The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is an independent, sovereign nation consisting of four island states: Pohnpei, Yap, Chuuk and Kosrae. The FSM is a member of the United Nations. In the post-WW II era, it was a trust territory of the United States, but gained independence in 1986 and now operates as an associated state to the US under a treaty called the Compact of Free Association.
Micronesia as a region occupies a large area in the Pacific, bordering and above the equator. It includes Guam and Saipan which are part of the United States and five sovereign nations: Palau, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the FSM. The FSM itself is comprised of over 600 islands and covers over a million of square miles of ocean.
Country name: Federated States of Micronesia
Capital: Palikir (Pohnpei State)
Official language: English
Area: Total 702 ㎢(271 sq mi)
Population: 104,468 (as of 2019)
Currency: US Dollar
Political system: Federal, representative democratic republic. The president is both head of state and head of government. The federation is divided in four states: Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap. Each has its own constitution, elected legislature, and governor.
President: David W. Panuelo
The unicameral Congress has fourteen members elected by popular vote. Four senators—one from each state—serve four-year terms; the remaining ten senators represent single-member districts based on population (five from Chuuk, three from Pohnpei, one each from Yap and Kosrae), and serve two-year terms.
The FSM enjoys the Compact of Free Association with the United States, with the US retaining the full defense authority and responsibilities as well as some diplomatic authority.
The FSM consists of 607 islands scattered along the equator in the northern hemisphere of the Pacific Ocean. It is also known as the Caroline Islands. They cover an area of 702 ㎢, scattered across more than 7.8 million ㎢ of the Pacific Ocean, extending about 3,200 km from east to west and about 1,200 km from north to south.
The FSM consists of four states – from west to east, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. Each state has its own state government, unique geography, ecosystem, language and culture.
・Yap State consist of four large islands, seven outer islands and 134 atolls.
・Chuuk State consists of seven large islands.
・Pohnpei State has the largest island in the FSM, Pohnpei Island and the total land area is 335 ㎢.
・Kosrae State consists of one island and the total land area is 110 ㎢.
The islands in the FSM are mostly volcanic which has created countless atolls.
Map of the Federated States of Micronesia (Click to see the map)
The FSM enjoys a tropical climate, with relatively even and warm temperatures throughout the year. Average temperature is 27°C (81°F) and average humidity is 80%.
Pohnpei is one of the wettest places on earth with over 10,000 mm of rain per year.
Official language is English. Indigenous languages are also spoken on the islands, such as Yapese, Chuukese, Pohnpeian and Kosraean. Many Japanese words are found in these languages and some of the elderly can speak Japanese.
Most Micronesians are Christian.
・50% – Catholic
・47% – Protestant
・3% – Others
Electricity: Standard 110V/60HZ and US type outlets are used. The voltage may go up to 110-120V due to the instability of the voltage.
Water: Bottled water or boiled tap water is recommended for drinking. Tap water can be used for gargling and brushing teeth.
Time: The FSM has two time zones. Yap and Chuuk are 1 hour ahead of Japan or UTC +10 hours. Pohnpei and Kosrae are 2 hours ahead of Japan or UTC +11 hours.
Hotel: All states have several hotels. Average rate is US$85-100 per night. Most hotels accept major credit cards.
Restaurant: There are restaurants that offer various kinds of cuisine, such as Japanese, Chinese, American, Filipino, International and Pacific. Most restaurants and bars accept major credit cards, but some do not, so it is recommended that you bring cash (in USD) as well.
Tipping: Tips are welcomed, but not expected.
Sightseeing: The FSM has many sightseeing spots and ways to enjoy its beautiful ocean and natural environment, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, fishing, trekking, and touring waterfalls and ruins. Pohnpei State is also home to Nan Madol, a World Heritage Site and the largest archaeological site in the Pacific region.
The FSM has a rich history dating back several thousand years. The islands were originally settled by ancient people sailing east from Asia and north from Polynesia.
From around 500 AD, artificial islands began to be built on what is now Pohnpei Island and from around the 11th century, a dynasty ruled the entire island of Pohnpei.
From the 16th to the 19th century, Spain and Germany ruled the islands. During this period Christianity was introduced. After World War I, the League of Nations assigned Japan to administer the islands in 1920. At that time, more than 80,000 Japanese lived in Micronesia, and they focused on the development of infrastructure, agriculture and fisheries.
When World War II broke out, Micronesia became one of the most important bases for the Japanese army. However, the US military launched an offensive in 1944 that ended Japanese administration with the end of the war.
In 1947, Micronesia was administered by the United States under the United Nations auspices as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
In May 1979, the Federated States of Micronesia, consisting of the four states of Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae, regained sovereignty – and later became independent in November 1986.
In 1991, the FSM became a member of the United Nations.