Micronesia, Federated States of


(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Micronesia, Federated States of

Introduction In 1979 the Federated States of Micronesia, a UN Trust Territory under US administration, adopted a constitution. In 1986 independence was attained under a Compact of Free Association with the US, which was amended and renewed in 2004. Present concerns include large-scale unemployment, overfishing, and overdependence on US aid.
History The ancestors of the Micronesians settled over four thousand years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire centered on Yap.

Nan Madol, consisting of a series of small artificial islands linked by a network of canals, is often called the Venice of the Pacific. It is located near the island of Pohnpei and used to be the ceremonial and political seat of the Saudeleur dynasty that united Pohnpei’s estimated 25,000 people from about AD 500 until 1500, when the centralized system collapsed.

European explorers — first the Portuguese in search of the Spice Islands (Indonesia) and then the Spanish — reached the Carolines in the sixteenth century, with the Spanish establishing sovereignty. It was sold to Germany in 1899, conquered by Japan in 1914, before being seized by the United States during World War II and administered by the US under United Nations auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

During World War II, a significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based in Truk Lagoon. In February 1944, Operation Hailstone, one of the most important naval battles of the war, took place at Truk, in which many Japanese support vessels and aircraft were destroyed.

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

Geography Location: Oceania, island group in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia
Geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 158 15 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 702 sq km
land: 702 sq km
water: 0 sq km (fresh water only)
note: includes Pohnpei (Ponape), Chuuk (Truk) Islands, Yap Islands, and Kosrae (Kosaie)
Area – comparative: four times the size of Washington, DC (land area only)
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 6,112 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; heavy year-round rainfall, especially in the eastern islands; located on southern edge of the typhoon belt with occasionally severe damage
Terrain: islands vary geologically from high mountainous islands to low, coral atolls; volcanic outcroppings on Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Dolohmwar (Totolom) 791 m
Natural resources: forests, marine products, deep-seabed minerals, phosphate
Land use: arable land: 5.71%
permanent crops: 45.71%
other: 48.58% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons (June to December)
Environment – current issues: overfishing, climate change, pollution
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: four major island groups totaling 607 islands
Politics The Federated States of Micronesia are governed by the 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has fourteen members elected by popular vote. Four senators — one from each state — serve four-year terms; the remaining ten senators represent single-member districts based on population, and serve two-year terms. The President and Vice President are elected by Congress from among the four state-based senators to serve four-year terms in the executive branch. Their congressional seats are then filled by special elections. The president and vice president are supported by an appointed cabinet. There are no formal political parties.

In international politics, the Federated States of Micronesia has always voted on the side of the United States with respect to United Nations General Assembly resolutions.

People Population: 107,665 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.3% (male 19,344/female 18,687)
15-64 years: 61.8% (male 33,142/female 33,389)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 1,320/female 1,783) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 21.6 years
male: 21.1 years
female: 22.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.191% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 23.66 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 4.53 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -21.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: 27.03 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.65 years
male: 68.79 years
female: 72.61 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.98 children born/woman (2008 est.)

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