Micronesia, Federated States of, an independent island country in the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 607 coral atolls and volcanic islands and islets, and includes all the Carolines except the Palau Islands. Although the federation encompasses a vast area of the Pacific, it has a total land area of only some 267 square miles (692 km 2 ). Its leading industries are fishing and agriculture; its major product is copra.
The federation consists of four states—Yap, Ponape (Pohnpei), Kosrae, and Truk (Chuuk). Palikir, on Ponape, is the capital. Micronesia is a self-governing republic in free association with the United States. The United States provides military protection and economic and technical assistance. The country has an elected president and congress. Each state also has its own elected executive and legislature. The people speak various Micronesian dialects. English is also spoken.
The islands were first settled by Asians about 4,000 years ago. Spain claimed the islands in the 16th century but did not colonize them. In 1899 Germany purchased them from Spain. Japan administered Micronesia after World War I under a League of Nations mandate.
The islands were the scene of intense fighting between Japanese and American forces during World War II. In 1947 Micronesia became part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, administered by the United States. Internal self-government was granted in 1979. In 1986 the Federated States of Micronesia became independent and signed a compact of free association with the United States. It was admitted to the United Nations in 1991. A severe typhoon caused widespread damage in 1997.