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Map of Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising hundreds of small islands in the western Pacific Oceanmarker. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippinesmarker and Indonesiamarker lie to the west.

The name Micronesia derives from the Greek mikros (μικρός), meaning small, and nesos (νῆσος), meaning island. The term was first proposed to distinguish the region in 1831 by Jules Dumont d'Urville.

History

The only empire known to have originated in Micronesia was based in Yapmarker. Much of the area was to come under European domination quite early. Guammarker, the Northern Marianasmarker, and the Caroline Islandsmarker (what would later become the FSM and Palau) were colonized early by the Spanish. These island territories were part of the Spanish East Indies and governed from the Spanish Philippinesmarker since the early 17th century until 1898. Full European expansion did not come, however, until the early 20th century, when the area would be divided between:

During the First World War, Germany's Pacific island territories were taken from it and became League of Nations Mandates in 1923. Nauru became an Australian mandate, while Germany's other territories in Micronesia were given as a mandate to Japanmarker and were named the South Pacific Mandate. This remained the situation until Japan's defeat in the Second World War, when its mandate became a United Nations Trusteeship ruled by the United States, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Today, most of Micronesia consists of independent states, with the exceptions of Guam and Wake Island, which are U.S. territories, and the Northern Mariana Islands, which form a U.S. Commonwealth.

People

The people today form many ethnicities, but are all descended from and belong to the Micronesian culture. The Micronesian culture was one of the last native cultures of the region to develop. It developed from a mixture of Melanesians, Filipinos and Polynesians.Because of this mixture of descent, many of the ethnicities of Micronesia feel closer to some groups in Melanesia, Polynesia or the Philippinesmarker. A good example of this are the Yapese who are related to Austronesian tribes in the Northern Philippinesmarker.

Languages

The native languages of the various Micronesian indigenous peoples are classified under the Austronesian language family. Almost all of these languages belong to the Oceanic subgroup of this family; however, two exceptions are noted in Western Micronesia, which belong to the Western Malayo-Polynesian subgroup: This latter subgroup also includes most languages spoken today in the Philippinesmarker, Malaysiamarker, and Indonesiamarker (Kirch, 2000: pp. 166-167).

On the eastern edge of the Federated States of Micronesia, the languages Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi represent an extreme westward extension of Polynesian.

Associated Islands

The following islands and groups of islands are considered part of Micronesia:

Regional organizations

The region is home to the Micronesian Games, a quadrennial international multi-sport event involving all Micronesia's countries and territories except Wake Island.

In September 2007, journalists in the region founded the Micronesian Media Association .

See also



References




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