in the Caroline Island group in the North Pacific. The total land area is 271 square miles (702 sq km), however, the islands extend across 1 million square miles (2.5 million sq km) of ocean.

Micronesia has two types of islands—mountainous, volcanic islands and ring-shaped coral islands or atolls. The volcanic islands are fertile. These islands are covered by mangrove swamps along the shores and dense rain forests in the valleys. The atolls have infertile soil and little vegetation.

Micronesia has a tropical climate with an average temperature of 80 °F (27 °C). Rainfall depends on location. Yap receives 120 inches (302 cm) of rain a year while the mountains receive more than 300 inches (760 cm) of rain.

The People

More than 130,000 people live in Micronesia. Approximately 100 of the 607 islands are inhabited. The majority of the population are Carolinians, also called Micronesians. Some people have Polynesian ancestry.

The official language is English, but some people speak local languages. Life expectancy is 69 years.

About 75% of the population lives in rural areas and 25% in urban areas. Many people depend on food, clothes, and other goods imported from the United States. Many houses in urban areas are made of imported lumber, plywood, or concrete with metal roofs. Many rural families live in houses with thatched roofs and walls made from palm branches and wood. Most people make a living by fishing and farming.

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Micronesia

MICRONESIA

Compiled from the November 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.


Official Name:
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).


PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 702 sq. km (about 270 sq. mi.) in four major island groups (Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae) totaling 607 islands.

Cities: Capital—Palikir. Other cities—Kolonia, Moen, Lelu.

Terrain: Varies from mountainous to low coral atolls.

Climate: Tropical.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Micronesian.

Population: 107,000.

Growth rate: 2.0%.

Ethnic groups: Nine ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups.

Religion: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 47%.

Language: English (official and common), and all four states have their own ethnic language.

Education: Literacy—89%.

Health: Life expectancy—male 66.7 yrs.; female 70.6 yrs. Infant mortality rate—33.5/1,000.

Work force: More than one-half of workers are government employees.


Government

Type: Constitutional government in free association with the U.S.

Independence: (from U.S.-administered UN trusteeship) November 3, 1986.

Constitution: May 10, 1979.

Branches: Executive—president (chief of state and head of government), cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Congress with 14 seats. Judicial—Supreme Court.

Major political parties: No formal parties.


Economy

GDP: $224 million.

GDP per capita: (nominal) $1,977.

National income: (GDP + foreign assistance) $340 million.

National income percapita: $2,925.

GDP composition by sector: Services 77%, agriculture 19%, industry 4%.

Industry: Types—government, fishing.

Trade: Exports ($33 million)—fish, garments and buttons, betel nut. Export market—Japan (80%), U.S. Imports ($85 million)—food, manufactured goods, fuel. Import sources—U.S. (73%), Japan, Australia.

External debt: $111 million.

Currency: U.S. dollar.


GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of 607 islands extending 1,800 miles across the archipelago of the Caroline Islands east of the Philippines. The four constituent island groups are Yap, Chuuk (called Truk until January 1990), Pohnpei (called Ponape until November 1984), and Kosrae. The federal capital is Palikir, on Pohnpei.


The indigenous population, which is predominantly Micronesian, consists of various ethnolinguistic groups. English has become the common language. Population growth remains high at more than 3%, ameliorated somewhat by net emigration.




HISTORY

The ancestors of the Micronesians settled the Caroline Islands over 4,000 years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire centered on Yap. 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. The current FSM passed to German control in 1899, then to the Japanese in 1914, and finally to the U.S. under UN auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.


On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia. The neighboring trust districts of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands chose not to participate. The FSM signed a Compact of Free Association with the U.S., which entered into force on November 3, 1986, marking Micronesia's emergence from trusteeship to independence.




GOVERNMENT

The internal workings of FSM are governed by the 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has 14 members elected by popular vote. Four senators — one from each state — serve 4-year terms; the remaining 10 senators represent single-member districts based on population, and serve 2-year terms. The President and vice president are elected by Congress from among the four state-based senators to serve 4-year terms in the executive branch. Their congressional seats are then filled by special elections. An appointed cabinet supports the president and vice president. There are no formal political parties.


Each of FSM's four states has its own constitution, elected legislature, and governor. The state governments maintain considerable power, particularly regarding the implementation of budgetary policies.


The judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court, which is divided into trial and appellate divisions. The president appoints judges with the advice and consent of the Congress.

Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 7/15/03


President: Urusemal, Joseph J. "Joe"

Vice President: Killion, Redley

Sec. of Economic Affairs: Anefal, Sebastian

Sec. of Finance & Admin.: Ehsa, John

Sec. of Foreign Affairs: Iehsi, Ieske K.

Sec. of Health, Education, & Social Affairs: Pretrick, Eliuel K.

Sec. of Justice: McIlrath, Paul E.

Sec. of Transportation, Communication, & Infrastructure: Susaia, Akillino K.

Ambassador to the US: Marehalau, Jesse

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Nakayama, Masao



FSM maintains an embassy at 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel: 202-223-4383). It also maintains consulates in Honolulu and Guam.




ECONOMY

Under the terms of the Compact of Free Association, the U.S. provided FSM with around $2 billion in grants and services from 1986 to 2001. The Compact's financial terms were renegotiated for a 20-year period through 2023. In 2002 the U.S. provided more than $100 million in Compact grants — an amount equivalent to over one-third of FSM's GDP — plus more than $20 million through other federal programs.


The FSM public sector plays a central role in the economy as the administrator of the Compact funds. The national and state-level governments employ over one-half of the country's workers and provide services accounting for more than 40%of GDP. Beginning in 2004, assistance under the amended Compact will be distributed via grants to the following six sectors: education, health, infrastructure, public sector capacity building, private sector development, and the environment.


The fishing industry is highly important. Foreign commercial fishing fleets pay over $20 million annually for the right to operate in FSM territorial waters. These licensing fees account for nearly 30% of domestic budgetary revenue. Additionally, exports of marine products, mainly re-exports of fish to Japan, account for nearly 85% of export revenue.

Visitor attractions include SCUBA diving in each state, World War II battle sites, and the ancient ruined city of Nan Madol on Pohnpei. Some 15,000 tourists visit the islands each year. However, the tourist industry has been hampered by a lack of infrastructure and limited commercial air connections. The Asian Development Bank has identified tourism as one of FSM's highest potential growth industries.


Farming is mainly subsistence, and its importance is declining. The principal crops are coconuts, bananas, betel nuts, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Less than 10% of the formal labor force and less than 7% of export revenue come from the agriculture sector. Manufacturing activity is modest, consisting mainly of two garment factories in Yap.


The large inflow of official assistance to FSM allows it to run a substantial trade deficit and to have a much lighter tax burden than other states in the region (11% of GDP in FSM compared to 18%-25% elsewhere). The government borrowed against future Compact disbursements in the early 1990s, yielding a significant external debt.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia conducts its own foreign relations. Since independence, the FSM has established diplomatic relations with a number of nations, including most of its Pacific neighbors. Regional cooperation through various multilateral organizations is a key element in its foreign policy. The FSM became a member of the United Nations in 1991.


The Governments of the FSM and the U.S. signed the final version of the Compact of Free Association on
October 1, 1982. The Compact went into effect on November 3, 1986, and the FSM became a sovereign nation in free association with the United States. Under the Compact, the U.S. has full authority and responsibility for the defense of the FSM. This security relationship can be changed or terminated by mutual agreement. The Compact provides U.S. grant funds and federal program assistance to the FSM. Amended financial assistance provisions came on-line in FY 2004. The basic relationship of free association continues indefinitely.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Kolonia (E), P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia 96941, Tel [691] 320-2187, Fax 320-2186; Email: [email protected]

AMB: Larry Miles Dinger
OMS: Vienna Baganz
DCM/POL/ECO: Thomas J. Hushek
MGT: [Vacant]
RSO: Kim Starke (res. Manila)
FAA: Barry Brayer (res. Los Angeles, CA)
CUS: Mathew King (res. Singapore)
IRS: Stanley Beesley (res. Tokyo)
DEA: Jeffery Silk (res. Guam)

Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003


TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet
January 28, 2004

Country Description: The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is composed of four states, named after their main islands, and dozens of atolls extending over a large area of the north central Pacific. The four states are: Pohnpei (formerly Ponape), Kosrae (formerly Kusaie), Chuuk (formerly Truk) and Yap. The federal capital is located at Palikir, on the island of Pohnpei and close to its largest city, Kolonia. The FSM is a constitutional democracy, and is party to a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Entry Requirements: Proof of citizenship, sufficient funds, onward/return ticket, and presentation of a completed "FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record" form are required to enter the FSM. The FSM accepts one of the following as proof of citizenship: a U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, or a FSM entry permit. The proof of citizenship document must be valid for at least 120 days beyond the date of entry into the FSM. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia advises U.S. citizens to enter and depart the FSM on a valid U.S. passport. The "FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record" can be obtained from your air carrier prior to arrival at the point of entry.


For visits of more than 30 days or for types of travel other than tourism, an entry permit is required. A U.S. citizen visiting as a tourist may stay for up to one year from the initial entry, subject to renewal of his or her entry permit. Entry permit forms may be obtained from www.visit-fsm.org/visitors/permit.pdf. Entry Permit renewals are valid for 30 days at a time, and extensions must be sought after arrival in Micronesia. All states except Yap levy a departure fee. A health certificate may be required if the traveler is arriving from an infected area.


The U.S. Embassy does not issue passports; passports for persons living or traveling in the FSM are issued by the Honolulu Passport Agency. For more information about FSM entry requirements, travelers may consult the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia, 1725 N Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20038, tel: (202) 223-4383 or go to their website, www.visit-fsm.org/visitors/entry.html. The FSM also has Consulates in Honolulu and Guam.


In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


Safety and Security: The threat assessment for the FSM is low for terrorism. U.S. citizens in the FSM should review their own personal security practices, be alert to any unusual activity around their homes or businesses, and report any significant incidents to local police authorities.

Crime: The overall crime rate in the FSM is low, but on occasion foreigners have been subject to, and possibly singled out for, theft and verbal and physical abuse. Modern Western swimwear may be considered immodest by local standards, and persons wearing such clothing outside of hotels that cater to tourists could be subject to harassment.


The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, from the Internet at www.gpoaccess.gov or at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: Health care facilities in the FSM consist of hospitals on each of the four major islands and a few scattered clinics. These facilities sometimes lack basic supplies and medicines, and the quality of health care varies. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific coverage for overseas treatment and medical evacuation may prove useful. Medical evacuation can be very expensive for non-ambulatory patients. Scuba divers are advised there are only two functioning decompression chambers in the FSM: one in Yap and one in Chuuk.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

Visitors to the FSM, including scuba divers, are strongly urged to purchase medical evacuation insurance.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.


Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, can be found at http://travel.state.gov.


Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at www.cdc.gov. For more information on health related issues see the World Health Organization's website at www.who.int/.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Micronesia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:


Safety of Public Transportation: None
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: None


In Micronesia, drivers drive on the right-hand side of the road, as in the United States. However, many of the vehicles have the driver's seat on the right side. Traffic, particularly in the state capitals, is increasing. Congestion is a problem particularly during the beginning and end of the workday. Most roads are narrow and without sidewalks, creating a hazard for both drivers and pedestrians. Many roads are in poor condition, with potholes and little or no shoulder. Road conditions can worsen after heavy rains. Driving skills vary; drivers often make turns or stop to pick up pedestrians without warning. Roads outside the towns are often unpaved, and are used by pedestrians, playing children, animals and drivers alike. Streetlights are rare. Taxis are available in state capitals, but visitors are advised to be careful, since some taxi drivers are reckless. There is no formal training in road safety; so many drivers are unaware of road safety rules. Drunk drivers can pose serious hazards, in particular on weekend evenings.


For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, consult http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Micronesian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Micronesia National Tourist Organization offices via the Internet at www.visit-fsm.org/.

Aviation Safety Oversight: Flight schedules and routes are subject to change and there may be little flexibility or alternatives if flights are canceled or missed. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Micronesia Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards. Currently the only commercial air service to the U.S. is on Continental Micronesia airline. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA website, www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.


The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.


Customs Regulations: Micronesian customs authorities assess import taxes on cigarettes, tobacco, alcoholic beverages, gasoline, and other items that exceed specified amounts. All imports are subject to physical inspection by customs officials. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Micronesia in Washington or one of Micronesia's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Micronesian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Micronesia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Prison conditions in the FSM meet minimal international standards. Legal procedures provide for due process.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.


Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living in or visiting the Federated States of Micronesia are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia and obtain updated informationon travel and security within Micronesia. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia is located on Kasalehlie Street (the main downtown street). The mailing address is P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia 96941. The telephone number is (691) 320-2187. The fax number is (691) 320-2186. The embassy website is http://www.fm/USEmbassy/.

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Micronesia

Micronesia

POPULATION 135,869
CHRISTIAN 98.5 percent
OTHER 1.5 percent

Country Overview

INTRODUCTION

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), a sovereign, self-governing nation, consists of 607 islands in the central Pacific Ocean. Its four "states" are associated with four major island groups: Yap, Chuuk (called Truk until 1990), Pohnpei (called Ponape until 1984), and Kosrae (called Kusaie until the early 1980s). Once called the Carolines, the islands began to be known as part of the larger Micronesian chain of islands in the 1830s.

The population of more than 135,000, consisting of various Micronesian and Polynesian ethnolinguistic groups, is overwhelmingly Christian. Almost all Kosrae residents are United Church of Christ, and on Chuuk and Pohnpei about half are Protestant and half are Catholic. Historically there have been many more Catholics than Protestants on Yap, but the Protestant contingent is growing. Although English is the official and common language on the islands, church services are generally conducted in the local ethnic dialects.

Starting in the late 1800s the islands have been ruled by a succession of foreign powers—Spain, Germany, Japan, and the United States. Germany emphasized commerce, and a German evangelical church, the Liebenzell Mission, gained a small but significant foothold in Yap and Chuuk. Since the FSM and the United States formed the Compact of Free Association (which took effect in 1986), the islands have also proved to be fertile missionary soil for American evangelical Christian churches, including the United Church of Christ, the Assemblies of God, independent Baptists, and the United Pentecostal Church. The Nukuno Protestant Church in Chuuk is representative of a few emerging evangelical churches that have broken ties with historic mainline churches. Most immigrants are Filipino Catholics. The Iglesia Ni Christo churches are present on every FSM island having a sizable Filipino population.

A tiny remnant of Asian religious influences can be traced in part to the Japanese buildup of military bases in Chuuk, Yap, and Pohnpei leading up to World War II. Small groups of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Seventh-day Adventists practice in the FSM, especially in Pohnpei and Chuuk. Also found in the FSM are followers of the Bahai faith, Buddhists, Shintoists, and Confucianists.

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE

The FSM constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the bill of rights forbids establishment of a state religion. The government generally promotes a climate of religious tolerance, and foreign missionaries operate without hindrance on all four islands. The essentially amicable relationship among religions in the FSM contributes to religious freedom.

Major Religion

CHRISTIANITY

DATE OF ORIGIN 1852 c.e.
NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS 133,800

HISTORY

Some Micronesian islands were apparently sighted by European explorers in the 1500s, although the islands were peopled by immigrants from East Asia at least as early as 200 c.e. Medieval Pohnpei was ruled by the Saudeleurs (c. 1100–1600?), a tyrannical royal dynasty that reigned over Nan Madol, an elaborate city of stone fortresses. By 1400 Kosrae, the most stratified society in Micronesia, was unified under one toskosra (paramount chief).

No serious efforts were made to evangelize Micronesians until the nineteenth century, although Spanish Jesuits temporarily set up a colony in Yap in 1731. Benjamin Snow and Albert Sturges (Congregationalist missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions [ABCFM])—accompanied by Hawaiian "assistants"—established churches in Kosrae and Pohnpei in 1852. Beginning in the 1870s islander missionaries from Pohnpei working under the ABCFM built churches and schools in Chuuk. Capuchin missionaries, buttressed by Spanish military force, founded Catholic missions in Pohnpei and Yap in the 1880s. In Pohnpei they met resistance from the American missionaries and in collusion with the Spanish government ejected the latter, although local leaders kept the Protestant mission alive.

After Spain sold what would become known as the FSM to Germany in 1899, German Capuchins replaced their Spanish predecessors. In 1906 the German Protestant Liebenzell missionaries began work in Pohnpei and Chuuk. After taking control of the islands following World War I, Japan expelled all German missionaries (although the Liebenzellers later returned) but initially supported Congregational Christians from Japan and Jesuits and Mercedarian Sisters from Spain with government grants.

After World War II the ABCFM came back with renewed commitment, the German mission became more American, and the Vatican transferred Spanish Jesuit responsibilities to the American Jesuits. Assisted by Maryknoll Sisters, Jesuits developed impressive programs in education, welfare, and social advocacy, opening the first four-year high school in Micronesia and establishing a research institute, the Micronesian Seminar, in Chuuk.

Most Protestant denominations, as well as Roman Catholic fellowships, are present on the four major islands. The historic mainline churches—those churches founded by the major missionary movements of the established denominations in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and North America—represent the majority of Protestant adherents in the FSM. Most Kosrae residents are United Church of Christ, and on Chuuk and Pohnpei about half are Protestant and half are Catholic. Historically there have been many more Catholics than Protestants on Yap, although the Protestant contingent is growing. Among Protestants in the FSM, the second largest group is the Assemblies of God. Most immigrants are Filipino Catholics, who join local Catholic churches. The Iglesia Ni Christo churches are present on every FSM island having a sizable Filipino population. Small groups of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Seventh-day Adventists practice in the FSM, especially in Pohnpei and Chuuk.

EARLY AND MODERN LEADERS

While Albert Sturges and Benjamin Snow were the early twin pillars of American Protestant work in Pohnpei and Kosrae, Elizabeth and Jane Baldwin—Presbyterians from the United States—were two of the most celebrated missionaries in the history of Christianity in Oceania. They were active during the late nineteenth century. For 40 years the multilingual Baldwin sisters lived simply, developed the training schools in Kosrae and Chuuk, and gently democratized Kosrae's hierarchical social system by stressing the priesthood of all believers. Elizabeth Baldwin was assisted in translating the entire Bible into Kosraean by an indigenous islander known by the name of Kefwas. Moses Teikoroi, a Sturges protégé, was a pioneer missionary in the Chuuk lagoon.

Henry Nanpei (1860–1928), a Pohnpeian, became Protestantism's leader during the rapid changes under the successive colonial regimes of Spain, Germany, and Japan. Although most Catholic priests have been expatriates, in 1940 Father Paulino Cantero from Pohnpei became the first indigenous Micronesian priest to be ordained.

MAJOR THEOLOGIANS AND AUTHORS

Indigenous theologians and authors of religious practice have not yet emerged from the tiny, remote, and largely oral cultural contexts of the FSM. Following Vatican II the first meeting of the Vicariate Pastoral Planning Council in Micronesia (1971) focused on promoting the self-realization of islanders. Francis Hezel, Jesuit director of the Micronesian Seminar, has spearheaded liberating theological reflection on enculturation and indigenization in the region, including leadership training, financial responsibility, and the incorporation of cultural symbols in worship.

HOUSES OF WORSHIP AND HOLY PLACES

FSM churches, the focus for kinship groups and social life, are invariably the largest buildings and are located near the center of each village or group of villages. Whereas in the nineteenth century churches had been constructed out of indigenous materials and according to indigenous styles, during the last century islanders substituted stone and concrete for thatch and matting. FSM islanders still retain architectural styles introduced by the early foreign missionaries, such as small windows and boxlike construction, even though such styles are ill suited for a tropical climate. Traditional ceremonial buildings, called nahs in Pohnpei and pebai in Yap, still function as community meetinghouses where transcendent power is evoked in prayers and oral traditions.

WHAT IS SACRED?

The anthropologist William Lessa described Micronesian religion as "a mélange of many elements." Although basic aspects of missionary Christianity were accepted in the FSM, islander Christians still revere ancestors and the spirits of ancestors. In Chuuk, prior to the last half of the twentieth century, offerings to ancestor spirits were placed in model canoes suspended from the roof in men's houses. The spirits of certain animals—such as sharks, eels, and lizards—were sacred to the clan of which they were the totem. Heavenly spirits such as the Yapese Yalafath (a trickster god) and nature spirits associated with certain trees and plants were also sacred. Tapuanu masks were worn for ceremonial purposes. Only traces of these cultural forms remain.

Part of the Nan Madol ruins, Madol Powe, was an ancient religious center; many Pohnpeians believe it is still a tabu (forbidden) area. Today some Catholic liturgies include such traditional sacred symbols as the bestowal of the mwaramwar (head garland) at baptismal rites.

HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

Christians in Micronesia celebrate Good Friday, Easter, and Christmas in addition to Cultural Day, Constitution Day, United Nations Day, FSM Independence Day, and separate state holidays, such as Kosrae Liberation Day, commemorating the American defeat of the Japanese. These holidays feature singing, dancing, feasting, and sports competitions, such as canoe racing. Festivals are also held to raise money for churches. The completion of a major village project, such as a community house, is also a time for ritual festivity in Yap.

MODE OF DRESS

While most Christians dress in Western clothes in Kosrae, many men and boys in the outer islands of Yap and Chuuk wear a brightly colored loincloth called a thu. Although the thu is not common in formal worship services, it is acceptable at informal religious gatherings. Similarly the traditional lavalava, or grass skirt, worn by Yapese women is not usually worn to Sunday services but will be featured at special religious occasions.

In Kosrae women wear white dresses and hats to worship. In Chuuk a few women can still be seen wearing a nikautang (a dress with puffed sleeves) to religious functions. Dancers at secular festivals will wear beaded necklaces and colorful ceremonial clothing that may evoke ancient religious meanings for participants.

DIETARY PRACTICES

Local geography rather than distinct religious conventions dictates Micronesian Christian dietary practice, although feasting is an important part of any major religious celebration. At weddings and funerals relatives will contribute large amounts of local foodstuffs, especially rice and fish. Remnants of traditional agricultural festivals are still present in the offerings of first fruits in harvest worship services. Micronesian Christians are not vegetarians, but they are partial to breadfruit and yams. The Yapese eat taro for the most part.

RITUALS

Before the missionaries arrived Micronesians performed a great variety of rituals, including breadfruit harvests in Chuuk, where trees were sanctified by herbs; rites of benediction in Yap, which preceded the felling of trees; and numerous sakau ceremonies prior to fishing journeys, warfare, or threats of typhoons. Sakau rituals were governed by strict rules, and the highest chief was served first. Women in Yap were secluded in huts during menstruation and childbirth. The Yapese mitmit was an all-out traditional feast accompanied by gift giving, singing, and dancing. One village would give a mitmit to another to reciprocate for one given to it in a previous year.

Church members arrive early for Sunday morning worship, and most of the day on Sunday is still devoted to services in Kosrae, Yap, and outer FSM islands. Men and women sit in different sections, and the choir is front and center. Occasionally island food and drink are substituted for the bread and wine in a Communion service. Nineteenth-century Western music (especially gospel hymns from America) makes up the bulk of congregational singing. Virtually all Protestant and Catholic pastors are local and preach in the indigenous language of their congregation. Typical services also include prayers, psalm readings, additional Scripture readings, announcements, and greetings to visitors. Weekday morning and evening prayers are still observed in many homes.

RITES OF PASSAGE

Like Micronesians in general, islander Christians mark transitions between five stages in a person's life span: babyhood, childhood, young adulthood, middle age, and old age. Traditionally many taboos were associated with these and other rites of passage. For example, in the early 1900s, the family of a deceased person in Yap was separated from the community and prohibited from eating certain kinds of food. High priests in Pohnpei and Kosrae officiated at rites that entailed petitioning deceased family members for protection from spirits, especially during times of transition. Today in Yap, funeral services are still highly ritualized. When someone dies relatives and friends set up a formalized wail, singing songs of lamentation. The corpse is washed, decorated with flower garlands, and presented with gifts for the journey to Lang (the other world). Dirges are sung at the grave for three days, and on the fourth day a tomb is erected over the grave. Then the whole village observes a 10-day period of respect; those who washed the corpse observe a longer period. When close relatives have ended a five-month period of mourning, a rite called pay stone is held, in which those who assisted in the funeral are rewarded.

The practice of four-day funerals (as observed in certain parts of Micronesia, including Pohnpei) stems from the traditional belief that the soul of the dead did not depart the body for the heavens until the fourth day. Until that point it was necessary to appease the soul so it would not bring any misfortune to the family. Once the soul departed for the heavens, it served as the family's protector spirit.

MEMBERSHIP

In Kosrae, until recently, to be a Kosraean was synonymous with being a Congregationalist. In the 1980s Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Seventh-day Adventists stepped up evangelization campaigns especially in Yap and Chuuk. Since each of the four state governments controls a radio station broadcasting primarily in the local language and only one religious group operates a private radio station, there is scant room for recruitment by radio. Television and the Internet also have not yet become a major factor in recruitment of church members. On Pohnpei clan divisions still affect religious conversion, with more Protestants living on the western side of the island, while more Catholics live on the eastern side.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

Many Micronesians suspect that human rights language masks a neocolonial agenda. For example, although traditionally women were not the equals of men, they were protected, were honored, and exercised power over land selection. Christian missionaries, however, promoted gender equality in ways that may have contributed to the breakdown of the all-important extended family unit. For instance, by insisting that women receive equal pay for equal work and sanctioning women's work outside the home, Christian teaching undercut the authority of the lineage chief. The resulting increased parent-child tensions may well have contributed to child neglect, spousal abuse, and a high suicide rate, especially in Chuuk.

The church has also led the way in creating new opportunities for women. By attacking the traditional practice of confining women to separate menstrual houses, the church enabled women to join the rest of the community for prayers and other activities. Today the church advocates educating parents to affirm children, reduce sibling rivalry, and ameliorate domestic violence.

SOCIAL ASPECTS

Traditionally social structures, such as the extended family unit, were viewed as divinely ordained. Missionary teachings, especially regarding the extended family in the Bible, were generally understood as reinforcing already existing family and kinship networks. The matrilineal system, however, had begun to break down prior to missionary contact, so that while Micronesian faith was challenged by the missionary ethic of individual rights, it already had a strong individualistic component while also paying due regard to the more traditional island emphasis on communal responsibility.

The churches recognize traditional arranged marriages, and old formalities usually supplement the church wedding. Some pastors and priests continue to honor the parent's wishes in regard to marriage and refuse to marry couples whose parents are opposed. Church leaders also recognize the social role of funerals as outlets for reinforcing the customary family circle meeting.

POLITICAL IMPACT

The missionaries, in collusion with colonial civil authorities, often furthered cultural imperialism by censoring native dances and weakening chiefly prestige. But missionaries also eliminated certain objectionable practices, such as abortion, infanticide, and the mispil, where a woman captured from a neighboring village was used as a mistress for men's houses. Under missionary influence values associated with social status, transgression, and reconciliation were redefined in the life of the community, creating a homogeneous social order.

CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES

Given a lack of economic development and an absence of an infrastructure to attract investment, Christians in Micronesia face a number of serious social issues, including food shortages, youth unemployment, black market alcohol, and pollution. In Chuuk sewage runs into the lagoon, and the streets are littered with trash. There, as well as in Kosrae and Pohnpei, the Congregational Christian Church has conducted workshops and extension education programs aimed at developing constructive responses to some of these issues, including an ecology campaign that entails picking up litter. Ongoing disputes concerning land ownership and land-use rights further complicate linguistic and ethnographic differences. As elsewhere in the region, Micronesia faces threats associated with sexual promiscuity, especially HIV and AIDS. The Catholic Church, through the Micronesian Seminar (originally in Chuuk but now in Pohnpei), has sponsored research on issues such as child abuse, economic injustice, and suicide. In general, however, Micronesia's Christian churches have been reluctant to address controversial issues.

CULTURAL IMPACT

Christianity brought a number of foreign cultural influences to Micronesia, including the introduction of literacy in indigenous languages; Western hymns, clothing, and architectural styles; European conflicts between Catholics and Protestants; democratic approaches to problem solving; and abstention from work and trading on Sundays. FSM islanders are now reassessing some of their traditions in the light of their search for cultural identity. In particular, there has been renewed interest in incorporating traditional religious songs composed by Micronesians.

Other Religions

While Christianity (including new religious movements that are essentially Christian in origin) is the overwhelmingly predominant religion in the FSM, there are traces of other faith traditions. A few Buddhists and adherents of Chinese religious traditions (including Confucianism) are concentrated in Yap and Chuuk, with small groups in Kosrae. As a result of the Japanese occupation during World War II, there are a handful of believers in Shinto, an indigenous religious practice of Japanese origin once associated with emperor worship. The Japanese did not actively proselytize in Micronesia.

A few hundred Bahai adherents live in Chuuk and Pohnpei. During the 1997 International Women's Day Observance in Chuuk, Bahai believers drew more than 300 indigenous women from surrounding lagoons to workshops designed to promote the advancement of women. Like their Christian counterparts, Bahai adherents have had an impact on social justice in the FSM. For example, the Bahai faith credits one of their followers, a U.S. government official serving in the FSM, with pioneering legislation on domestic violence, hate crimes, rape, child care, and health research.

Jack A. Hill

See Also Vol. 1: Christianity, Reformed Christianity, Roman Catholicism

Bibliography

Forman, Charles W. The Island Churches of the South Pacific: Emergence in the Twentieth Century. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1982.

Hanlon, David. Remaking Micronesia. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1998.

——. Upon a Stone Altar: A History of the Island of Pohnpei to 1890. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1988.

Haynes, Douglas, and William L. Wuerch. Micronesian Religion and Lore: A Guide to the Sources, 1526–1990. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995.

Hezel, Francis X. The Catholic Church in Micronesia. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1991.

——. The First Taint of Civilization. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1983.

Lessa, William A. Ulithi: A Micronesian Design for Living. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966.

Trumbull, Robert. Paradise in Trust: A Report on Americans in Micronesia. New York: William Sloane, 1959.

Wuerch, William L., and Dirk Anthony Ballendorf. Historical Dictionary of Guam and Micronesia. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994.

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Micronesia

MICRONESIA

Compiled from the October 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 702 sq. km (about 270 sq. mi.) in four major island groups/states (Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae).

Cities: Capital—Palikir. Other cities—Kolonia, Moen, Lelu.

Terrain: 607 mountainous islands and low-lying coral atolls.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Micronesian.

Population: 107,000.

Growth rate: 2.0%.

Ethnic groups: Nine ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups.

Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 47%.

Language: English (official and common), and all four states have their own ethnic language.

Education: Literacy—89%.

Health: Life expectancy—male 66.7 yrs.; female 70.6 yrs. Infant mortality rate—33.5/1,000.

Work force: More than one-half of workers are government employees.

Government

Type: Constitutional confederation in free association with the U.S. The first Compact of Free Association entered into force in 1986, and an Amended Compact entered into force May 1, 2004.

Independence: (from U.S.-administered UN trusteeship) November 3, 1986.

Constitution: May 10, 1979.

Branches: Executive—president (chief of state and head of government), cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Congress with 14 seats. Judicial—Supreme Court.

Political parties: No formal parties.

Economy

GDP: $224 million.

GDP per capita: (nominal) $1,977.

National income: (GDP + foreign assistance) $340 million.

National income per capita: $2,925.

GDP composition by sector: Services 77%, agriculture 19%, industry 4%.

Industry: Types—government, fishing.

Trade: Exports ($33 million)—fish, garments and buttons, betel nut. Export market—Japan (80%), U.S. Imports ($85 million)—food, manufactured goods, fuel. Import sources—U.S. (73%), Japan, Australia.

External debt: $111 million.

Currency: U.S. dollar.


GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of 607 islands extending 1,800 miles across the archipelago of the Caroline Islands east of the Philippines. The four states are the island groups of Yap, Chuuk (called Truk until January 1990), Pohnpei (called Ponape until November 1984), and Kosrae. The federal capital is Palikir, on Pohnpei.

The indigenous population, which is predominantly Micronesian, consists of various ethnolinguistic groups. English has become the common language. Population growth remains high at more than 3%, ameliorated somewhat by net emigration.


HISTORY

The ancestors of the Micronesians settled the Caroline Islands over 4,000 years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire centered on Yap. 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. The current FSM passed to German control in 1899, then to the Japanese in 1914, and finally to the U.S. under UN auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia. The neighboring trust districts of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands chose not to participate. The FSM became independent and signed a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. in 1986.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The internal workings of FSM are governed by the 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has 14 members elected by popular vote. Four senators—one from each state—serve 4-year terms; the remaining 10 senators represent single-member districts based on population, and serve 2-year terms. The President and vice president are elected by Congress from among the four state-based senators to serve 4-year terms in the executive branch. Their congressional seats are then filled by special elections. An appointed cabinet supports the president and vice president. There are no formal political parties.

Each of FSM's four states has its own constitution, elected legislature, and governor. The state governments maintain considerable power, particularly regarding the implementation of budgetary policies.

The judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court, which is divided into trial and appellate divisions. The president appoints judges with the advice and consent of the Congress.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 7/15/03

President: Urusemal , Joseph J. "Joe"
Vice President: Killion , Redley
Sec. of Economic Affairs: Anefal , Sebastian
Sec. of Finance & Admin.: Ehsa , John
Sec. of Foreign Affairs: Iehsi , Ieske K.
Sec. of Health, Education, & Social Affairs: Pretrick , Eliuel K.
Sec. of Justice: McIlrath , Paul E.
Sec. of Transportation, Communication, & Infrastructure: Susaia , Akillino K.
Ambassador to the US: Marehalau , Jesse
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Nakayama , Masao

FSM maintains an embassy at 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel: 202-223-4383). It also maintains consulates in Honolulu and Guam.


ECONOMY

Under the terms of the Compact of Free Association, the U.S. provided FSM with around $2 billion in grants and services from 1986 to 2001. The Compact's financial terms were renegotiated for a 20-year period through 2023. In 2002 the U.S. provided more than $100 million in Compact grants—an amount equivalent to over one-third of FSM's GDP—plus more than $20 million through other federal programs.

The FSM public sector plays a central role in the economy as the administrator of the Compact funds. The national and state-level governments employ over one-half of the country's workers and provide services accounting for more than 40% of GDP. Beginning in 2004, assistance under the amended Compact will be distributed via grants to the following six sectors: education, health, infrastructure, public sector capacity building, private sector development, and the environment.

The fishing industry is highly important. Foreign commercial fishing fleets pay over $20 million annually for the right to operate in FSM territorial waters. These licensing fees account for nearly 30% of domestic budgetary revenue. Additionally, exports of marine products, mainly re-exports of fish to Japan, account for nearly 85% of export revenue.

Visitor attractions include SCUBA diving in each state, World War II battle sites, and the ancient ruined city of Nan Madol on Pohnpei. Some 15,000 tourists visit the islands each year. However, the tourist industry has been hampered by a lack of infrastructure and limited commercial air connections. The Asian Development Bank has identified tourism as one of FSM's highest potential growth industries.

Farming is mainly subsistence, and its importance is declining. The principal crops are coconuts, bananas, betel nuts, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Less than 10% of the formal labor force and less than 7% of export revenue come from the agriculture sector. Manufacturing activity is modest, consisting mainly of two garment factories in Yap.

The large inflow of official assistance to FSM allows it to run a substantial trade deficit and to have a much lighter tax burden than other states in the region (11% of GDP in FSM compared to 18%-25% elsewhere). The government borrowed against future Compact disbursements in the early 1990s, yielding a significant external debt.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia conducts its own foreign relations. Since independence, the FSM has established diplomatic relations with a number of nations, including most of its Pacific neighbors. Regional cooperation through various multilateral organizations is a key element in its foreign policy. The FSM became a member of the United Nations in 1991.


U.S.-MICRONESIAN RELATIONS

The Governments of the FSM and the U.S. entered into the first Compact of Free Association on November 3, 1986. An Amended Compact entered into force on May 1, 2004. Under the Compact, the U.S. has full authority and responsibility for the defense of the FSM. This security relationship can be changed or terminated by mutual agreement. The U.S. will provide $92 million in assistance to the FSM over the next 20 years. A Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) consisting of representatives of both nations will ensure that the funds are spent effectively. The basic relationship of free association continues indefinitely.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

KOLONIA (E) Address: Kolonia (E), P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei; APO/FPO: No APO/FPO available at post.; Phone: 691-320-2187; Fax: 691-320-2186; INMARSAT Tel: 011-872-383-132633; Workweek: Monday - Friday 8a.m. to 5 p.m.; Website: www.fm/usembassy

AMB:Suzanne Hale
AMB OMS:Doris McCourt
DCM:Steve Druzak
PO/CON:Steve Druzak
POL:Steve Druzak
MGT:Randy McCourt
APHIS:Embassy Canberra
CUS:Embassy Singapore
ECO:Steve Druzak
EEO:Randy McCourt
EST:Steve Druzak
FAA:Barry Brayer
FIN:Marialice Eperiam
FMO:Robert Ripley
GSO:Scott Anderson
ICASS Chair:Phil Giles
IMO:Bill Yarian
INS:Guam/Honolulu
IRS:Embassy Tokyo
ISSO:Doris McCourt
RSO:William Lamb State
ICASS:Marialice Eperiam
Last Updated: 10/5/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 15, 2004

Country Description: The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is composed of four states, named after their main islands, and dozens of atolls extending over a large area of the north central Pacific. The four states are: Pohnpei (formerly Ponape), Kosrae (formerly Kusaie), Chuuk (formerly Truk) and Yap. The federal capital is located at Palikir, on the island of Pohnpei, close to its largest city, Kolonia. The FSM is a constitutional democracy, and is party to a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Entry/Exit Requirements: U.S. citizens require proof of citizenship and presentation of a completed "FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record" to enter the FSM. The FSM accepts one of the following as proof of citizenship: a U.S. passport or a U.S. birth certificate. The passport must be valid for at least 120 days beyond the date of entry into the FSM. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia advises U.S. citizens to enter and depart the FSM on a valid U.S. passport. The "FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record" can be obtained from your air carrier prior to arrival at the point of entry. There is no limit to the length of time U.S. citizens and nationals may remain in the FSM. All states except Yap levy a departure fee. A health certificate may be required if the traveler is arriving from an infected area.

The U.S. Embassy does not issue passports; passports for persons living or traveling in the FSM are issued by the Honolulu Passport Agency. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on the Federated States of Micronesia and other countries. For more information about FSM entry requirements, travelers may consult the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia, 1725 N Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20038, tel: (202) 223-4383 or go to http://www.visit-fsm.org/visitors/entry.html. The FSM also has Consulates in Honolulu and Guam.

Safety and Security: The threat assessment for the FSM is medium for transnational terrorism. U.S. citizens in the FSM should review their own personal security practices, be alert to any unusual activity around their homes or businesses, and report any significant incidents to local police authorities.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: The overall crime rate in the FSM is medium. On occasion foreigners have been subject to, and possibly singled out for, theft and verbal and physical abuse. Modern Western swimwear may be considered immodest by local standards, and persons wearing such clothing outside of hotels that cater to tourists could be subject to harassment.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed. See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/brochure_victim_assistance.html.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Health care facilities in the FSM consist of hospitals on each of the four major islands and a few scattered clinics. These facilities sometimes lack basic supplies and medicines, and the quality of health care varies. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific coverage for overseas treatment and medical evacuation may prove useful. Medical evacuation can be very expensive for non-ambulatory patients. Scuba divers are advised there are only three decompression chambers in the FSM (in Yap, Pohnpei, and Chuuk), their availability varies, and there is very little experience in treating dive injuries.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Visitors to the FSM, especially scuba divers, are strongly urged to purchase medical evacuation insurance.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Micronesia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

In Micronesia, drivers drive on the right-hand side of the road, as in the United States. However, the majority of vehicles have the driver's seat on the right side. Traffic, particularly in the state capitals, is increasing. Congestion is a problem particularly during the beginning and end of the workday. Most roads are narrow and without sidewalks, creating a hazard for both drivers and pedestrians. Many roads are in poor condition, with potholes and little or no shoulder. Road conditions can worsen after heavy rains. Driving skills vary; drivers often make turns or stop to pick up pedestrians without warning. Roads outside the towns are often unpaved, and are used by pedestrians, playing children, animals and drivers alike. Streetlights are rare. Taxis are available in state capitals, but visitors are advised to be careful, since some taxi drivers are reckless. There is no formal training in road safety; so many drivers are unaware of road safety rules. Drunk drivers can pose serious hazards, in particular on weekend evenings. Please refer to our Road Safety page at http://travel.state.gov/travel/abroad_roadsafety.html for more information. For specific information concerning Micronesian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Micronesia national tourist organization offices via the Internet at http://www.visitfsm.org/.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the FSM's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. At 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's web site, http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Continental Micronesia Airlines and Palau Micronesia Airlines are the only commercial carriers serving the FSM. Flight schedules and routes are limited and subject to change. There may be little flexibility or alternatives if flights are canceled or missed.

Special Circumstances: Micronesian customs authorities assess import taxes on cigarettes, tobacco, alcoholic beverages, gasoline, and other items that exceed specified amounts. All imports are subject to physical inspection by customs officials. There are strict quarantine regulations restricting entry of plant and animal products. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Micronesia in Washington or one of Micronesia's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Micronesian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Micronesia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Prison conditions in the FSM meet minimal international standards. Legal procedures provide for due process.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting the Federated States of Micronesia are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia or through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Micronesia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia is located on Kaselehlie Street (the main downtown street). The mailing address is P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia 96941. The telephone number is (691) 320-2187. The fax number is (691) 320-2186. The U.S. Embassy's website can be accessed at either http://kolonia.usembassy.gov/ or http://micronesia.usembassy.gov/.

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Micronesia, Federated States of

Micronesia, Federated States of

  • Area: 271 sq mi (702 sq km) / World Rank: 180
  • Location: Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, Oceania, island group in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia
  • Coordinates: 6°55′N, 158°15′E
  • Borders: None
  • Coastline: 3,798 mi (6,112 km)
  • Territorial Seas: 12 NM
  • Highest Point: Totolom, 2,595 ft (791 m)
  • Lowest Point: Sea level
  • Longest Distances: 1,800 mi (2,898 km) E-W from Kosrae to Yap
  • Longest River: None of significant length
  • Natural Hazards: Tropical typhoons
  • Population: 134,597 (July 2001 est.) / World Rank: 181
  • Capital City: Palikir, on Pohnpei in the eastern end of the archipelago
  • Largest City: Weno, on Weno Island in the center of the island groups, population 24,900 (2002 est,)

OVERVIEW

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is located in the western Pacific Ocean within the Caroline Islands archipelago and encompasses more than one million square miles of ocean (2.6 million sq km). It is the second largest land and sea area in Micronesia. Its four states consist of four major island groups. From east to west they are Kosrae, Pohnpei (Ponape), Chuuk Islands (formerly Truk), and Yap Islands. The territory is made up of 607 islands, including mountainous islands of volcanic origin and coral atolls, of which 40 are a significant size; 65 of the islands are inhabited. The outer islands of all states are mainly coral atolls. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. However, licensing to commercial fishing fleets for rights to operate in FSM territorial waters provides nearly 30 percent of domestic budgetary revenue. Tourism, with its associated demands, is a developing industry, catering mostly to sport divers. Geographical isolation and a lack of adequate facilities hinder development.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS

Mountains

The island of Kosrae is largely mountainous with two main peaks: Fenkol (Mount Crozer), 2,080 ft (634m), and Matanti, 1,913 ft (583m). Pohnpei contains a large volcanic island, with the highest elevation that of Mount Totolom at 2,595 ft (791 m), which is the highest point in the FSM. Chuuk (Truk) consists of 14 islands that are mountainous and of volcanic origin.Yap has four large, high islands, with the peak elevation that of Mount Tabiwol at 584 ft (178 m). Yap is at the southern end of a great submarine ridge and volcanic outcropping has occurred in the five largest island clusters.

INLAND WATERWAYS

The four states of Micronesia have a total of 2,766 sq mi (7,164 sq km) of lagoons within their coastal borders. Pohnpei, the largest and tallest island in the FSM, has peaks that get much rainfall annually, creating more than 40 rivers that feed the upper rain forest and create spectacular waterfalls.

THE COAST, ISLANDS, AND THE OCEAN

Major Islands

Within Micronesia the four states center around one or more "high islands." Kosrae, the smallest and easternmost state, consists of five closely situated islands, but is essentially one high island of 42 sq mi (119 sq km). Pohnpei state (133 sq mi / 344 sq km) consists of the single large island of Pohnpei (130 sq mi / 137 sq km) and 25 smaller islands within a barrier reef, in addition to 137 outer islands, of which the major atolls are Mokil, Pingelap, Kapingamarangi, Nukuoro, and Ngatik. Chuuk (Truk) state (49 sq mi / 127 sq km) includes the large Truk lagoon, enclosing 98 islands, and major outer island groups including the Mortlocks, Halls, Western, and Namwunweito islands. Yap (46 sq mi / 118 sq km), the westernmost state, consists of four large islands and seven smaller islands surrounded by barrier reefs, in addition to 134 outer islands, of which the largest are Ulithi and Woleai. Roads connect Yap, Gagil-Tomil, and Maap. Rumong is accessible only by boat.

The Coast and Beaches

Low sheltered coastal areas of the FSM islands are covered in mangrove forests. The Chuuk islands are an "almost atoll," encircled by a barrier reef. The "Truk Lagoon" is one of the largest enclosed lagoons in the world, circled by a 140-mi (225-km) long barrier reef, and covering an area of 822 sq mi (2,129 sq km). Of the 80 countries that have coral reefs the FSM ranks thirteenth by area with 1.53 percent in the worlds reefs spanning 4,340 sq mi (11,241 sq km). During the past century, FSM coral reefs suffered from soil erosion resulting from logging, agriculture, major coastal construction (dredging and filling), military occupation, and World War II battles, along with poaching of giant clams, sharks, trochus (marine gastropod), and other commercial species from remote reefs. Ports and harbors are located at Colonia (Yap), Kolonia (Pohnpei), Lele (Kosrae), Moen (Chuuk).

CLIMATE AND VEGETATION

Temperature

The climate is maritime tropical, with little seasonal or diurnal variation in temperature, which averages 80°F (27°C) year round. The humidities average over 80 percent.

Rainfall

The northeast trade winds that prevail from November to December and April to May frequently bring heavy rainfall. The short and torrential nature of the rainfall, which decreases from east to west, results in an annual average of 200 in (508 cm) in Pohnpei and 120 in (305 am) in Yap. Reputedly, Pohnpei is one of the wettest places on earth. The eastern islands are located on the southern edge of the typhoon belt and occasionally suffer severe damage from typhoons, which are a threat from June to December.

Forests and Jungles

There is moderately heavy tropical vegetation, with tree species including tropical hardwoods on the slopes of higher volcanic islands and coconut palms on the coral atolls. Pohnpei and Kosrae have the only remaining patches of montane cloud forest in Micronesia. In the Yap islands, forest covers 40 percent of total land area but is largely secondary growth.

HUMAN POPULATION

The FSM has the largest population in Micronesia. The majority of the Micronesian population lives in coastal areas of the high islands, leaving the mountainous interiors largely uninhabited. It was estimated that 30 percent of the population lived in urban areas in 2000. No significant permanent emigration has occurred. However, there is internal FSM migration. Population growth and urban pollution such as sewage and garbage disposal are increasingly becoming problematic.

NATURAL RESOURCES

The ocean is the FSM's most important resource, providing marine products and deep-seabed minerals. The FSM's exclusive economic zone covers more than 1 million sq mi (2.6 million sq km) of ocean, which contains the worlds most productive tuna fishing grounds. Each state in the FSM has extensive forest cover that is used for construction, firewood, and handicrafts. Copra remains the main cash crop throughout the FSM.

FURTHER READINGS

Action Atlas. Coral Reefs.http://www.motherjones.com/coral_reef/micronesia.html (Accessed May 7, 2002).

Earthwatch. Island Directory.http://www.unep.ch/islands/isldir.htm (Accessed May 19, 2002).

Federated States of Micronesia. www.fsmgov.org/info (Accessed May 7, 2002).

Gillett, Robert D. Traditional Tuna Fishing: A Study at Satawal, Central Caroline Islands. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1987.

International Centre for Island Studies. http://www.islandstudies.org// (Accessed May 19, 2002).

Myers, Robert F. Micronesian Reef Fishes: A Comprehensive Guide to the Coral Reef Fishes of Micronesia. Barrigada, Guam: Coral Graphics, 1999.

Pacific Island Region. http://www.spc.org.nc/En/region.htm (Accessed May 19, 2002).

Pollard, Stephen J. Micronesia's Success in Business: Cooperation or Competition. Pacific Islands Development Program,Reports on the Role of the Private Sector Project. Honolulu: East-West Center, 1995.

Seach, John. Volcanoes of Micronesia. http://www.volcanolive.com/mariana.html (Accessed May 19, 2002).

GEO-FACT

Land ownership in the FSM is vested in family held trusts and land use rights are passed down intergenerationally within the extended family system. Families or clans may have different factions, all of whom may assert interest in the land. Small holdings characterize ownership and subsurface rights are synonymous with surface rights.

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Micronesia, Federated States of

Micronesia, Federated States of

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a nation-state composed entirely of small islands lying just north of the equator, and extending across the Pacific Ocean for 1,000 miles midway between Hawaii and the Philippines. The islands are grouped into four states: Yap, Chuuk (Truk), Pohnpei (Ponape), and Kosrae (Kusaie). The population of approximately 110,000 speaks what are for the most part closely related Micronesian and Polynesian languages. All the states except Kosrae include both larger volcanic islands, which serve as population and administrative centers, and smaller coral atolls.

The islands were originally settled about two thousand years ago by voyagers traveling from eastern Melanesia (now the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu); their earliest ancestors were Southeast Asian in origin. The islands traded extensively with whalers and were Christianized by American missionaries in the mid-nineteenth century; claimed by the Spanish, although not occupied by them until the 1880s; sold to Germany in 1899; seized by the Japanese in 1914 and ruled as a League of Nations Mandate; then occupied by the United States at the close of World War II (1945) and administered as a United Nations (UN) Trusteeship.

Following prolonged negotiations, the FSM became self-governing in 1979, entered into a relationship of "free association" with the United States in 1986, and joined the UN in 1991.

The Constitution of the FSM was drafted at a constitutional convention in 1975 and is modeled on that of the United States, with largely autonomous legislative, executive, and judicial branches. There is universal adult suffrage. The FSM Congress is unicameral, but has two kinds of members. Each state is represented by one four-year senator, while the number of two-year senators for each state is apportioned according to that state's population statistics. Congress elects a president from among its four four-year members; according to an informal agreement the presidency rotates among all four states. Although the executive branch is nominally independent of the legislative, the fact that the president is not popularly elected gives the Congress disproportionate influence over national affairs. Subsequent constitutional conventions in 1990 and 2001 attempted to revise this formula but arrived at no broadly acceptable alternative. The president appoints, with congressional approval, the justices of the Supreme Court, who serve for life. State and local governments are largely modeled on the national government.

The are no political parties in the FSM. Political fault lines lie instead between the states; the state congressional delegations effectively function as caucuses and tend to vote en bloc (as a whole). Because the population of the Chuuk state constitutes virtually half that of the national total and its delegation is proportionately large, the state wields enormous influence in Congress. The other states tend to find this objectionable, but no acceptable alternative has been arrived at.

The Constitution of the FSM permits creation of a national "Chamber of Chiefs," but the federal government has never established it. Micronesia's chiefs remain vital to the organization of everyday life in the islands and they are held in the highest regard by their peoples. Their jurisdiction is limited in scope—they reign over relatively small areas and populations—and their authority is entirely informal. Foreign visitors are often told that the chiefs wield enormous power in their communities, but their actual influence is largely a product of their individual personalities and political skills. They have no official means of enforcing sanctions. It appears that resistance to the establishment of a Chamber of Chiefs derives primarily from a fear that the overwhelming political

strength of the FSM Congress would be likely to undermine the chiefs' cultural authority if they were to be incorporated into the national government.

The FSM's economy is almost entirely dependent on American aid, nearly all of which is channeled through the national government. Despite the country's formal structuring as a federation, then, the national government's control of finances makes it vastly more powerful than the states. Competition for financial resources drives most rivalries between the states. Although local tensions are often portrayed as ethnic in origin, they derive for the most part from political and economic competition. And because government at all levels, national, state, and local, is overwhelmingly the largest employer, efforts to streamline bureaucracy and reorganize the political economy have been met with strong resistance. Starting in 2000 large-scale emigration to the United States began to reduce unemployment issues. Because of American financial support, the FSM remains peaceful, but currents of potential cleavage nevertheless lie below the surface.

See also: Federalism.

bibliography

Meller, Norman. Constitutionalism in Micronesia. Laie, Federated States of Micronesia: Institute for Polynesian Studies, 1985.

Petersen, Glenn. "Calm Before the Storm?: The 1990 Federated States of Micronesia Constitutional Convention." The Contemporary Pacific 6, no. 2 (1994):337–369.

Petersen, Glenn. "A Micronesian Chamber of Chiefs?" In Chiefs Today, ed. G. White and L. Lindstrom. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997.

Glenn Petersen

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Micronesians

Micronesians

PRONUNCIATION: mye-cro-NEE-zhuns
LOCATION: Federated States of Micronesia (comprising Guam, Republic of Belau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru, Chuuk State, the Norther n Mariana Islands, and thousands of smaller islands)
POPULATION: Approximately 108,000
LANGUAGE: Chukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosrean, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi, English (official language)
RELIGION: Catholicism; Protestant sects

INTRODUCTION

Most of the nearly 2,500 islands that comprise Micronesia were administered by the United States until 1986, when the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was dissolved into four constitutional governments. The Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Belau (Palau), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands all still retain political and economic relationships with the United States, some to a greater degree than others. However, each of these constitutional political units relies economically on the United States almost completely.

The name "Micronesia" comes from the Greek, meaning "small islands." The culture area of Micronesia is a parallelogram-shaped region in the North Pacific Ocean. Its corners are formed by the Republic of Belau in the southwest; Kiribati, formerly the Gilbert Islands, in the southeast; Guam in the northwest; and the Marshall Islands in the northeast.

The capital of the Federated States of Micronesia was relocated in 1989 from Kolonia, Pohnapei to Palikir, only about six miles west of the former capital.

LOCATION AND HOMELAND

Volcanic and coral islands make up Micronesia's islands. The largest of these is Guam, with 225 sq mi and about half of the total population of Micronesia. Only half of Guam's total population is indigenous; the other half are mostly American military personnel. Guam has been a territorial possession of the United States since 1898, when the island was acquired from Spain.

Almost all of the islands within the region of Micronesia are located north of the equator. As it happens, the richest and poorest islands of the region are the only ones located south of the equator. The Republic of Nauru is one of the smallest countries in the world with a total area of nine sq mi. It is also one of the least populous, with only around 13,500 people, and an island rich in phosphate rocks that provide almost all of the national income for the country. Nauruans have lived in a virtual welfare state with no taxes but an extremely high unemployment rate (nearly 90%).

LANGUAGE

The languages of the Micronesian region belong to the large family of Austronesian languages that are spread throughout the Pacific Basin. Micronesian languages fall into two types, nuclear and nonnuclear languages. The nonnuclear languages show close affinities to other Austronesian languages outside of Micronesia such as Philippine languages and languages of Indonesia. The nuclear languages are all closely related to each other and create a chain of languages across the middle of Micronesia. Linguists look at these patterns of relationships to help determine the prehistoric settlement history of the area. From this pattern we can posit that there were at least two migrations into the region: one from the Indonesian archipelago into the western section of the region and a second from the eastern Melanesia. The migrations from eastern Melanesia were later than those from the Philippine and Indonesian regions.

The Pacific and Asian Linguistics Institute of the University of Hawaii administers a program that provides linguistic documentation of the languages of Micronesia in the form of dictionaries and language learning materials. The work of this institute has vastly increased knowledge of the languages of the region.

FOLKLORE

Micronesian mythology reflects concern for the social and natural order of things. One Palauan myth recounts the story of a magical breadfruit tree that the child of sun provides for his mortal mother. In order to provide fish for her to eat, the son cuts a hole in the center of a breadfruit tree that grows outside his mother's house and next to the sea. Fish were thrown through the hole by the waves of the sea and the mother need only walk out of her doorway to collect fish. Her neighbors became jealous and cut down the breadfruit tree, which caused a catastrophic flood engulfing the whole island. Only the mother was saved by her son, who flew her through the sky on a raft.

RELIGION

Christian missionaries in Micronesia have converted most of the indigenous population to either Catholicism or Protestant sects. Religion in traditional Micronesian cultures involved beliefs in ghosts, in ancestor worship, and in spirits that inhabit places and natural objects and that are associated with specific activities. Canoe builders, for instance, had patron spirits who would control the outcome of their work on canoe construction. Chants and offerings were directed to these patron spirits to help insure their successful participation in human projects.

MAJOR HOLIDAYS

Major religious holidays in Micronesia now revolve around the Christian calendar. Many Micronesian states celebrate Christmas, Easter, Ash Wednesday, and All Saints Day. On the Republic of Nauru, Angam Day is held on October 26. Angam Day celebrates the threshold births of the 1,500th Nauruan at two points in the island's history. The first was in 1932. The population was recovering from two major epidemics that had reduced the population to an all-time low of just over 1,000 in 1920. The second cause for celebration came in 1949, when the 1,500 mark was reached again following a decline in 1941. American secular holidays are all observed in many parts of Micronesia and some islands even recognize American Thanksgiving. Precontact holidays would likely have been occasions of celebrations for auspicious events or the accomplishment of certain feats. A major event for the display of traditional culture is the South Pacific Arts Festival, which rotates between venues in the Pacific Ocean. At this festival performing groups from a number of Pacific Island nations come together to put on shows for the enjoyment of tourists, the local populations, and the participants themselves.

RITES OF PASSAGE

Christianity has altered many of the traditional celebrations associated with changes in social status that accompany events like birth, puberty, marriage, and death. Birth on the island of Belau was accompanied by a series of ritual exchanges prior to and following the birth of the first child of a wealthy couple. The attainment of puberty by males on the island of Yap is accompanied by a hair cutting ceremony that has been retained to the present day. In other parts of Micronesia, the passage through puberty was marked only by a change in attire. In Chuuk State (formerly Truk), following puberty both males and females were permitted to engage in sexual relationships. Trial marriages were also permitted. Christian ideology has altered these patterns of sexual relationships considerably, and they do not continue in the present time.

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS

Long distance exchange was part of the life of some Micronesian groups. Definite rules of etiquette dictated the behavior of visitors to another island or atoll. However, little is known about precontact behavior in most Micronesian societies. Social class dictated marriage rules and likely influenced patterns of day-to-day social intercourse. In most societies, there were three distinct social classes that individuals were born into; however, in some societies, individuals could "marry up," while the converse was not possible. Status still determines social etiquette in Micronesian societies. Greetings in many societies translate into English as "welcome." In the Chamorro language of the Northern Marianas, the greeting is hafa adai.

Living conditions

Micronesian communities are located near the coastline on both the "high" volcanic islands and the "low" atolls. Some islands have several types of houses that served different functions. In the era before European influence on Ponape, where there was a fairly large population and a highly stratified polity, there were guesthouses for visiting dignitaries.

Many Micronesian societies also have canoe sheds where canoes are stored. These structures function as men's clubhouses where men could congregate and would occasionally sleep. These structures are not like the Melanesian men's houses where women are prohibited. Western-style housing has become common in Micronesia, although some houses are still constructed out of traditional materials save the corrugated tin roof.

Electricity and running water are present in those Micronesian islands where the European and American presence is most heavily felt. Gasoline-powered generators are also owned by families to run electrical appliances.

Traditional transportation in Micronesia is by canoe and by foot. Automobiles and buses are now common on most islands in the region. Micronesian cultures are famous for their highly specialized and technologically sophisticated outrigger canoes.

FAMILY LIFE

Families in traditional Micronesian societies are based on a husband, a wife, and their unmarried children. In many societies such as those in precontact Belau, a woman would move away from her traditional land and into a house that her husband had built on land he had inherited from his mother.

In Belau, there are women's councils and women's clubs organized in an identical fashion to those of the men. The only difference is that women do not have elaborate ceremonial houses in which to conduct their business. Women's councils continue to play an important role in village decision-making in Belau.

CLOTHING

Traditional Micronesian cultures typically made use of some sort of clothing. Early Spanish accounts of the Marianas Islands describe the population there as going naked. Typical attire involved either a loin cloth for men or a type of fiber skirt for women. In the Marshall Islands women wore plaited skirts that resembled mats spanning the waist to the ankles.

A number of items of body adornment were also manufactured in Micronesian societies. Carved combs and flower arrangements often decorated the hairstyles of Micronesian men and women. Coconut oil was also spread on the skin to make it shiny and sweet smelling. A yellow dye made from the root of the turmeric plant was also applied to the skin in some Micronesian cultures. Turmeric, a relative of ginger, is an important ingredient in Indian curry, giving the food its distinctive color.

In parts of Micronesia, tattooing was an important part of body adornment. The most extensive tattooing occurred in the Caroline Islands, now the Federated States of Micronesia.

Colonization has changed clothing patterns among most Micronesian groups. Western-style clothing now predominates on almost every occasion. However, ceremonial occasions often warrant a return to traditional styles of dress.

FOOD

Traditional foodstuffs in Micronesia are fairly uniform across the region. There are some local differences due to patterns of rainfall and island topography. Taro root, breadfruit, coconuts, and yams were the most important in precontact times and continue to be staples in many households throughout the region. Since European contact with the region, corn, sweet potato, and manioc (cassava) have also become important staples. Fish is the most important source of protein in all parts of Micronesia. Since animal life was limited on most islands, hunting played a very small role in the subsistence of Micronesian peoples. Although rats and lizards were omnipresent, they were not utilized as a source of food by any groups.

Western foodstuffs have become important, especially to younger people. Prepared and packaged American foods such as breakfast cereals are part of many Micronesian daily meals.

EDUCATION

Western-style education has been introduced throughout Micronesia. The American presence in the region has produced a number of American schools where expatriates send their children. Graduation ceremonies often include addresses from high-ranking American military personnel present on the island. Opportunities for higher education must be sought in the United States or in other developed countries.

CULTURAL HERITAGE

Micronesian music is dominated by the human voice; there are very few musical instruments produced by Micronesian cultures. The shell trumpet and the nose flute are the most common instruments in the region. The Marshall Islands also made use of the hourglass-shaped drums that were common in most of Melanesia.

Gesture was important in traditional Micronesian vocal music. Dances were often only gestures performed while in a seated posture. In other instances, line dances were performed by a number of individuals in unison.

Musical traditions of other cultural regions of the world have gained importance in Micronesia. Polynesian-style music from Hawaii has become popular in parts of Micronesia. American music and dance has been introduced via television and the resident American population in the islands.

WORK

Traditional patterns of work entailed a division of labor along gender lines. In some islands, males engaged in fishing and harvesting the products of trees such as breadfruit, coconuts, and betel nut, while females were responsible for gardening and activities that took place in the household including plaiting mats and making clothing. In some other islands, women provided most of the fish. However, in all parts of Micronesia women were forbidden to fish from canoes.

Wage labor in a variety of industries is now the norm in Micronesia. Both women and men are in the wage-earning work-force in Micronesian society. Many states have set minimum wage standards that are at odds with the U.S. federal minimum wage standards. In the Northern Marianas Islands, the minimum hourly wage for 2007 was $3.55, which was less than the federal minimum wage of $5.85.

SPORTS

Traditional forms of competition in Nauru consisted of singing and dancing competitions and kite flying. The competing "teams" were organized along lines of genealogical descent. These activities have all but ceased in most parts of Micronesia. Sports introduced from other nations, such as the United States and Japan, have become important.

A traditional sport on the island of Nauru is catching Noddy birds. The Brown or Common Noddy bird (Anous stolidus) is a member of the tern family. Noddy birds feed on fish caught out and sea. At sunset, when the birds return to land after feeding at sea, Nauru men stand on the beach ready to throw their lassos on the returning birds. The Nauruan lasso is constructed of supple rope and weighted at one end. When a bird flies over, the lasso is thrown up to knock the bird from the sky. The fallen Noddy birds are then cooked and eaten.

ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION

Television and videos have become important forms of entertainment in many Micronesian societies. Most of the programming is foreign and often out of date, coming from the United States and, in some cases, Japan. Local programming for news and community information is limited. Television and videos have made an impact on traditional ways of life in Micronesia. Movie theaters in many islands run current American and other foreign releases; however, the runs of these movies are often very short, only a few days in many cases.

FOLK ART, CRAFTS, AND HOBBIES

Belau, in western Micronesia, is well known for the elaborately incised and painted facades of the chiefly collective houses, called bai. The degree of decoration and ornamentation was directly related to the degree of status and amount of wealth the group possessed. Each plank of the facades at either end of the house was painted with a separate narrative relating aspects of cultural history or mythology. Beginning in the late 1800s, planks were cut away from bai to give to foreigners. In the 1930s, the Palauans began to create replicated as well as new "storyboards" for sale to tourists.

Carved bowls of various shapes and sizes were utilitarian in function but decorative in design. These are now produced for the tourist industry in Micronesia. Finely plaited mats for sleeping and sitting were items of status among many Micronesian groups. These items are now also produced primarily for sale to tourists.

The construction of single outrigger canoes was the outstanding technological achievement of Micronesian cultures. Many were over 40 ft long and their hulls were made of hewn planks lashed together with coconut fiber rope. The production of canoes has greatly diminished in post-contact times in Micronesia.

SOCIAL PROBLEMS

Economic self-sufficiency and cultural survival are two of the major problems facing Micronesian countries. Creating compromises between various factions both within islands and between islands is a challenge that will continue for many years to come. The immense differences that separated the various islands linked together through the weak infrastructure of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands have been diminished through the creation of independent socio-political units in the mid-1980s. Success of the islands will be a balancing act between modernization and the maintenance of traditional cultural patterns and institutions.

GENDER ISSUES

The Micronesian culture area exhibits considerable variation in terms of gender. At the highest level of social organization, eastern Micronesia societies trace descent matrilineally and form clans based on these principles. In western Micronesia, societies are patrilineal both in descent and social organization. Under the social influences of Western societies, the strong principles of matrilineal social organization have been gradually eroding in eastern Micronesia.

Rank and status are important concepts that interact with the cultural construction of gender in Micronesian societies. On Yap, gender is conceptualized as part of the bipartite distinction between "pure" or "sacred" and "polluted" or "profane." Males and females and members of the nuclear family are placed into this scheme, which exhibits a degree of relativity. In general, males are tabugul, "pure" or "sacred," while females are ta'ay, "polluted" or "profane." Fathers are tabugul to their wives and children; women are ta'ay to their husbands and post adolescent sons, but tabugul to their other children. As in so many other societies in the Pacific, menstrual blood is the source of ta'ay in Yap society.

Village space in Yap is also gender specific. Every village has at least one men's house as well as at least one menstrual house. Menstrual houses are restricted to menstruating women who spend at least one week per month there. Upon a girl's first menstruation, she enters the menstrual house (dapal) for a period of time ranging from six to 18 months. The men's house is restricted to adult men and the post adolescent boys who reside there and are socialized into the roles of adult males.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alkire, W. An Introduction to the Peoples and Cultures of Micronesia. 2nd ed. Menlo Park, CA: Cummings Publishing Company, 1977.

Barnett, H. Being a Palauan. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960.

Ferreira, Celio. Palauan Cosmology: Dominance in a Traditional Micronesian Society. Goteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 1987.

Thomas, S. D. The Last Navigator. New York: Henry Holt, 1987.

—by J. Williams

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