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Wednesday 12th June
Marshall Islands Facts
Micronesia includes the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Guam, Kiribati, Nauru, the Northern Mariana Islands and Palau.

Mircronesia means small islands.

The highest point in the Marshall Islands is 10 m (Likiep).

The RMI consists of two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands.

There are over one thousand, two hundred islands and islets in the Marshall Islands, covering over seven hundred and fifty thousand square miles in the Pacific Ocean.

It is thought that settlement in the Marshall Islands dates back four thousand years.

The Marshall Islands were sighted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers in the early sixteenth century.

Spain claimed the Marshall Islands in 1592.

The Marshall Islands were named by Captain Marshall, a British Naval Captain, in 1788.

The Germans annexed the Marshall Islands in 1885.

The Japanese colonized the Marshalls between the beginning of the First World War and the last years of the Second World War.

The US administration began in 1947 - the islands were part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, under United Nations authority. Other members of the Trust Territory were the Caroline Islands (FSM including Palau), and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The atolls of Bikini and Enewetak were used by the US in their nuclear weapons testing programme between 1946 and 1958.

The RMI achieved independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Many Marshallese have left the RMI to work in the United States.

In 1985 the residents of the island of Rongelap in the RMI asked Greenpeace to relocate them to a new home. Rongelap was contaminated by radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons in 1954.

A United Nations report in 1989 predicted that rising sea levels, caused by global warming, would seriously affect the Marshall Islands by 2030.

A US Geological Survey estimated that some of the Marshall Islands would be submerged by 2035 and other islands would have their drinking water contaminated by salt water.

In March 2014 a state of emergency was declared when the Marshall Islands suffered severe flooding.

In January 2016 Hilda Heine became the first female president of an independent Pacific island state.

Members of the University of the South Pacific in Suva are the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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