Chuuk (atoll)

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NASA image of Chuuk Atoll (view from north)
NASA image of Chuuk Atoll
(view from north)
Waters Pacific Ocean
archipelago Carolines
Geographical location 7 ° 26 '  N , 151 ° 51'  E Coordinates: 7 ° 26 '  N , 151 ° 51'  E
Chuuk (Atoll) (Federated States of Micronesia)
Chuuk (atoll)
Number of islands 98
Main island Moen
length 67 km
width 56 km
Land area 99.87 km²
Lagoon area 2 131.34  km²
Highest elevation Winipot
443  m
Residents 40,465 (2000)
Map of the Chuuk Atoll
Map of the Chuuk Atoll

Chuuk , formerly Ruk , Truk or Hogoleu , is an atoll of the Caroline Islands in the Pacific . Together with other, smaller islands and atolls, Chuuk forms the state of the same name in the Federated States of Micronesia .


Residents of Truk during the German colonial era around 1910

In the lagoon of Chuuk are a total of 57 islands. The eleven largest are of volcanic origin and are inhabited. Eight of these form the Faichuk Islands with the main island of Tol . All lagoon islands are surrounded by a coral reef with another 41 islands. With the exception of Pis-Paneu in the north, they are uninhabited. The total area of ​​all islands is 99.87 km², while the lagoon measures 2131.34 km².

The capital of the atoll and the state of Chuuk is Weno on the island of Moen in the east of the lagoon in the group of Nomoneas Islands . Tonoas (then Dublon ) was the capital during the German and Japanese colonial times .

At the 2000 census, the atoll had a population of 40,465.

Only three kilometers from the southeastern edge is the small uninhabited atoll of Neoch .


Burning Japanese airplane at an airfield, 1944

Chuuk had been owned by Spain since the 16th century, and in 1898 they became a colony of the German Empire . From 1909 the Truk station district existed . During the First World War , the island was occupied by Japan .

The fact that Chuuk is about halfway between Hawaii and the Philippines made the islands strategically valuable. The Japanese built one of their most important naval bases and stationed a larger proportion of their Pacific fleet there . They also maintained labor camps during the Second World War , to which they deported two thirds of the population of the island of Nauru .

On February 17 and 18, 1944, Chuuk was massively bombed by US Navy aircraft as part of Operation Hailstone . The Japanese base and large parts of the islands were almost completely destroyed. More than 70 anchored war and transport ships of the Japanese fleet were sunk.

The islands were not invaded by the Americans, however. After the war ended, Chuuk became part of the US Pacific Islands Trust Territory .

On May 10, 1979, Chuuk ratified the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia and became an integral part of this new nation with official independence on November 3, 1986.

In July 2002, during tropical cyclone Chataan , more than 30 landslides occurred as a result of heavy rainfall, killing 47 people and injuring many others.


Due to the events of the war, numerous sunk ships lay aground within the lagoon . Many of the ships lie on a level keel at a depth of around 20 meters and can be dived. The wrecks of Chuuk are protected and must not be modified.


  • Father Laurentius Bollig ( OM Cap. ): The inhabitants of the Truk Islands. Religion, life and brief grammar of a Micronesian people. Aschendorff, Münster 1927.
  • Manfred W. Kohl: Lagoon in the Pacific: The Story of Chuuk , Schooley's Mountain 1971.
  • Heiner Joswig : A mission; Correspondence from the South Sea missionaries Grete and Otto Joswig, 1927-1937 , 313 pages, Staffort 2011

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Otis W. Freeman (Ed.): Geography of the Pacific. Wiley 1953 (converted to km²)
  2. PDF at