How Wars Changed Control of Micronesia

Micronesia includes over 600 Pacific islands; making it vital to shipping interests. Crucial to refueling, resupplying, and strategic positioning, Western powers continually set their sights on the islands, which continually became a key bargaining chip in 19th and 20th Century peace negotiations.
In losing the Spanish-American War, Spain was dealt not just a military defeat, but an economic one as well. Losing the financially and militarily strategic islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam, Spain was in dire need for cash.  Having suffered the loss of much of its Pacific fleet, Spain also lacked the ability to administer the remainder of its Pacific Territory. In 1899, Germany offered to help Spain out by taking Micronesia off their hands. A few million dollars also changed hands and suddenly Germany had a massive starting point for Pacific bases. The people of Micronesia went from Spanish rule to German rule. It wouldn't last long.

Germany and the Central Powers lost. Britain, France, and a few other players got to divvy Germany's young empire. Their focus gazed primarily upon Africa and the Middle East. Micronesia was mandated to the control of emerging Pacific power Japan. The people of Micronesia went from Spanish to German to Japanese rule. It wouldn't last long.

Japan and the Axis Powers lost. Britain, France, and a few other major Western powers were focused on rebuilding their countries and maintaining holds on their colonies. With the creation of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Micronesia came under the watch of the United States; which had emerged from WWII as the greatest naval power in the Pacific. The people of Micronesia went from Spanish to German to Japanese to U.S. rule. It wouldn't last long. 

On November 3, 1986, Micronesia gained independence by entering into the Compact of Free Association with the U.S. Ever since, Micronesia has been independent. The people of Micronesia went from Spanish to German to Japanese to U.S. to self-rule. Hopefully, it will remain independent for a long time. 

Thanks for reading.

Speaking of Pacific islands, the French collectivity Wallis and Futina has four different triangles on its flag. Click here to find out why.

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Image attribution: By TUBS - Own workThis vector graphics image was created with Adobe Illustrator.This file was uploaded with Commonist.This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  Kiribati on the globe (Polynesia centered).svg (by TUBS)., CC BY-SA 3.0,

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