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(mīkrōnē`zhə, –shə), one of the three main divisions of OceaniaOceania
or Oceanica
, collective name for the approximately 25,000 islands of the Pacific, usually excluding such nontropical areas as the Ryukyu and Aleutian islands and Japan, as well as Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, whose populations are more closely
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, in W Pacific Ocean, north of the equator. Micronesia includes the Caroline IslandsCaroline Islands,
archipelago, c.830 sq mi (2,150 sq km), W Pacific, just north of the equator. The largest islands are Palau (Belau), Yap, Chuuk (Truk), Pohnpei (Ponape), and Kosrae. The islands are fertile and rich in minerals.
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, Marshall IslandsMarshall Islands,
officially Republic of the Marshall Islands, independent nation (2015 est. pop. 53,000), in the central Pacific. The Marshalls extend over a 700-mi (1,130-km) area and comprise two major groups: the Ratak Chain in the east, and the Ralik Chain in the west, with
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, Mariana Islands (see Northern Mariana IslandsNorthern Mariana Islands
, officially Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a self-governing entity in association with the United States (2015 est. pop. 55,000), c.
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 and GuamGuam
, Chamorro Guåhan, officially Territory of Guam, the largest, most populous, and southernmost of the Mariana Islands (see also Northern Mariana Islands), an unincorporated territory of the United States (2015 est. pop. 162,000), 209 sq mi (541 sq km), W Pacific.
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, Gilbert IslandsGilbert Islands,
group of 16 islands, central Pacific, one of the island groups that form the Republic of Kiribati. The group includes Tarawa, Butaritari, Makin, Little Makin, Marakei, Abaiang, Maiana, Abemama, Kuria, and Aranuka in the north; Nonouti and Tabiteuea in the
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, and NauruNauru
, officially Republic of Nauru, atoll and independent republic (2015 est. pop. 11,000), c.8 sq mi (20 sq km), central Pacific, just south of the equator and west of the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati. It was formerly called Pleasant Island.
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. The inhabitants are of Australoid and Polynesian stock. They speak Malayo-Polynesian languagesMalayo-Polynesian languages
, sometimes also called Austronesian languages
, family of languages estimated at from 300 to 500 tongues and understood by approximately 300 million people in Madagascar; the Malay Peninsula; Indonesia and New Guinea; the Philippines;
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groups of small islands in Oceania, in the western Pacific Ocean, mainly north of the equator, including the Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall island groups, which are trusteeships of the USA; the Gilbert Islands and Ocean Island, which are British possessions; and Nauru Island, which attained independence in 1968. There are about 1,500 islands in all.

Micronesia has a land area of 2,622 sq km and a population of more than 250,000 (1970), of whom 200,000 are Micronesians and the rest Americans, British, Filipinos, and Chinese. Most of the islands are coral atolls, and the others are volcanic in origin. The largest island, Guam, belongs to the USA. The Mariana Islands have active volcanoes. The climate is equatorial and subequatorial. Average monthly temperatures range from 26°C to 28°C. Precipitation is regular throughout the year and ranges from 2,000 mm to 6,000 mm on windward slopes. Tropical cyclones with winds of hurricane force often originate near the Caroline Islands.

The natural vegetation on the volcanic islands consists of savannas and tropical evergreen forests, now largely replaced by secondary thickets. Vegetation on the coral islands is not rich in species. There are no large mammals in Micronesia. The most common mammals are rats and bats; reptiles include crocodiles, snakes, and various kinds of lizards; and birds are chiefly aquatic species. The principal occupations of the indigenous population are fishing and fruit cultivation, chiefly coconuts, bananas, and citrus fruits. There are also sugarcane and rice plantations. The Carolines have deposits of phosphate and bauxite, and phosphate is also mined on Nauru and Ocean islands. Several islands have naval and air bases belonging to the USA and Great Britain.


Nevskii, V. V., and O. A. Nil’son. Okeaniia. Leningrad, 1965.
Mukhin, G. I. Avstraliia i Okeaniia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1967.
Okeaniia (Spravochnik). Moscow, 1971.



Official name: Federated States of Micronesia

Capital city: Palikir

Internet country code: .fm

Flag description: Light blue with four white five-pointed stars centered; the stars are arranged in a diamond pat­tern

National anthem: “Tis here we are pledging with heart and with hands” (first line)

Geographical description: Oceania, island group in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia

Total area: 270 sq. mi. (702 sq. km.)

Climate: Tropical; heavy year-round rainfall, especially in the eastern islands; located on southern edge of the typhoon belt with occasionally severe damage

Nationality: noun: Micronesian(s); adjective: Micronesian; Chuukese, Kosraen(s), Pohnpeian(s), Yapese

Population: 107,862 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Chuukese 48.8%, Pohnpeian 24.2%, Kosraean 6.2%, Yapese 5.2%, Yap outer islands 4.5%, Asian 1.8%, Polynesian 1.5%, other 6.4%, unknown 1.4%

Languages spoken: English (official and common lan­guage), Trukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosrean, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi

Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 47%, other 3%

Legal Holidays:

Christmas DayDec 25
FSM DayMay 10
FSM Independence DayNov 3
New Year's DayJan 1
United Nation's DayOct 24
Veterans' DayNov 11


1. one of the three divisions of islands in the Pacific (the others being Melanesia and Polynesia); the NW division of Oceania: includes the Mariana, Caroline, Marshall, and Kiribati island groups, and Nauru Island
2. Federated States of. an island group in the W Pacific, formerly within the United States Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands: comprises the islands of Truk, Yap, Ponape, and Kosrae: formed in 1979 when the islands became self-governing: status of free association with the US from 1982. Languages: English and Micronesian languages. Religion: Christian majority. Currency: US dollar. Capital: Palikir. Pop.: 111 000 (2004 est.)
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3 million revenue passenger miles on its Continental Micronesia network, reflecting 7.