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The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically, they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end. Historically, this area was also called Nuevas Filipinas or New Philippines,because they were part of the Spanish East Indies and were governed from Manila in the Philippines.
The Carolines are scattered across a distance of approximately 3540 kilometers (2200 miles), from the westernmost island, Tobi, in Palau, to the easternmost island, Kosrae.
The group consists of about 500 small coral islands, east of the Philippines, in the Pacific Ocean. The distance from Yap (one of the larger Caroline islands) to Manila is 1,200 miles (1,900 km).
Most of the islands are made up of low, flat coral atolls, but there are some that rise high above sea level.
The indigenous inhabitants speak a variety of languages, including: the Micronesian languages of Pohnpeian, Chuukese, Carolinian, and Kosraean; the Western Malayo-Polynesian languages of Palauan and Chamorro; and the unclassified language Yapese (possibly one of the Admiralty Islands languages). There are also a significant number of inhabitants who belong to non-indigenous ethnic groups and speak other languages, including Filipinos and Japanese. The lingua franca used for trade and commerce among islanders who do not speak each other’s languages is English.
The indigenous people of these islands live mainly on horticultural products, fish, many different varieties of bananas, and taro (either the "swamp" or the "purple" kind). On some islands, housing is still built using local materials such as coconut-palm thatch. As a result of missionary work over the centuries, Christianity is the religion most commonly practiced in this region of Micronesia. Nevertheless, many of the indigenous people adhere to the traditional belief in a supreme being called “Yalafar” and an evil spirit called “Can.” For the most part, however, they do not engage in traditional religious rites.
The Micronesian navigator Mau Piailug (1932-2010) was originally from the Carolinian island of Satawal. He learned the traditional navigation techniques of the Weriyeng school, which had been preserved after other traditional techniques had been forgotten (due partly to the remoteness of the Carolinian Islands). In the 1970s, Mau shared his knowledge with members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. This led to a revival of the practices of traditional Polynesian navigation techniques, and provided anthropologists with a greater understanding of the history of the Polynesian and Micronesian peoples.
In 1985, a study was published that examined the origin of the sidereal compass used in the Caroline Islands.
Different islands in the Carolines have passed down different legends about the origins and early histories of their peoples. For example, on Pohnpei, the islanders describe their history before colonial times as divided into three eras: the Mwehin Kawa or Mwehin Aramas (era of building or peopling, before 1100); the Mwehin Sau Deleur (era of the reigns of the Saudeleur, from 1100to around 1628); and the Mwehin Nahnmwarki (era of the tribal chiefs, from around 1628 to 1885, when Spain colonized the islands). According to Pohnpeian legend: the Saudeleur rulers originally came from beyond the islands; they were the first to bring government to Pohnpei; they imposed absolute, centralized rule on the islanders, which became increasingly oppressive over the centuries; and their arbitrary and onerous demands, along with their offenses against Pohnpeian deities, sowed resentment among Pohnpeians. Legend has it that the Saudeleur dynasty ended when another another foreigner, called Isokelekel, invaded the islands, overthrew the Saudeleurs, and instituted the more decentralized nahnmwarki (tribal chief) system (which was maintained even during the later Colonial period, and still exists today).
The first contact that Spanish explorers had with the Caroline islands was in 1525, when a summer storm carried the Portuguese navigators Diogo da Rocha and Gomes de Sequeira eastward from the Moluccas (by way of Celebes). They ended up reaching several of the Caroline islands and staying there for several months, until January 20, 1526.Soon after, on August 22, 1526, the Spanish explorers Toribio Alonso de Salazar and Diego de Saavedra arrived in the area and recorded sighting the Island of San Bartolomé (Taongui). About 8 months later, on 1 January 1528, the explorer Álvaro de Saavedra Cerón claimed possession of the Ulithi Islands on behalf of the king of Spain. Spanish explorers visited the archipelago again in 1542 (Matelotes Islands), 1543, and 1545. In 1565, the islands were briefly visited by the first governor-general of the Philippines, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (in office from 1565 to 1572).
Europeans did not visit the island again until 1686, when Francisco de Lezcano arrived in Yap. He called the islands Las Carolinas, in honor of Charles II of Spain. This name was later extended to include the Palau Islands and the archipelagos that British explorers, visiting them a century later (between 1788 and 1799) would come to call the Gilbert Islands and the Marshall Islands. (Spaniards today call the Caroline islands Islas de las Hermanas, Hombres Pintados, and Los Jardines.)
A Spanish royal decree, issued on October 19, 1707, authorized Spanish missionaries to make several expeditions to the Caroline Islands. However, in 1731, one such missionary, Juan Antonio Cantova, was killed. As a result, Spain ceased relations with the Caroline Islands. When they resumed relations in 1787, their emphasis was on trade and commerce.
In 1852, a Spanish colonel named Coello suggested to the Spanish government that effective Spanish occupation of the Caroline Islands would help the Spanish engage in trade and commerce with the Philippines, Australia, New Guinea, and the Americas. His suggestion was ignored at first, but, in 1885, a Spanish government representative called Butron signed an agreement with the tribal chiefs of Koror and Artingal establishing Spanish sovereignty over the Caroline Islands. At that point, Spain attempted to impose customs duties on commercial exchanges in the region. However, Spain's previous abandonment of the islands had allowed the establishment of German and British missions on the islands, and Germany and the United Kingdom disputed Spain’s right to collect customs revenue. The European powers called on Pope Leo XIII to arbitrate this dispute. He decided that Spain would have these rights on the islands west of the 164th meridian east, and Germany would have these rights on the Marshall Islands. (He also assigned Germany the right to maintain a naval station in one of the Caroline Islands, but Germany never exercised that right.)
After the Spanish–American War of 1898, Spain sold the Carolines and the Northern Marianas to Germany in the German–Spanish Treaty (1899) for 25 million pesetas (the equivalent of 17 million goldmarks or nearly one million pounds sterling), while reserving to itself the right to establish a coal mine in the area. Germany governed the archipelago as the Karolinen, and administratively associated it with German New Guinea.
The islands were a popular resort for whaling ships in the 19th century. The first such vessel known to have visited was the London whaler Britannia, which called at Ngatik in December 1793.Such vessels —from Britain, the United States, Australia and elsewhere - came for water, wood, and food and, sometimes, for men willing to serve as crewmen on the vessels. These ships stimulated commerce and were significant vectors for change (both good and ill). The islands most commonly visited were Kosrae, Mokil, Ngatik, Pingelap and Pohnpei.
Japan invaded and occupied the islands in 1914, during World War I, installing two naval squadrons. The Western Carolines were under the squadron commanded by Rear Admiral Matsumura Tatsuo (1868–1932); the Eastern Carolines were under Vice-Admiral Yamaya Tanin (1866–1940). In 1920, after World War I, Japan received a League of Nations mandate to control the Caroline and Marshall Islands. During World War II, Japan operated a large base at Truk Lagoon which it used for expansion into the southeastern Pacific. In the latter years of that war, during the Japanese withdrawal to the Japanese home islands, the Allies effectively neutralized Truk in Operation Hailstone. After the war, the islands (together with the Marshall Islands) became trust territories of the United States. The Federated States of Micronesia gained independence in 1986, followed by Palau in 1994.
District officers (from 1889, styled Bezirksamtleute):
In the Western Caroline islands (Yap and Palau [and from 1907 Saipan])
In the Eastern Caroline islands (Ponape, and including the Marshall Islands from 1911)
Two Jesuits, Juan Antonio Cantova (also known as John Anthony Cantova) and Victor Walter, attempted missionary work there in 1731; the former was soon murdered and the latter obliged to flee. Two other Jesuits were killed later. In 1767, the Jesuits were suppressed in the Spanish dominions, and for the next 120 years there was no trace of a missionary in the islands.
After the 1886 dispute between Germany and Spain over possession of the Carolines was settled by Pope Leo XIII in favour of Spain, the king of Spain directed Spanish Capuchins to go to the islands. The royal order was issued on 15 March 1886, and the Propaganda Fide officially established that mission on 15 May 1886, dividing it into two sections, named the West Caroline’s and the East Carolines. Until that time, the islands had belonged ecclesiastically to the Vicariate Apostolic of Micronesia. The Spanish Capuchins caused a catechism and prayer book to be printed in the Ponape language, and Father Anthony of Valentia wrote a small grammar and dictionary of the Yap language in 1890.
In 1899, after the Spanish priests had laid the foundations of the mission, the islands passed by purchase into the hands of Germany. Spain had contributed more than $5000 a year towards the mission, but Germany contributed no support. Spain had compelled the indigenous people to send their children to school; Germany allowed people to choose to send their children or not. As a result, many people stopped attending church and sending their children to school, and the mission’s fortunes suffered. In response, the Propaganda Fide decided on 7 November 1904 to replace the Spanish Capuchins with German missionaries, and on 18 December 1905 to erect a single Apostolic prefecture in place of the two separate missions. The Very Reverend Father Venantius of Prechtal, Germany, was appointed first prefect Apostolic at that time.
In 1906, 24 missionaries (12 Fathers and 12 Brothers) were working in thirteen stations, and several Sisters of St. Francis left Luxembourg to take charge of the ten primary schools, in which a total of 262 children were enrolled. The missionaries boasted 90 adult converts that year, and reported that there were 1900 Catholics, a few Protestants, and 11,600 inhabitants who had not converted to Christianity.
On 1 July 1905, the United States sent a Jesuit from the Manila Observatory to the island of Yap to erect a meteorological station there, and appointed the Capuchin Father Callistus as its director. The station was able to identify that the East-Asiatic typhoons were originating in the Caroline’s. The station still makes weather observations twice a day, and sends advance notice of severe weather to Manila.
During the period of German control, Germany issued postage stamps for the islands.
The Federated States of Micronesia or simply Micronesia, is an island country in Oceania associated with the United States. It consists of four states – from west to east, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae – that are spread across the western Pacific Ocean. Together, the states comprise around 607 islands that cover a longitudinal distance of almost 2,700 km (1,678 mi) just north of the equator. They lie northeast of New Guinea, south of Guam and the Marianas, west of Nauru and the Marshall Islands, east of Palau and the Philippines, about 2,900 km (1,802 mi) north of eastern Australia, 3,400 km southeast of Japan, and some 4,000 km (2,485 mi) southwest of the main islands of Hawaii.
The Federated States of Micronesia are located on the Caroline Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The history of the modern Federated States of Micronesia is one of settlement by Micronesians; colonization by Spain, Germany, and Japan; United Nations trusteeship under United States-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands; and gradual independence beginning with the ratification of a sovereign constitution in 1979.
Geography of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), a country located in the western Pacific Ocean, and in the Micronesia cultural and ecological sub-region of Oceania. While its total land area is very small at 702 km2 (271 sq mi), it has the 14th largest exclusive economic zone at 2,996,419 km2 (1,156,924 sq mi).
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other island regions — the Philippines to the west, Polynesia to the east, and Melanesia to the south - as well as with the wider community of Austronesian peoples.
Palau was initially settled around 1000 BC.
The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) was a United Nations trust territory in Micronesia administered by the United States from 1947 to 1994.
Pohnpei "upon (pohn) a stone altar (pei)" is an island of the Senyavin Islands which are part of the larger Caroline Islands group. It belongs to Pohnpei State, one of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Major population centers on Pohnpei include Palikir, the FSM's capital, and Kolonia, the capital of Pohnpei State. Pohnpei Island is the largest (334 km²), with a highest point (782m), most populous, and most developed single island in the FSM.
The flag of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) was adopted on 30 November 1978. The light blue field represents the Pacific Ocean, while the four stars represent the states in the federation: Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap.
Nan Madol is an archaeological site adjacent to the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei, now part of the Madolenihmw district of Pohnpei state in the Federated States of Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. Nan Madol was the capital of the Saudeleur Dynasty until about 1628. The city, constructed in a lagoon, consists of a series of small artificial islands linked by a network of canals. The site core with its stone walls encloses an area approximately 1.5 km long by 0.5 km wide and it contains nearly 100 artificial islets—stone and coral fill platforms—bordered by tidal canals.
Pohnpei State is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The other states are, from the east to west, Kosrae State, Chuuk State, and Yap State. The state's principal island is Pohnpei.
Chuuk State is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The other states are Kosrae State, Pohnpei State, and Yap State. It consists of several island groups:
Yap State is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The other states are Kosrae State, Pohnpei State, and Chuuk State.
The Senyavin Islands belong to the Federated States of Micronesia. They consist of a larger volcanic Pohnpei Island and two small atolls Ant and Pakin.
Micronesian mythology comprises the traditional belief systems of the people of Micronesia. There is no single belief system in the islands of Micronesia, as each island region has its own mythological beings.
The Pingelapese language is a Micronesian language native to Pingelap, an atoll belonging to the state of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. This atoll is the homeland to the Pingelapese people, consisting of a three-square mile range of uninhabited small coral islets, Daekae and Sukora, and the inhabited islet, Pingelap. These islands partially make up the Caroline Islands.
Micronesian Americans are Americans who are descended from people of the Federated States of Micronesia. According to the 2010 census, a total of 8,185 residents self-identified as having origins in the country, which consists of four states. More than half of these residents identified their origin as Chuuk State (4,211) with the rest as follows: 2,060 people from Pohnpei, 1,018 from Yap, and 906 people from Kosrae.
Yap or Wa′ab traditionally refers to an island group located in the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean, a part of Yap State. The name "Yap" in recent years has come to also refer to the state within the Federated States of Micronesia, inclusive of the Yap Main Islands and its various outer islands. For specifying the island group, the name Yap Main Islands is most exact.
Japanese settlement in what constitutes the present-day Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) dates back to the end of the 19th century, when Japanese traders and explorers settled on the central and eastern Carolines, although earlier contacts can not be completely excluded. After Japan occupied the islands in 1914, Japanese migrated to the Carolines on a large scale in the 1920s and 1930s. The Japanese government encouraged immigration to the islands belonging to the South Seas Mandate in order to offset demographic and economic problems facing Japan at that time.
Isokelekel, also called Idzikolkol, was a semi-mythical hero warrior from Kosrae who conquered the Saudeleur Dynasty of Pohnpei, an island in the modern Federated States of Micronesia, sometime between the early 16th century and early 17th century. Some Kosraean variants name this hero Nanparatak, with features closer to Ulithian tales of the same archetype. He is considered the father of modern Pohnpei.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Micronesia refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members in the islands of Micronesia. These islands are divided between six sovereign nations and territories: Republic of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of Kiribati, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Nauru.
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