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This article is about the Pacific region known as Micronesia. Micronesia is often used to refer to the Federated States of Micronesia.

Micronesia (from the Greek words μικρόν = small and νησί = island) is the name of a region in the Pacific Ocean. The Philippines lie to the west, Indonesia to the south west, Papua New Guinea and Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the south-east and east.

The region consists of hundreds of small islands spread over a large region of the western Pacific. Politically, it is divided between seven territories: the Federated States of Micronesia (often referred to simply as "Micronesia"), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Nauru, the Republic of Kiribati, and the Territory of Guam. (The first four of these formerly constituted the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands).

All peoples in Micronesia speak Austronesian languages, and almost all of these languages belong to the Oceanic subgroup of Austronesian languages. Three exceptions are found in Western Micronesia: Chamorro in the Marianas, Yapese in the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palauan. These languages belong to the Western Malayo-Polynesian subgroup, which includes quite a few languages spoken today in the Philippines and Indonesia. (Kirch, Patrick Vinton: On the Road of the Winds. An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands before European Contact. Pages 166-167. Berkeley, LA 2000). On the eastern edge of the Federated States of Micronesia, the languages Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi represent an extreme westward extension of Polynesian.

See also: Micronesian music

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Last updated: 05-07-2005 17:31:51
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04