Micronesia's ancestors settled in the archipelago some 4000 years ago. They had a chieftain-based system of leadership, which evolved into a centralized empire called Yap.
The Portuguese and the Spanish came to the islands in the 16th century but it was the former who claimed it, incorporating the archipelago into the Spanish East Indies. By the 19th century, outposts and missions were established, and in 1887, the town of Santiago de la Asunscion was founded.
In 1899, following the Spanish-American War, Micronesia was sold to Germany, and after the 1st World War, it was awarded to the Empire of Japan.
With the defeat of the Axis Powers in the 2nd World War, which included Germany and Japan, the archipelago was administered by the United States and in 1947, became a part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The territories included the 4 districts of present-day Micronesia, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
On May 10, 1979, the four districts became the Federal States of Micronesia, and in 1986, signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States, which guarantees financial assistance by the US for 15 years in exchange for full international defense responsibility and authority.
The Federal States of Micronesia, or simply known as Micronesia, is found in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean. It is to the north of the island of New Guinea, and to the east of the Philippine archipelago.
Micronesia consists of 607 islands that extend over an area of 2,900km in a region called the Caroline Islands. Out of the 607, only 65 are inhabited.
There are 4 major districts, states, or islands in Micronesia, which are: Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae, and Pohnpei. The combines coastlines of all the islands are 6,112 kilometers.
The archipelago's terrain consists of varied landscapes, from high mountainous zones to low coral atolls. 2.86% of the islands' land area are arable, while 24.29% are dedicated to permanent crops.
The Federal States of Micronesia is a federal parliamentary republic under a non-partisan democracy. The President is both head of state and head of government, and elected into office by the Congress. The President is chosen from the state-based senators and stays in office for a 4-year term.
The country also has a Vice President, which is also elected by the Congress. Parliament consists of 14 members who are elected by the public. One senator is elected from each state, while the 10 other senators represent single-member districts.
Micronesia is a popular Pacific Island but tourist activity is slow due to its remote location and limited access. Very few flight schedules are available and the logistics of going from one island to another can be difficult if tourists do not plan his/her itinerary months in advance.
The 4 major islands offer their own distinct tourist attractions. The main state of Yap is the seat of ancient culture, with traditions and customs that have endured for centuries. Native populations still wear traditional clothing such as woven grass skirts for women and loincloths for men. The state is also popular for its stone money, with some being as tall as 8 feet, and displayed in public places or homes to show wealth.
Kosrae is famous for its pristine sandy beaches, waterfalls, lakes, gorges and valleys, mangrove forests, and grasslands. It is the place to go for eco-tourism in the archipelago, with The Blue Hole being the most popular attraction - which is a natural hole found in a reef flat.
Pohnpei is home to the Nan Madol - a National Historic Landmark of ancient ruins, the Kepirohi Waterfall with a large open lake at the base, and plenty of other natural wonders.
Chuuk is the idyllic beach location in Micronesia, with vast and shallow lagoons and home to one of the best shipwreck sites in the world. Over 80 wrecks are found in the shallow waters around the islands.
Micronesia's literacy rate is 98.8% for its population within the ages of 15-24. Education is free and compulsory for students aged 6 to 13, and the system is based on the United States model. Four levels of education exist: early childhood education, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary. However, only 27% of the population aged 18-21 attend college.
Religious schools play an essential part of Micronesia's education system, whose finances are party funded by the government.
- English is the official island but several ethnic languages are spoken.
- Micronesia's official currency is the US dollar.
- Half of the country's population are government employees.
- Through the Amended Compact of Free Association, US citizens can live and work freely in Micronesia, even without visas.