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The Caroline Islands form a large archipelago of widely scattered islands in the western Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Guinea. Historically, this area was also called Nuevas Filipinas or New Philippines as they were part of the Spanish East Indies and governed from Manila in the Philippines.
The group consists of about 500 small coral islands, east of the Philippines, in the Pacific Ocean; the distance from Manila to Yap, one of the larger islands of the group, is 1200 miles.Most of the islands comprise low, flat coral atolls, but some rise high above sea level.
People and culture
The native inhabitants speak a variety of Micronesian languages including Yapese, Pohnpeian, Chuukese, Carolinian and Kosraean, as well as the Western Malayo-Polynesian language Palauan. Other significant populations include Filipinos and Japanese.
The natives live mainly by horticulture and fishing, also supplementing their diet with many different varieties of bananas and taro, either of the "swamp" or "purple" varieties. On some islands housing continues to be built with local materials including coconut thatch. The language spoken in commerce is English, but there are several indigenous languages. They traditionally believe in a Supreme Being (Yalafar) and in a bad spirit (Can), yet they have hardly any religious rites. Due to extensive missionary work, Christianity is the primary religion practiced in this region of Micronesia.
It took about five stopovers by five different European ships before the name "Islas de Carolina" was used to refer to the stretch of islands located south of Guam. The name finally stuck when in 1686, a Spaniard by the name of Francisco Lazcano, named them after King Charles II of Spain who funded the expedition.
Some few Western travellers subsequently visited the islands, but an early visit of missionaries (1732) resulted in one of several murderous attacks on the newcomers; and only in 1875 did Spain, claiming the group, make some attempt to assert her rights. The Caroline Islands were subsequently placed under the Spanish East Indies, administered from the Philippines. Germany, which had occupied Yap, disputed the Spanish claim, and the matter went to the arbitration of Pope Leo XIII in 1885. He decided in favor of Spain, but gave Germany free trading rights. The Spanish did not occupy any island formally until 1886.
Then on June 1, 1899 in the German-Spanish Treaty (1899), as a consequence of the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain sold the islands to Germany for 25,000,000 pesetas (nearly 1,000,000 pounds sterling), which administered them as Karolinen, administratively associated with German New Guinea.
Japan occupied the islands in 1914 and received a League of Nations mandate over them in 1920. During World War II, Japan had a large base at Truk Lagoon, which the Allies effectively neutralized in Operation Hailstone. After the war, the islands became trust territories of the United States.
After Doomsday the Caroline Islands suffered from a minimal amount of fallout from the strikes on Guam but generally faired well. more to come....