A map of Oceania. Micronesia is in the northwest.

Micronesia is an area in Oceania. Many islands in the western Pacific Ocean are part of it. Micronesia means small islands in ancient Greek language.

The Philippines is to the west of Micronesia. Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Melanesia are to the south of Micronesia. Polynesia is to the east of Micronesia.

Most of the islands in Micronesia are atolls. These are ring-shaped islands made of a coral reef. But some are high islands with a coral reef around them.

Traditionally in Micronesia, each island or area has a chief. The chief cannot do anything without support of the council. Everyone is part of a clan, or extended family. Each family group also has a chief. The chiefs are usually older men. Micronesia is mostly matrilineal, which means that descent is followed through women. So a chief may be followed by his sister's son.

People in Micronesia often have family members on many other islands. The society values social equality. Wealth is spread pretty evenly between people. Even the chiefs are not much richer than everyone else. But this is less true in the eastern islands, where there are social classes.[1]

List of islands and countries in Micronesia

Micronesia Media


  1. Petersen, Glenn (2009). Traditional Micronesian societies : adaptation, integration, and political organization. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-1-4416-1992-1. OCLC 436752926.