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Yap and Palau to the southwest were probably inhabited as early as 2000 BC by Austronesian navigators from the west (Philippines and Indonesia). The Yapese speak a western Austronesian language quite different from the eastern Austronesian languages spoken by the other three states of the Micronesian Federation (Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae) that were peopled much later from the south (Solomons).
The Portuguese were the first to visit Yap in 1525. They were followed by occasional whalers and traders until the 1870s when Spain and Germany both lay claim to Yap. The issue was settled in Spain's favor by the Pope but Spain sold Yap and the other Caroline islands to Germany in 1899. After WW I, the Japanese were given a mandate over Yap in 1919. They fortified it and held it until the end of W.W.II, when it was occupied by American forces.
Yap then became part of the "American Trust Territory" from which Palau and the Marshall islands seceded in 1978. What was left became the "Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) which was admitted in the UN in 1991. The FSM are nominally independent but its "Compact of Free Association" with the US (financial aid for military bases), makes them de facto colonies of the US. The US dollar is the currency of the FSM.
Article about Yap Island—BANKING ON A TIMELESS PARADISE
The 307th Bomb Group longe range strikes from the Admiralties-Attack on Yap
At dawn, on the 15th of June 1944, American amphibious forces swept into Saipan to begin the hard ground fighting that was to bring the Japanese homeland within range of our Superfortresses. For more than two weeks prior to the landings, Thirteenth Air Force Liberators, based on Los Negros, had been pounding Truk to neutalize the strategic Japanese base and to prevent the enemy from reinforcing Saipan by air.
A large Japanese task force, estimated at 40 ships or more, was sighted some distance north of Yap Island, on the 19th of June 1944. Carrier planes from this task force lashed out at the powerful units of the United States Pacific Fleet which were then supporting Allied ground forces on Saipan. The conflict that followed was the first major battle between elelments of the Japanese and United States fleets in nearly two years. As at Midway, two years earlier, all of the offensive action was by carrier-based aircraft. By the time the Japanese fleet broke off the engagement, U.S. Task Force "58" had destroyed nearly 400 enemy aircraft and had sunk or damaged 14 Japanese ships.
Liberators of the THirteenth Air Force were called upon to reach out more than 1,000 statute miles from their Los Negros base to hit Japanese warships that might seel refuge or fuel in Yap Harbor. On 22 June, 33 Liberators were over Yap in the longest mass mission the Thirteenth had yet flown. Trained eyes peered down on the harbor far below. there were no warships to be seen. The heavies wheeled and made their run on the secondary target, Yap Airdrome. Their 33 ton bomb load struck the runway and the dispersal areas with devastating effect.
For six consecutive days after the raid of the 22nd of June, the Liberators blasted Yap, keeping the runway unserviceable and preventing its use in ferrying planes from the Philippines to the Marianas to aid the hard-pressed defenders of Saipan.
Yap Island Information
The Germans purchased Yap in 1899 as a potential cable station and part of the effort to encircle the globe telegraphically. With the outbreak of war in 1914, Yap was one of a number of German possessions seized by the Japanese.
At the Paris Peace Conference (1919), U.S. president Woodrow Wilson pushed unsuccessfully for the internationalization of Yap, which in the end was awarded to Japan as a mandate. The United States mildly protested that decision and asserted its own claim to the area. Despite the considerable commercial interests that were at stake, the American press had great fun with the issue, finding many rhymes for the word Yap.
Accommodation on Yap was reached between Japan and the United States in February 1922 at the Washington Naval Conference.
Yap was used by the Japanese as an air and naval base during World War II, before falling to American forces. In 1947, the Caroline Islands became part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under United Nations auspices and administered by the U.S.
Yap became a state in the Federated States of Micronesia in 1979 and achieved independence under a Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1986.
Source: U.S. History presented by Online Highways, LLC, http://www.u-s-history.com
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