Micronesia, Federated States of

Micronesia, Federated States of, 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.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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