Tuesday, November 16, 2021

2021 Travel the World - Week 44

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world, so I continued the series in 2020 and here I am in 2021, the third year of traveling the world. 

This week's country is...

Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia is an island nation made up of over 600 islands located in Oceania.

Because it’s a group of islands it does not have any bordering countries, however its nearest neighbors are Guam to the North, Nauru and the Marshall Islands to the East, Australia and Papua New Guinea to the South and Philippines to the West.

The country is often simply called Micronesia; however, it is not to be confused with the wider cultural and geographic region of Micronesia which includes more than 2,000 islands including the nations of Palau, the Marshall Islands and NauruKiribati and of course, the Federated States of Micronesia.

The terrain varies wildly from island to island, with some consisting of lovely low coral atolls to volcanic outcrops and high mountains with incredible views!

The temperature in Micronesia is consistently warm year-round.

The islands were first sighted by Europeans in 1500 by Spanish explorers. Micronesia was colonized by Spain in 1886 who then sold the islands to Germany in 1899. Japan then occupied the islands from 1914 until 1944.

Micronesia has 5 main archipelagos that surround it, they are the Caroline Islands, the Gilbert Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Mariana Islands and the Line Islands. However, they also have many other islands that surround them and some of them remain unexplored.

The total land area of Federated States of Micronesia is only 271 square miles, however this is spread out over an incredible 1,003,866 square miles  of ocean - an area approximately five times the size of France.

The Micronesia island of Pohnpei is so small that there is only one main road, and all the locals know each other very well, as well as where everyone lives. Very much like a small village, there are no addresses as a result.

The tiny Micronesian island of Kosrae has almost no reported crime, making it one of the absolute safest places on the planet. Unrelated, but they also don’t have any crocodiles, snakes, or any other dangerous creatures like this, unlike neighboring islands.

Micronesia is home to the only ancient city ever built on a coral reef. The country’s Nan Madol is an ancient city that was constructed in a lagoon between 1200 and 1500. The site consists of at least 100 small artificial islands which hold remains of stone palaces, temples, tombs and houses.

While English is the official language, there are eight other languages spoken in Micronesia: Chuukese, Kosrean, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, and Kapingamarangi.

Micronesia is one of the least visited countries in the world. It only receives around 30,000 tourists a year.

Micronesia produces vegetables, fruit, coconuts, pigs, chicken and fish.

As this tiny country cannot rely too heavily on tourism because of how isolated it is, fishing and related activities support most of its economy. Micronesia specialises in fish processing and exports fish as well as fruit and nuts. It also exports craft items made from wood, pearls and shells.

The Micronesian island of Yap has hundreds of giant discs of rocks dispersed across it. Known as rai, the stones have been used as a form of currency for centuries even though many of the stones are too heavy to move.

Every year on the island of Yap, the Homecoming Festival or ‘The Taste of Yap’ is celebrated. Activities include a stone money ceremony, canoe building and traditional dancing such as the men’s standing dance and a stick dance.

The capital city, Palikir, is one of the world’s smallest capitals, with only about 7,000 inhabitants.

Micronesia is situated in between the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Philippine Sea, which means that these islands are home to the world’s most amazing coral reefs.

The tiny Micronesian island of Mogmog is home to the largest terrestrial arthropods (crabs) in the world. The crabs have a leg span of nearly one meter and can crush coconuts with their pincers.

Micronesia is one of just 22 countries not to have an army. Instead, as a former US-administered territory, the USA provides aid and is responsible for Micronesia’s defense. In return, the USA can maintain military bases in Micronesia.

It is estimated that over 50 ships have sunk around the island of Chuuk after Operation Hailstone during World War II, when the Japanese base around there was destroyed. This means divers come here to explore the wreckages underwater, an interesting Micronesia fact.

Micronesia is home to the longest-running humanitarian airlift in the world. Operation Christmas Drop is an annual military training operation that airlifts Christmas gifts and humanitarian aid to Micronesia. It began in 1952 and continues to this day.

In 2018, a plane sunk in a lagoon after overshooting the runway in Micronesia. Fortunately, all 57 people on board were rescued safely.

Nightlife is nearly non-existent in Micronesia. People prefer to sleep, retiring to bed early.

Micronesia is home to the most color-blind place on Earth. Worldwide, only one in every 30,000 people have achromatopsia (color blindness). But on Pingelap atoll in Micronesia, one in 10 people are afflicted.

There is an unusual tradition in Micronesia. Every New Year, locals change their names to confuse evil spirits.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Micronesia... On one Micronesia island if you walk into any village with nothing in your hand it is customarily believed that you have ill intentions; therefore you have to carry a green leaf as a peace sign when visiting Yap.



Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: Stampin' UP! Gorgeous Leaves stamped with Memento Bamboo Leaves and Desert Sand Inks

Paper: JoAnn's 110# Kraft, Neenah 110# Solar White, and SU Creamy Caramel CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles, Paper Roses Hello Chunky Double Layered, and Pink N Main Concave Rectangles

Embellishments: SU Linen Thread

2 comments:

  1. Fabulous facts Jenaette, and an amazing card - love the leaves and how you have arranged them on the wonky rectangle, and the contrast of the gingham and polka dots is stunning.
    Stay safe
    Blessings
    Maxine

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love these papers and your wonderful die cut leaves!

    ReplyDelete