Pacific Islands, Trust Territory of the


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Pacific Islands, Trust Territory of the,

former UN trust territory administered by the United States, consisting of the Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, and Mariana Islands (excluding 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 (2010 pop. 159,358), 209 sq mi (541 sq km), W Pacific.
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). The territory included c.2,180 islands and islets spread out over a vast area of the W Pacific Ocean in the region generally known as MicronesiaMicronesia
, one of the three main divisions of Oceania, in W Pacific Ocean, north of the equator. Micronesia includes the Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, Mariana Islands (see Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, Gilbert Islands, and Nauru.
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. The islands, which had been acquired by Germany, were seized by Japan in 1914, and in 1922 they were mandated to Japan by the League of NationsLeague of Nations,
former international organization, established by the peace treaties that ended World War I. Like its successor, the United Nations, its purpose was the promotion of international peace and security.
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. They were occupied by the United States in 1944 during World War II, and administered by the naval government on Guam.

In 1947 the islands were made a territorial trusteeshiptrusteeship, territorial,
system of UN control for territories that were not self-governing. It replaced the mandates of the League of Nations. Provided for under chapters 12 and 13 of the Charter of the United Nations, the trusteeship system was intended to promote the welfare
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, and they were placed under the administration of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior. In 1962 the administrative center was moved to SaipanSaipan
, volcanic island (2010 pop. 48,220), 47 sq mi (122 sq km), W Pacific, capital of the Northern Mariana Islands. It is mountainous; the highest peak is Mt. Tagpochau (1,526 ft/465 m). Like the rest of the country it is subject to sometimes devastating typhoons.
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. As the result of negotiations for termination of the trusteeship, the Northern Mariana IslandsNorthern Mariana Islands
, officially Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a self-governing entity in association with the United States (2010 pop. 53,883), c.185 sq mi (479 sq km), comprising 16 islands (6 inhabited) of the Marianas chain (all except Guam), in the W
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 gained U.S. commonwealth status in 1978, and three other self-governing units, under the military protection of the United States, were established: PalauPalau
, officially Republic of Palau, independent nation (2005 est. pop. 20,300), c.192 sq mi (497 sq km), W Pacific, in the W Caroline Islands. Belau, the indigenous name for Palau, is sometimes used.
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, the Federated States of MicronesiaMicronesia, 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.
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, and the Marshall IslandsMarshall Islands,
officially Republic of the Marshall Islands, independent nation (2005 est. pop. 59,000), 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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. The trusteeship was dissolved in 1990, but Palau remained a trust territory until 1994. See also 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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