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Archipelago, western Pacific Ocean. Lying south of the Philippines, the islands cover a land area of about 460 sq mi (1,190 sq km). Formerly part of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the group consists of several larger islands, including Yap, Pohnpei, Chuuk (Truk), Kosrae, and Babelthuap, as well as many small coral islets and reefs. Though explored by the Spanish in the 16th century, they were rarely visited until Germany took them in 1899. Granted as a mandate to Japan after World War I, they were placed under U.S. trusteeship in 1947. The islands became the Federated States of Micronesia in 1986, with the exception of Palau (Babelthuap and associated islands), which became independent in 1994.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Caroline Islands, visit Britannica.com.