The first inhabitants of the islands that are
now part of the Micronesian Federation probably came
from the southeast (possibly the Fiji area) about 4,000
years ago, but the data vary between different sources.
An exception is the state of Yap in the far west, which
was probably populated for millennia before our time
count began by people from present Indonesia or the
For several centuries, the chiefs of Yap ruled over
all the surrounding islands. In the Yap kingdom, huge
round boulders were used as means of payment - in
traditional contexts these are still paid today.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Micronesia, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In the 16th century, the islands were discovered by
Portuguese and Spanish seafarers. During the 19th
century they were used as bases for British electorate.
From the middle of the same century, Christian
missionaries began to operate on the islands, at the
same time as the trade in coconuts developed.
In 1886, Spain made the entire archipelago of the
Carolinians (which includes the Micronesian Federation)
into its colony. However, it was already sold to Germany
in 1899, which in turn transferred the islands to Japan
at the outbreak of the First World War. Japan was
mandated in 1920 to manage the islands by the United
Nations' forerunner of the League of Nations. So many
Japanese moved to the islands that in the end they were
more than the indigenous people.