The six hundred islands and atolls that make up the Federated States of Micronesia cover a million square miles of the Pacific Ocean, but only comprise 270 square miles of land. The country is divided into four states, each represented by a star on the light blue national flag. The states are Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae and Yap. The capital, Palikir, is on the island of Pohnpei, as is the financial centre, Kolonia, the administrative centre of the former colonial powers. These were, in succession, Spain, Germany and Japan. The islanders depend on fishing and subsistence farming. There is potential for tourism, however the infrastructure is poor. The island of Yap is famous for its stone money; huge discs four metres in diameter which represent the owners’ wealth. These were brought from other islands, some from great distances. The culture of the island is based on clan affiliations. There is a tradition of stick dancing and of chanting songs, though few instruments are used. Dances take place to celebrate weddings and other special occasions. Evidence of the islands’ former culture is seen in the ruins of Nan Madol, a series of artificial islands, known as the ‘Venice of the Pacific’.
|Capital of Micronesia||Palikir|
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