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Micronesia with the Carolines
Micronesia with the Carolines
Waters Pacific Ocean
archipelago Micronesia
Geographical location 6 ° 3 '  N , 147 ° 5'  E Coordinates: 6 ° 3 '  N , 147 ° 5'  E
Caroline Islands (Pacific Ocean)
Number of islands over 900
Main island Pohnpei
Total land area 1190 km²
Residents 126,075 (2000)
City of Kolonia on Pohnpei
City of Kolonia on Pohnpei

The Carolines are an archipelago located in the island area of Micronesia in the westernmost part of the Pacific Ocean . The islands and archipelagos of the Caroline Islands are widely scattered between the Philippines in the west and the Marshall Islands in the east.


The archipelago extends over a wide area in the Western Pacific (between 10 ° 6 ′  N , 131 ° 4 ′  E and 1 ° 3 ′  N , 163 ° 6 ′  E ) with an area of ​​over two million km², of which only a fraction (approx 1000 km²) is solid land. Only relatively few of the over 500 atolls or coral islands of the Caroline Islands are inhabited.

Today the archipelago is politically divided between the Federated States of Micronesia and the island state of Palau , which only includes the outer West Carolines ( Palau Islands ).


The climate is humid and warm, the thermometers in December show 25–30 ° C in June 29–31 ° C. From November to March the north-east trade winds blow , from April to September the south-east trade winds ; violent hurricanes often cause severe damage.


European explorers

Parts of the Caroline Islands were discovered in 1525 by the Portuguese Diego da Rocha , who called them Sequeira Islands . In 1526 the Spaniard Alonso de Salazar and 1528/29 the Spaniard Álvaro de Saavedra were on exploratory trips in the area of ​​the islands. Later discoveries by Spanish navigators made islands of the central and eastern Carolines known by the end of the 16th century.

In 1686 the Spaniard Francesco Lazeano discovered a large group of islands in the west (probably the Yap Islands ), which he named "Carolina" in honor of the Spanish King Charles II (1661–1700) - Carlos II in Spanish -, which ultimately led to the whole archipelago got its name.

From Manila the Jesuits made several attempts to convert the inhabitants of the Carolines to Christianity from 1710 , but the expeditions failed. When the Jesuit father Juan Antonio Cantova was murdered in 1731, Spain no longer cared about the archipelago.

19th century researchers and cartographers

Towards the end of the 18th century, Wilson, James Mortlock , Runter, Thomson, Mulgrave, and others discovered a. a number of islands again or for the first time. More precise information came from the Russian Rurik expedition under Otto von Kotzebue in 1816 and in particular the land recordings of Count Friedrich Benjamin von Lütke 1827/28 and the land recordings of Louis Isidore Duperrey 1828/29 of Kusaie and von Truk . Later, French, British, German and Spanish ships mapped the coasts.

The American missionary John Thomas Gulick made meteorological observations on the island of Pohnpei from 1853–56 . 1868-69 Johann Stanislaus Kubary carried out ethnographic and zoological studies and collections on various islands.

German-Spanish rivalry 1885

Spanish coin used late 19th century in the Caroline and later to the continuing validity under German rule with German hallmark provided.

The German gunboat Iltis hoisted the German imperial flag on August 24, 1885 on Yap , the then main island of the Caroline Islands. Spanish warships dispatched from Manila for the same purpose were late. In Spain, indignation broke out over the German act, and the so-called Caroline question arose . Otto von Bismarck demanded actual evidence from Madrid that the Carolines had previously been under Spanish sovereignty, while Spain's government insisted on sovereignty claims. Finally, the two powers agreed on the proposal of Bismarck, Pope Leo XIII. to call as arbitrator, who on October 22, 1885, granted Spain sovereignty over the Carolines, but secured important rights for German trade.

German colonial period 1899–1914

Transfer of the West Carolines and Palau from Spain to the German Empire - Yap, November 3, 1899

After the Spanish-American War , the Carolines were sold by the Spanish to the German Empire in the German-Spanish Treaty in 1899 and thus part of German New Guinea . Germany administered the Karolinen as two separate districts: the East Karolinen and West Karolinen . The administrative border ran along the eastern 148 degree length . The relevant district offices were on the islands of Ponape and Jap .

After the German occupation in 1899, Georg Volkens examined the flora of the Yap Islands and the German Navy added many new islands. Meteorological stations were set up and reports on the population and special events were written by individual officials (Senfft, Dr. Born).

During the stay of the Hamburg South Sea Expedition (1908-10) in the Karolinen area under the expedition leader Augustin Krämer , knowledge of the archipelago was significantly deepened.

World wars and independence

75 Pfennig emergency bank note from 1922. The text laments the loss of the colonies on the Carolines and the Marianas after the Treaty of Versailles .

During the First World War , the islands were occupied by Japan in 1914 . After the Treaty of Versailles , Japan was awarded the islands as a League of Nations mandate .

During the Pacific War , 1937–1945, the Caroline Islands were the scene of heavy fighting between Japanese and US Americans in the course of the Battle of the Marshall Islands ( Operation Hailstone ).

After World War II , the Caroline Islands became United Nations Trust Territories under US administration. In 1990 they were finally granted independence and are now part of the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau .


Noteworthy are the magnificent stone buildings from earlier times (see also Nan Madol ), docks and the like. a. on some islands as well as the stone money , which is broken up to the size of millstones on Palau.

Web links

Commons : Karolinen  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Spain (history 1875 to the present) . In: Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon 1894–1896, Volume 15, p. 102.
  2. ^ Krauss: East Carolines . In: German Colonial Lexicon . Volume II, Leipzig 1920, pp. 690f.
  3. ^ Krauss: West Carolines . In: German Colonial Lexicon. Volume III, Leipzig 1920, pp. 704ff.