Chuuk State

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Chuuk State
State
Flag of Chuuk State
Map of Chuuk State
Map of Chuuk State
Coordinates: 7°25′N 151°47′E / 7.417°N 151.783°E / 7.417; 151.783Coordinates: 7°25′N 151°47′E / 7.417°N 151.783°E / 7.417; 151.783
CountryFederated States of Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia
CapitalWeno
Government
 • GovernorJohnson Elimo (since 2011)
Area
 • Total121.5 km2 (46.9 sq mi)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total48,654
 • Density400/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeFM-TRK
Websitewww.fm/chuuk.htm
Chuukese kids eating candy.

Chuuk State (/ˈk/; also known as Truk) is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The other states are Kosrae State, Pohnpei State, and Yap State. It consists of several island groups:

Chuuk is the most populous state of the FSM with 50,000 inhabitants on 120 square kilometres (46 square miles). Chuuk Lagoon is where most people live. Weno Island in the lagoon functions as state capital and is FSM's biggest city. It is scheduled to possibly vote for independence in 2022.

History[edit]

Indigenous settlement[edit]

Catholic Church in Tonowas island, Chuuk (from a book published in 1932)

It is not known when the islands of Chuuk were first settled, but archaeological evidence indicates that islands of Feefen and Wééné Islands had human settlements in the first and second century BC. Later evidence indicates that widespread human settlements appeared in Chuuk during the 14th century AD, as the Chuukese culture was formed.[1]

Spanish colonization[edit]

The first sighting recorded by Europeans was made by the Spanish navigator Alvaro de Saavedra on board the Florida during August or September 1528. They were later visited by the Spaniard Alonso de Arellano on January 15, 1565 on board the galleon patache San Lucas.

As part of the Caroline Islands, Truk was claimed by the Spanish Empire, which struggled to control the islands in the late 19th century. The Chuuk Lagoon was then inhabited by Chuukese people (an Austronesian group) that participated in intermittent wars, as well as a small population of foreign merchants and missionaries, mostly linked to the Catholic Church. Spanish control over the islands was in part nominal. The Spanish stopped to raise a flag over Chuuk in 1886, and returned in 1895 as part of an attempt to assert control and negotiate peace between the tribes of Chuuk. No major Spanish settlement was established and traditional life continued until the German colonial era.

German and Japanese rule[edit]

The Caroline Islands were sold to the German Empire in 1899, after Spain withdrew from the Pacific after the Spanish-American War in which it lost its main colony in Asia, the Philippines. Germany incorporated the territory into its domain in the German New Guinea.

During World War I, the Japanese navy was tasked with pursuing and destroying the German East Asian squadron and protecting the shipping lanes of Allied trade in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. During the course of this operation, the Japanese Navy seized German possessions in the Mariana Islands, the Carolinas, the Marshall Islands and Palau groups by October 1914. Chuuk then became a possession of the Empire of Japan under the mandate of the League of Nations after the defeat of Germany in World War I.

Attack on the Japanese naval base on Dublon Island, current state of Chuuk

United States rule[edit]

Chuuk was one of six districts of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) which were administered by the United States under charter from the United Nations from the end of the Second World War to the mid-1980s. The termination of U.S. administration of the Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Mariana Islands districts of the TTPI occurred on November 3, 1986.

Independence[edit]

The Federated States of Micronesia, including Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, and Pohnpei, was established in 1979 and signed a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. (effective November 3, 1986).

On July 2, 2002, heavy rains from Tropical Storm Chataan caused more than thirty landslides that killed forty-seven people and injured dozens of others, in the state's deadliest weather disaster. The landslides occurred throughout the day, some within just minutes of each other.

As of recent times, Chuuk has been pushing harder for independence. An independence referendum was originally scheduled to coincide with federal elections on March 3, 2015, but was pushed back to March 5, 2019. The independence referendum was further pushed back to March 2022, with a date to be announced, while the constitutional legality of the proposed secession is determined.[2]

Geography[edit]

To the west is Yap State. To the east are Pohnpei State and Kosrae State is further east.

Weno island, Chuuk

The main population center of Chuuk State is the Chuuk Lagoon, a large archipelago with mountainous islands surrounded by a string of islets on a barrier reef.[citation needed] The two major geographical and dialectic divisions of the Chuuk Lagoon are Faichuuk, the western islands, and Namoneas, the eastern islands.

Chuuk State also includes several more sparsely populated "outer island" groups, including the Mortlock Islands to the southeast, the Hall Islands (Pafeng) to the north, Namonuito Atoll to the northwest, and the Pattiw Region to west. The Pattiw Region is of particular interest in that it has some of the most traditional islands in the Pacific and is culturally related to outer islands of Yap. This group includes the islands of Pollap, Tamatam, Poluwat, and Houk. There are still traditional master navigators—Poluwat and Pollap are considered to have some of the best navigators and ocean-going outrigger canoes in the Pacific. In the islands of the Pattiw Region, and some of the Islands of Yap, are the last two remaining schools of navigation, Weriyeng and Faaluush. Visiting the Pattiw Region in the west, however, is difficult due to the lack of reliable transportation. Houk probably has the most accessible airstrip in the Pattiw Region, with planes landing every one or two weeks.

The state shares its longitude with Sydney, Australia, namely the eastern portion of the city including the CBD.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Weno, Chuuk
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33
(91)
32
(90)
32
(90)
33
(92)
33
(91)
33
(92)
33
(92)
33
(92)
34
(93)
33
(92)
33
(91)
33
(91)
34
(93)
Average high °C (°F) 29.9
(85.8)
29.9
(85.8)
30.2
(86.4)
30.4
(86.7)
30.7
(87.3)
30.7
(87.3)
30.6
(87.1)
30.7
(87.3)
30.7
(87.3)
30.7
(87.3)
30.7
(87.3)
30.2
(86.4)
30.4
(86.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.4
(81.3)
27.5
(81.5)
27.6
(81.7)
27.7
(81.9)
27.8
(82.0)
27.7
(81.9)
27.4
(81.3)
27.4
(81.3)
27.5
(81.5)
27.6
(81.7)
27.7
(81.9)
27.6
(81.7)
27.6
(81.7)
Average low °C (°F) 24.9
(76.8)
25.0
(77.0)
25.1
(77.2)
25.0
(77.0)
24.9
(76.8)
24.6
(76.3)
24.2
(75.6)
24.2
(75.6)
24.2
(75.6)
24.3
(75.7)
24.6
(76.3)
25.0
(77.0)
24.7
(76.5)
Record low °C (°F) 21
(69)
21
(70)
22
(71)
22
(71)
21
(70)
21
(70)
21
(70)
21
(70)
20
(68)
19
(66)
21
(70)
21
(70)
19
(66)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 228
(8.98)
163
(6.42)
230
(9.05)
291
(11.46)
354
(13.94)
301
(11.84)
365
(14.37)
350
(13.77)
307
(12.07)
361
(14.23)
282
(11.10)
293
(11.55)
3,525
(138.78)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 14.8 12.2 14.9 16.2 21.2 20.3 20.8 21.0 18.6 20.0 20.0 18.8 218.8
Average relative humidity (%) 78.7 77.7 78.7 81.0 82.6 82.9 83.9 83.2 83.0 83.1 81.9 80.8 81.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 195.3 197.8 217.0 195.0 192.2 180.0 195.3 195.3 177.0 161.2 162.0 167.4 2,235.5
Source 1: Hong Kong Observatory (sun 1961–1990)[3]
Source 2: NOAA [4]

Demographics[edit]

Chuuk is the most populous of the FSM's states. At the census held on 1 April 2000, it had 53,595 inhabitants, compared with 34,486 for Pohnpei, 11,241 for Yap and 7,686 for Kosrae; at the census held on 4 April 2010, it had 48,654 inhabitants, compared with 36,196 for Pohnpei, 11,377 for Yap and 6,616 for Kosrae.[5]

Jeep island, Chuuk State

Religion[edit]

The majority of the state's population is affiliated with Christianity as a result of the activity of missionary groups first from Spain and then from Germany and the United States. Catholicism was introduced during the Spanish colonisation period, followed by the arrival of various Protestant groups. The main religious building in the state is the Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral[6] in Tunnuk, Weno, which is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of the Caroline Islands (Diocese Carolinensium) suffragan of the ecclesiastical province of Agaña in Guam. Other churches in the state include Sacred Heart Church on Lekinioch Island, Christ the King Church in Neiwe, Houk Catholic Church, Holy Family Church in Weno, St. Ignatius Church[7] in Fonoton, among others.

Culture[edit]

Jesuit mission at Weno[edit]

The New York Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) maintains a mission school on the island of Weno in Chuuk. Xavier High School is housed at the former Japanese communications center. It is a coeducational institution, drawing students from all the island groups of the Federated States of Micronesia, as well as Palau and the Marshall Islands. Teachers are both Jesuit and lay and come from Micronesia, the U.S., Indonesia, Japan, and Australia.[citation needed]

Spirit possession[edit]

Although Chuuk is an overwhelmingly Christian society, traditional beliefs in spirit possession by the dead still exist. Allegedly, these spirits overwhelmingly possess women, and spirit possession is usually brought on by family conflicts. The spirits, speaking through the women, typically admonish family members to treat each other better.[8]

Cultural references[edit]

There are some references on the Chuukese language, treating guests, and on beliefs in the sci-fi book "Reefsong" from Carol Severance.[citation needed]

Municipalities[edit]

Of the 40 municipalities of the state, 16 fall within the Chuuk Lagoon and 24 in the Outer Islands.

In the table below, each is followed by its population at the 2010 Census:[9]

Education[edit]

Chuuk State Department of Education operates public schools.

Public high schools:[10]

Private secondary schools:[11]

Private primary schools:[10]

  • Pentecostal Light House Academy
  • Saint Cecilia School
  • Seventh Day Adventist Mission School

Tourism[edit]

Chuuk State received the largest number of visitors of any of the Federated States of Micronesia. However tourism is relatively under-developed. In the FSM's Development Plan for Chuuk, published in 2016, factors which disadvantaged the development of tourism in Chuuk included a lack of infrastructure, in particular irregular ferries between islands and a lack of regular electricity supplies on all islands apart from Weno. The report recognised that it is primarily Chuuk's underwater assets that would bring tourism, including its marine diversity and the Second World War shipwrecks around the coast.[12] Where tourism does exist, it is reliant on the diving industry, which was established in the islands by Kimiuo Aisek.[13] A legacy of his work to make Chuuk a dive destination was the establishment of the Kimiuo Aisek Memorial Museum.[14]

The American attacks on the Japanese fleet in 1944 were such that today Truk lagoon is the largest underwater military cemetery in the world (60 ships and 400 aircraft scattered over several kilometres), which attracts divers from all over the world. The diving conditions are very good (visibility 15-40 metres, variations in depth, minor currents, 700 varieties of fish, generous coral). However, this source of income is jeopardised by preservation issues, from rapidly disintegrating carcasses to dynamite fishing that rapidly destroys whole sections of the graveyard.[15]

Small tank on the Nippo Maru. Sunk during World War II.

See also[edit]

  • Chuuk Women's Council, a non-governmental women's rights organisation based in Weno.
  • Habele, a South Carolina-based charity providing private economic educational assistance in Chuuk.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goodenough, Ward Hunt (1 January 2002). Under Heaven's Brow: Pre-Christian Religious Tradition in Chuuk. American Philosophical Society. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-87169-246-7.
  2. ^ Graue, Catherine (5 March 2019). "Chuuk independence vote was to be today but citizens now have another year". ABC Radio Australia. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Climatological Information for Truk, Pacific Islands, United States". Hong Kong Observatory. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  4. ^ "TRUK ISLAND/CAROLINE ISLANDS PI Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  5. ^ Office of Statistics, Budget and Economic Management, Overseas Development Assistance and Compact Management.
  6. ^ "Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral". GCatholic. Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  7. ^ "Saint Ignatius Catholic Church church, Chuuk, Micronesia". fm.geoview.info. Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  8. ^ Hezel, Francis X. 1993 Spirit Possession in Chuuk: Socio-Cultural Interpretation. Micronesian Counselor 11
  9. ^ 2010 Census Basic Table - Chuuk
  10. ^ a b c "School location." Chuuk State Department of Education. Retrieved on February 28, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "Higher Education in the Federated States of Micronesia Archived 2017-10-14 at the Wayback Machine." Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia Washington DC. Retrieved on February 23, 2018.
  12. ^ Chuuk State Regional Development Plan. Chuck State Economic Development Commission. 2016.
  13. ^ "Kimio Aisek - Submerged". Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  14. ^ Post, Dianne Strong | Special to The Guam Daily. "Internationally known, Chuukese-owned dive shop going strong past 45 years". The Guam Daily Post. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  15. ^ à 13h58, Par Ludivine Trichot Le 17 juillet 2017 (2017-07-17). "Le plus grand cimetière sous marin du monde en Micronésie". leparisien.fr (in French). Retrieved 2021-09-13.

External links[edit]