Micronesia, Federated States of

Island country, western Pacific Ocean. It comprises the four states Yap, Chuuk (Truk), Pohnpei (Ponape), and Kosrae, all in the Caroline Islands. Area: 271 sq mi (701 sq km). Population (2007 est.): 111,000. Capital: Palikir, on Pohnpei, the largest island. The people are mostly Micronesian. Languages: Malayo-Polynesian languages, English. Religion: Christianity (mostly Roman Catholic; also Protestant). Currency: U.S. dollar. The islands and atolls extend about 1,750 mi (2,800 km) east-west and about 600 mi (965 km) north-south. U.S. government grants constitute the main source of revenue; subsistence farming and fishing are the principal economic activities. Micronesia is a republic in free association with the U.S.; it has one legislative house, and its head of state and government is the president. The islands were probably settled by people from the area of what are now Vanuatu and Fiji some 3,500 years ago. They were colonized by Spain in 1886 and came under Japanese rule after World War I. They were captured by Allied forces during World War II, and in 1947 they became part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, administered by the U.S. The islands became an internally self-governing federation in 1979. In 1982 the federation signed a compact of free association with the U.S., which is responsible for Micronesia's defense; the compact was renewed in 2003.

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