Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

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Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands seal.svg
Location of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in the Pacific
Status United Nations Trust Territory under the administration of the United States
Capital Saipan
Common languages English (official)
Micronesian languages
GovernmentTrust Territory
Chief of State  
 1947–1953 (first)
Harry S. Truman
 1993–1994 (last)
Bill Clinton a
High Commissioner  
 1947–1948 (first)
Louis E. Denfeld
 1981–1987 (last)
Janet J. McCoy b
Legislature Congress
Historical era Cold War
July 18, 1947
 Termination of administration (Marshall Islands)
October 21, 1986
 Termination of administration (others)
November 3, 1986
  Free Association and De jure independence of Palau
October 1, 1994
19801,779 km2 (687 sq mi)
Currency United States dollar
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of the South Pacific Mandate.svg South Pacific Mandate
Marshall Islands Flag of the Marshall Islands.svg
Federated States of Micronesia Flag of Federated States of Micronesia.svg
Northern Mariana Islands Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg
Palau Flag of Palau.svg
  1. Clinton was President when Palau's Compact of Free Association took effect. Ronald Reagan was President when the RMI, FSM, and CNMI's final status took effect.
  2. McCoy retired as High Commissioner in 1987. As Palau was still a part of the TTPI, it was administered by officials in the Office of Territorial and International Affairs until 1994.
Map of the TTPI from 1961 MapofTTPI.gif
Map of the TTPI from 1961

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.

United Nations trust territories Territories under League of Nations Mandate, excluding Palestine and SW Africa, were transferred into UN trusteeships. Validity of existing rights of populations acquired by mandates, including the rights of Jews to settle in Palestine, is preserved

United Nations trust territories were the successors of the remaining League of Nations mandates, and came into being when the League of Nations ceased to exist in 1946. All of the trust territories were administered through the United Nations Trusteeship Council. The one territory not turned over was South-West Africa, which South Africa insisted remained under the League of Nations Mandate. It eventually gained independence in 1990 as Namibia. The main objection was that the trust territory guidelines required that the lands be prepared for independence and majority rule.

Micronesia Subregion of Oceania

Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, composed of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with two other island regions: Polynesia to the east and Island Melanesia to the south; as well as the wider Austronesian peoples.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.



Arrival of UN Visiting Mission, Majuro, 1978. The sign reads "Please release us from the bondage of your trusteeship agreement." TTPI UN Mission 1978.jpg
Arrival of UN Visiting Mission, Majuro, 1978. The sign reads "Please release us from the bondage of your trusteeship agreement."

Spain initially claimed the islands that later comprised the territory of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI). [1] Subsequently, Germany established competing claims over the islands. [1] The competing claims were eventually resolved in favor of Germany when Spain, following its loss of several possessions to the United States during the Spanish–American War, ceded its claims over the islands to Germany in 1899 pursuant to the German–Spanish Treaty (1899). [1] Germany, in turn, continued to retain possession until the islands were captured by Japan during World War I. [1] The League of Nations formally placed the islands in the former South Pacific Mandate, a mandate that authorized Japanese administration of the islands. [1] The islands then remained under Japanese control until captured by the United States in 1944 during World War II. [1] Mass suicides and atrocities occurred during the Battle of Saipan and Battle of Tinian. [2]

Spanish Empire world empire from the 16th to the 19th century

The Spanish Empire, historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy and as the Catholic Monarchy, was one of the largest empires in history. From the late 15th century to the early 19th, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory in the New World and the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies". It also included territories in Europe, Africa and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Portuguese Empire. It was the world's most powerful empire during the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, reaching its maximum extension in the 18th century. The Spanish Empire was the first empire to be called "the empire on which the sun never sets".

German Empire empire in Central Europe between 1871–1918

The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.

Spanish–American War Conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States

The Spanish–American War was an armed conflict between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana harbor in Cuba, leading to U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The war led to emergence of U.S. predominance in the Caribbean region, and resulted in U.S. acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions. That led to U.S. involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately in the Philippine–American War.

The TTPI entered UN trusteeship pursuant to Security Council Resolution 21 on July 18, 1947, and was designated a "strategic area" in its 1947 trusteeship agreement. Article 83 of the UN Charter provided that, as such, its formal status as a UN trust territory could be terminated only by the Security Council, and not by the General Assembly as with other trust territories. The United States Navy controlled the TTPI from a headquarters in Guam until 1951, when the United States Department of the Interior took over control, administering the territory from a base in Saipan. [3]

United Nations Security Council Resolution 21, adopted unanimously at the 124th meeting of the Security Council on April 2, 1947, placed the former German Pacific Islands north of the Equator, which were formerly mandated to Japan by the League of Nations, under the Trusteeship System. The Security Council declared 16 Articles under which it had approved the terms. It declared the United States to be the Administering Authority and gave it permission to militarise the territory.

United Nations General Assembly Principal organ of the United Nations

The United Nations General Assembly is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), the only one in which all member nations have equal representation, and the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN. Its powers are to oversee the budget of the UN, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General of the United Nations, receive reports from other parts of the UN, and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions. It has also established numerous subsidiary organs.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. With the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.

The Territory contained 100,000 people scattered over a water area the size of continental United States. It was subdivided into six districts, and represented a variety of cultures, with nine spoken languages. The Ponapeans and Kusaieans, Marshallese and Palauans, Trukese, Yapese and Chamorros had little in common, except they were in the same general area of the Pacific Ocean. [4]

The districts of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands were the primary subdivisions of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

The large distances between people, lack of an economy, language and cultural barriers, all worked against the union. The six district centers became upscale slums, containing deteriorated Japanese-built roads, with electricity, modern music and distractions, which led to alienated youth and elders. The remainder of the islands maintained their traditional way of life and infrastructure. [4]

A Congress of Micronesia first levied an income tax in 1971. It affected mainly foreigners working at military bases in the region. [5]

On October 21, 1986, the U.S. ended its administration of the Marshall Islands District. [6] The termination of U.S. administration of the Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and the Mariana Islands districts of the TTPI soon followed on November 3, 1986. [7] [8] The Security Council formally ended the trusteeship for the Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Mariana Islands, and Marshall Islands districts on December 22, 1990 pursuant to Security Council Resolution 683. [9] On May 25, 1994, the Council ended the trusteeship for the Palau District pursuant to Security Council Resolution 956, after which the U.S. and Palau agreed to establish the latter's independence on October 1. [10] [11]


In 1969, the 100 occupied islands comprised 700 square miles (1,800 km2) over an area of 3,000,000 square miles (7,800,000 km2) of sea. The latter area was comparable in size to the continental United States. [12] The water area is about 2% of the Pacific Ocean.


The population of the islands was 200,000 in the latter part of the 19th century. The population decreased to 100,000 by 1969 due to emigration, war, and disease. At that time, the population inhabited less than 100 out of 2,141 of the Marshall, Mariana, and Caroline Islands. [12]


In 1947 the Mariana Islands' Teacher Training School (MITTS), a normal school serving all areas of the Trust Territory, opened in Guam. [13] It moved to Chuuk in 1948, [14] to be more central in the Trust Territory, [13] and was renamed Pacific Islands' Teacher Training School (PITTS). [14] It transitioned from being a normal school to a comprehensive secondary school, so it was renamed the Pacific Islands Central School (PICS). The school moved to Pohnpei in 1959. [13] At the time it was a three-year institution housing students who graduated from intermediate schools. [15] The school, later known as Pohnpei Island Central School (PICS), [16] is now Bailey Olter High School. [17]

Palau Intermediate School, established in 1946, became Palau High School in 1962 as it added senior high grades. [18] From the late 1960s to the middle of the 1970s, several public high schools were built and/or received additions in the Trust Territory. They included Jaluit High School, Kosrae High School, Marshall Islands High School in Majuro, Palau High, PICS, and Truk High School (now Chuuk High School). The Micronesian Occupational College in Koror, Palau was also built. [19] It later merged with the Kolonia-based Community College of Micronesia, which began operations in 1969, into the College of Micronesia-FSM in 1976. [20]

Current status

The former area is now (2019) divided into four jurisdictions:

Sovereign states in free association with the United States

The following sovereign states have become freely associated with the United States under the Compact of Free Association (COFA).

Commonwealth in political union with the United States

See also

Related Research Articles

Federated States of Micronesia Island republic in Oceania

The Federated States of Micronesia is an independent republic 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 and some 4,000 km (2,485 mi) southwest of the main islands of Hawaii.

History of the Federated States of Micronesia

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.

Kosrae State in Federated States of Micronesia

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Flag of the Federated States of Micronesia flag

The flag of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) was adopted on 30 November 1978. The blue field represents the Pacific Ocean, while the four stars represent the states in the federation: Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap.

Flag of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

The flag of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) consisted of a light blue field that contained six white stars centered in a circle pattern. The stars symbolized the six districts of the former trusteeship: the Marianas, the Marshall Islands, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Palau. The blue field symbolized freedom and loyalty.

Pohnpei State state in Federated States of Micronesia

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 state in Federated States of Micronesia

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 State in Federated States of Micronesia

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.

College of Micronesia-FSM

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The Micronesian Games are a quadrennial international multi-sport event within the Micronesian region. The Games were first held in 1969 in Saipan. The 2010 Micronesian Games were initially due to be held in Majuro, until the hosts withdrew. The 2010 Games were hosted by Palau. The Federated States of Micronesia won the bidding to host the 2014 Micronesian Games in Pohnpei State, and later won again against CNMI for the 2018 Micronesian Games to be held in Yap State.

High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

The High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was an official who ruled the American Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a United Nations trusteeship in the Pacific Ocean under the administration of the United States, between 1947 and 1994. The territory consisted of islands captured by America during World War II, prior to which they had been part of the Empire of Japan as the South Pacific Mandate. After World War II, the United Nations placed the territory under the United States trusteeship as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The islands are now part of Palau, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Marshall Islands.

Xavier High School, Micronesia

Xavier High School is a Jesuit coeducational high school located on the island of Weno in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. It was established in 1952. It was the first high school in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Bishop Thomas Feeney, S.J., D.D. from the New York Province of the Society of Jesus originally envisioned a minor seminary to train local clergy. Soon after, Xavier Seminary became the first college preparatory school in the Western Pacific.

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.

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United Nations Security Council Resolution 683 United Nations Security Council resolution

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Postage stamps and postal history of the Federated States of Micronesia

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

Kosrae High School

Kosrae High School (KHS) is a secondary school in Tofol, Lelu municipality, Kosrae State, Federated States of Micronesia. It is a part of the Kosrae State Department of Education and is the island's sole high school.

Bailey Olter High School

Bailey Olter High School, formerly Pohnpei Island Central School (PICS), and Pacific Islands Central School, is a senior high school in Kolonia, Pohnpei Island, Pohnpei State, Federated States of Micronesia. As of 2018 the school, operated by the Pohnpei State Department of Education, has about 1,500 students, making it the state's largest high school. Its service area includes Kolonia, Nett, Sokehs, and U.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Encyclopædia Britannica : Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
  2. Astroth, Alexander (2019). Mass Suicides on Saipan and Tinian, 1944: An Examination of the Civilian Deaths in Historical Context. McFarland & Company. p. 85-98. ISBN   1476674566.
  3. "Trust Territory of the Pacific Archives Photos – University of Hawaii". University of Hawaii at Manoa Hamilton Library.
  4. 1 2 Kluge, P. F. (December 1971). "Micronesia: America's Troubled Island Ward". Readers Digest from the Beacon Magazine of Hawaii. Pleasantville, NY. p. 161.
  5. Glenn B. Martineau (September 1976). "Micronesia's Simplified Income Tax System". American Bar Association Journal. p.  1176–1178.
  6. "Marshall Islands (07/00)". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  7. "Background Notes: Micronesia 6/96". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  8. Reagan, Ronald. "Proclamation 5564 of November 3,1986" (PDF). Government Publishing Office.
  9. "Resolution 683 (1990)" (PDF). United Nations Security Council. December 22, 1990.
  10. "[USC04] 48 USC 1931: Approval of Compact of Free Association: Article VII". United States House. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  11. "Trusteeship Council formally suspends operation: Palau admitted to UN". UN Chronicle . March 1995.
  12. 1 2 "Remembering an adopted cousin". Time. New York City. May 23, 1969. p. 28.
  13. 1 2 3 Wuerch, William L. and Dirk Anthony Ballendorf. Historical Dictionary of Guam and Micronesia, 1994. ISBN   0810828588, 9780810828582. p.91.
  14. 1 2 Goetzfridt, Nicholas J. and Karen M. Peacock. Micronesian Histories: An Analytical Bibliography and Guide to Interpretations'. p. 190.
  15. Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Office of United Nations Political Affairs, 1961. p. 137. "The Pacific Islands Central School is the only public senior secondary school of the Territory. Students selected for further training following graduation from the district intermediate schools may go to the Pacific Islands Central School for 3 additional years of education."
  16. "TITLE: Pohnpei Island Central School : (papers, articles, etc.)."
  17. "Higher Education in the Federated States of Micronesia." Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia Washington DC. Retrieved on February 23, 2018. "Bailey Olter High School (former PICS) P.O. Box 250 Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941"
  18. "About." Palau High School. Retrieved on February 22, 2018.
  19. Compact of Free Association in the Micronesian States of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands: Environmental Impact Statement. United States Department of State, 1984. p. 36. "From the late 1960s to mid-1970s the major high school complexes throughout the Trust Territory were constructed: notably,[...]additions to the Ponape High School[...]"
  20. Thomas, R. Murray. "The U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Micronesia)" (Chapter 3). In: Thomas, R. Murray and T. Neville Postlethwaite (editors). Schooling in the Pacific Islands: Colonies in Transition . Elsevier, January 26, 2016. ISBN   1483148556, 9781483148557. Start: 67. CITED: p. 91.
  21. "Northern Mariana Islands". CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. March 27, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2014.

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Coordinates: 10°30′N152°00′E / 10.500°N 152.000°E / 10.500; 152.000