Independence Day in Micronesia
Although the Federated States of Micronesia is a country that’s made up of over 600 islands that are spread across the western Pacific Ocean, it only has a population of just over 15,000 people. It’s a country that celebrates its independence on the first Friday in November.
In Micronesia, Independence Day is a public holiday that’s celebrated in all of the four Micronesian states. It’s observed in Chuuk, Kosrae, Yap and Pohnpei. On November 3rd, 1986, Micronesia gained its independence. Since this is a public holiday in Micronesia, it’s a day off for most people and a day when schools, businesses, and government offices are closed.
The History Of Independence Day In The Federated States Of Micronesia
Although the islands of Micronesia have been settled since before 1,000 BCE, it wasn’t until the 16th century that Spanish navigators began to arrive on the islands. This was followed by European traders and whalers and by 1886, Spain had colonized the Carolines. This rule ended in 1899, however, and the island was sold to Germany after the end of the Spanish-American War.
At the outbreak of WWI, the Japanese would gain possession of the islands and in 1920, the League of Nations gave Japan a formal title to them. The Japanese would then try to build the island’s economy and they finally fortified them right before the outbreak of World War II.
After Japan’s loss in WWII, the islands would become a UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under administration by the U.S government. During the late 1960s, Micronesia began to negotiate with the U.S for full self-government. In 1975, the islands drafted a constitution and it would go into effect in 1979. In 1983, voters approved the Compact of Free Association with the U.S and it went into effect on November 3rd, 1986. This essentially gave the islands the ability to self-govern themselves, although the U.S is still responsible for their defense.
Observing Independence Day In The Federated States Of Micronesia
Each state in Micronesia celebrates this holiday in its own way, but there are some similarities between the various celebrations. There are parades, festivals, and dance competitions, as well as musical events and flag-raising ceremonies.