Facts and Factoids
- The Federated States of Micronesia is commonly known as FSM.
- The Federated States of Micronesia (literally Small Islands) is a country spread across 1500 miles of the western Pacific Ocean. It comprises more than 600 of the Caroline Islands, but only 65 are inhabited.
- Its part of the even larger area of the Pacific, known as Micronesia, which also incorporates Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Palau and Nauru. Micronesia, as a whole, is known as The Islands of the Seven Seas.
- The flag is light blue, with four white stars, These represent the four islands that make up FSM. The blue field represents the Pacific Ocean.
- FSM sits just north of the Equator around 7 or 8 degrees.
- The total population is around 100,000 people.
- FSM is home to the longest-running humanitarian airlift in the world. At Christmas, every year, the US Air Force, opertaing from Guam, parachutes donated gifts and humanitarian supplies to many of the tiny dotted islands. Operation Christmas Drop has taken place every year since 1952.
Who Colonised Micronesia?
- The islands, inhabited by Micronesian and Polynesian peoples, possibly since 1000 BC, were colonised by Spain in the seventeenth century (not formally until 1886). Germany then purchased them from Spain, in 1898. They were seized by the USA, after World War II.
- The four island states: Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap, which form the FSM, became an independent country in 1986.
Is Micronesia a Part of the United States?
FSM is an independent country, but has an association with the U.S.A, who administer the country. The U.S.A. is responsible for the defence of the FSM (there is no Micronesian army) and the currency is the U.S. dollar.
Is Micronesia Safe to Visit?
The islands of Micronesia are generally considered to be safe. However, women are particularly advised to exercise caution when travelling alone in secluded areas. specially in Chuuk, where crime rates are higher than in the other states; the advice is stay off the streets after dark on Weno (the main island). But I didn't have any problems.
As in many of the poorer Pacific islands there is a lot of litter.
Where to Visit in Micronesia?
Micronesia is one of the least visited countries in the world. It only receives around 30,000 tourists a year. But it's well worth the trip. All four states have different attractions:
- Kosrae is wild and very beautiful
- Pohnpei is great for surfing, snorkelling and the ruins of Nan Madol
- I was warned to be careful in Chuuk. The urban areas are not very atractive - and there is heaps of litter, especially on some of the island beaches. but the wreck diving, in the lagoon, is world renowned.
- Yap is culturally the most interesting with its pointy roofed houses, enclosed villages and stone money (rai). There are also world war relics, great snorkelling and visits to see the manta rays.