Federated States of Micronesia

Federated States of Micronesia





Quick reference

General issues: United States trust territory/Self government 1984-1986, Republic 1986-Present

Country name on general issues: Micronesia

Currency: 1 Dollar = 100 Cents 1984-Present

Population: 90 200 in 1986, 105 200 in 2015

Political history Micronesia

Postal history Micronesia

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The Federated States of Micronesia are located in the northwestern Pacific Ocean and form the larger part of the Caroline Islands. The indigenous population is predominantly Micronesian.  The first Europeans to explore the islands were the Portuguese and the Spanish in the 16th century. Spain claimed, but did not settle, the islands until 1885. The Spanish presence on the islands was short lived. After the 1898 Spanish-American War, Spain had to cede its main possession in the Pacific, the Philippines. Subsequently, Spain decided to withdraw from the Pacific entirely and sold the Caroline Islands to Germany in 1899.

German rule was also short lived. At the outbreak of WWI, Japan occupied the islands in 1914. Germany formally ceded the islands, in 1919, by way of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1920, the Caroline Islands were made part of the League of Nations South Pacific mandate – administered by Japan. When Japan left the League of Nations in 1936, the islands were annexed as an integral part of the Japanese Empire. During WWII, the United States occupied the islands in 1944-1945.


Although Micronesia has potential for tourism, the sector has, as yet, been little developed.

After WWII, in 1947, the islands were made part of the United Nations trust territory of the Pacific Islands administered by the United States. Aside from the Caroline Islands, the trust territory comprised the Mariana Islands and the Marshall Islands. The Caroline Islands themselves were divided into four districts: Palau, Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei. Kosrae was established as a fifth district in 1977.  In the 1970’s, the trust territory started to move towards independence. The Mariana Islands became the United States commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands – which it is until today. The Marshall Islands became the independent republic of the Marshall Islands. Likewise the Palau district of the Caroline Islands gained independence as the republic of Palau.

The Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae districts became states of the Federated States of Micronesia in 1979, and as such gained self government.[1]Pohnpei was called Ponape until 1984 and Chuuk was known as Truk until 1989. In 1986, the Federated States of Micronesia gained independence as a federal republic in free association with the United States. The United States – among other things – remains responsible for the defense of the islands. The United Nations formally ended the trusteeship of the United States in 1990.

Economically, the indigenous population traditionally depended on subsistence agriculture and fishing, which are, currently, still important economic activities. The services sector – including government employment – has become the most important sector, but mainly depends on United States subsidies. The population is largely indigenous and is divided into subgroups largely corresponding with the four states. Of these, the population of the state of Chuuk is the largest group.

Postal history Micronesia

Postal history Micronesia

1994 – Native costume from the state of Yap.

The Germans opened the first post office in the Caroline Islands in 1899, using stamps designated ‘Karolinen’. These were used until 1914. Japanese stamps were used in the South Pacific Mandate and after annexation to the Japanese Empire. In the Trust Territory of the Pacific, stamps of the United States were used. The Federated States of Micronesia issued stamps from 1984. The stamps issued since then are a blend of issues with themes of national interest, and a significant number of issues with themes aimed at the thematic collectors market.





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2 Responses to Micronesia

  1. William Smith

    In Political history Micronesia paragraph 3, second-last sentence, “Marshal Islands” should be “Marshall Islands”

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