In The People of The Trees, Perina and Tallent journey to the fictional Micronesian states of U'ivu and Ivu'ivu. While these particular islands are fictitious, the region of Micronesia, literally "small island" in Greek is composed of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean, north of Australia.
From 1947, most of the nearly 2,500 islands that make up Micronesia were administered by the United States as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1986, the Trust Territory was dissolved into four constitutional governments: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Belau (Palau), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. All four have continuing political and economic relationships with the United States. As do the other key islands or island groups in Micronesia: Kiribati, Guam, Nauru and Wake Island.
The Micronesian region, made up of volcanic and coral islands, is shaped like a parallelogram with its corners formed by the Republic of Belau in the southwest; Kiribati in the southeast; Guam in the northwest; and the Marshall Islands in the northeast (see map above). At 225 square miles, the US territory of Guam is the largest island in Micronesia, home to over 180,000 people. The Republic of Nauru is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a total area of nine square miles. While Micronesia refers to the region as a whole, it is not to be confused with the Federated States of Micronesia which is an independent sovereign nation formed around the Caroline Islands archipelago with its capital at Palikir (see map below).
The people of Micronesia are a mixture of Melanesians (Greek: "black island"), Polynesians (Greek : "many islands") and Filipinos.
Traditional foods include starchy vegetables such as taro root and yams; fish and shellfish. The islands also tend to have plentiful fruits including banana, coconut, papaya, mango, breadfruit and citrus.
As do most other cultures around the world, the Micronesians mark events like births, deaths, adolescence and marriages with traditional celebrations. For example, a hair-cutting ceremony marks male puberty on the Micronesian island of Yap.
This article was originally published in September 2013, and has been updated for the
May 2014 paperback release.
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