Micronesia

Micronesia

Situated in North Pacific, Micronesia consists of thousands of small islands and many independent and dependent states. Most of these islands and states are largely influenced by UAS and the islands were first settled about 3000 years ago. Today, Micronesia serves as an exceptional destination for scuba diving which has been made famous by WW11 relics. The islands in Micronesia are a collection of both commercial and remote tourist destinations consisting of the traditional cultures compounded by both Japanese and American lifestyle playgrounds.

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a grouping of 607 small islands in the Western Pacific

about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, lying just above the Equator. Generally speaking, the FSM comprises what is known as the Western and Eastern Caroline Islands.
While the country’s total land area amounts to only 270.8 square miles, it occupies more than one million square miles of the Pacific Ocean, and ranges 1,700 miles from West (Yap) to East (Kosrae) . Each of the four States centers around one or more “high islands,” and all but Kosrae include numerous atolls.
Yap State is made up of 4 large islands, 7 small islands and 134 atolls, with a total land area of 45.6 square miles. Chuuk State has a total land area of 49.2 square miles and includes seven major island groups. Pohnpei State has 133.4 square miles of land area, of which 130 is accounted for by Pohnpei island, the largest in FSM. Kosrae is essentially one high island of 42.3 square miles.
The islands of the FSM are the result of volcanic activity millions of years ago resulting in islands and atolls of incredible variety. Some are tips of mountain peaks thrust above the surface and now surrounded by fringing reefs. Others are atolls — islands that have sunk beneath the surface, leaving a ring of coral barrier reef and tiny island islets encircling a coral and sand lagoon. And, still others, are mixtures of atolls and high rigged islands within a lagoon.

The FSM enjoys a tropical climate, with relatively even, warm temperatures throughout the year.
The climate in the FSM averages 80° F year round, with highs in the high 80s and lows in the high 70s. Rainfall is heaviest during the summer months. The rainfall on each island varies, however, so check with the local visitor authority for anticipated dry and wet seasons. Trade winds come mainly from the northeast from December through June. Light tropical clothing is the norm year ’round in the FSM.
Pohnpei reputedly is one of the wettest places on Earth, with some locations on the interior of the island receiving up to 330 inches of rain per year. The trade wind season generally occurs from December to March.

Geological land forms in the FSM are diverse, beautiful and pristine. Visitors will find a wide range of natural features, including 2,000-foot mountain peaks, deeply gorged river valleys, rolling hills, open grassland, lush mangrove forests, protected lagoons, and secluded and often pristine sandy beaches.
Recognizing the beauty and abundance of the land and the sea, the inhabitants of the FSM have developed settlement patterns in keeping with their surroundings. Each inhabited island is divided into municipalities, villages (sections of municipalities), and farmsteads (smallest land holding unit within a village). The manner in which the people have arranged over the landscape varies from disbursed settlement to neatly clustered, but not overcrowded, villages.
Special importance is attached to land in Micronesia both because of its short supply and its traditional importance. Many parcels of land are held by families or clans. Still, visitors are able to access areas of interest in the country, and along the way they are afforded a glimpse into the daily activities of the people of the country.

The people of the FSM are classified as Micronesians, although some inhabitants of Pohnpei State are of Polynesian origin. They are actually a heterogeneous mixture with different customs and traditions bound together by recent history and common aspiration.
The cultural diversity is typified by the existence of eight major indigenous languages, although English remains the official language of commerce. The cultural similarities are indicated by the importance of traditional extended family and clan systems found on each island.
Each of the State has developed unique cultural characteristics which are important to the potential outsiders especially those interested in visiting or investing in the islands. In Kosrae State, the Congregational Church plays an extremely important role in everyday life while in Chuuk, clan relationships remain an important factor. Yap continues as the most traditional society in the FSM with a strong caste system.
Over the last 15 years Pohnpei has rapidly developed as the most westernized state in the nation. This results in large part because the national government is located here. At the same time, traditional leadership continues to play an important role.
Over much of the last 40 years, the growth rate of population in the FSM has exceeded 3% per annum and the current rate of national increase remains high. However, since the Compact of Free Association was signed out-migration of about 2% of the population occurs each year, effectively lowering the growth rate to about 1%.
The population structure is heavily weighted in favor of the youth, and it is expected that the 15-24 age group will account for 50% of the population increase in this decade.

The people of the FSM are culturally and linguistically Micronesian, with a small number of Polynesians living primarily on Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi atolls of Pohnpei State. The influence of European and Japanese contacts is also seen.
It can be said that each of the four States exhibits its own distinct culture and tradition, but there are also common cultural and economic bonds that are centuries old. For example, cultural similarities are evidenced in the importance of the traditional extended family and clan systems found on each island.
Although united as a country, the people are actually a heterogeneous mixture with different customs and traditions bound together by recent history and common aspirations. The cultural diversity is typified by the existence of eight major indigenous languages, and its peoples continue to maintain strong traditions, folklore and legends.
The four states of the FSM are separated by large expanses of water. Prior to Western contact, this isolation led to the development of unique traditions, customs and language on each of the islands.
English is the official language, and there are eight major indigenous languages of the Malayo-Polynesian linguistic family spoken in the FSM: Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, Kosraean, Nukuoro, and Kapingamarangi.
There is a rich oral history. Part of this history is a unique musical heritage. The traditional music is carried forward from generation to generation, although upon tuning into the local radio station the visitor is far more likely to hear the distinctive sounds of Micronesian pop music, which has also developed its own character from state to state. Influenced obviously by traditional music, the FSM’s pop music also draws from influences as diverse as American country and western, reggae, and modern europop.
The basic subsistence economy is based on cultivation of tree crops (primarily breadfruit, banana, coconut and citrus) and root crops (primarily taro and yam) supplemented by fishing. Small scale agriculture and various traditional fishing practices continue today.
Sharing, communal work, and the offering of tributes to the traditional leaders are fundamental to the subsistence economic system and the culture of the island societies of the FSM. The basic economic unit is the household, which consists primarily of extended families. Larger solitary social groups found on most of the FSM islands are matrilineal clans. Traditional political systems, such as the Nahmwarki Political System on Pohnpei and the Council of Pilung on Yap, continue to play an important role in the lives of the people of the FSM today.

The most traditional island in Micronesia is Yap and the Kosrae is a paradise on the Pacific Ocean and with no doubt the most beautiful and lively island of them all. The island of Pohnpei houses the mysterious ruins and other attractive landforms. Travelling to Micronesia will give you an opportunity of experiencing different lifestyles under one roof. The Kosraeans are actually true believers and it is a place where life seems to come to a dead end on Sundays where everyone focuses on vibrant all dancing, singing and never ending church ceremonies. It is definitely a place that you might not want to miss on a Sunday as you can join the locals in their singing.

Yap is known to have retained its traditional culture in almost every aspect of its life. Their stone money, religions, customs and architecture are all a reflection of their traditions. Lastly, there is the island of Chuuk that no traveler seems to understand it. However, the island is currently making its debut as an international tourism destination.

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