National Campus

Palikir, Pohnpei


SS150 History of Micronesia

Spring 2002


Instructor: John R. Haglelgam



Office Location: Social Science Office in the Faculty Building


Office Hour:  MWF: 10:00 – 11:55 am; 12:00 – 12:55 pm; 2:00 – 3:30 pm.

                        TuTh: 8:30 – 9:30 am; 12:00 – 1:00 pm.


Office Phone: 320-2480/2481/2482, Extension 4510


E-Mail Address:


Classroom:  Building B, Room 104


Class Days & Hour: MTuWTh 1: 30 – 2: 55 p.m.




DESCRIPTION: This course is a survey of historical events, peoples, and cultures of the Micronesian region of the Pacific. This region includes four island groups, namely the Caroline Islands, the Gilbert Islands, the Mariana Islands, and the Marshall Islands. Nauru is a part of this region, but it is isolated from any other island groups.


The other aspect of this class is history. What is history? Generally, history comprises of the study of people and their deeds, places, historical events: past and present. Why do we need to learn history? Let’s look at two quotations that I think amplifies the need to learn history.


            Anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present.

                                                                        Richard von Weizsacker


The study of history is the best way and, other than by bitter experience,

perhaps the only way to be inoculated against the terrible simplifiers,

those people who lead nations into trouble. 

                                                                        George Will



INSTRUCTION: The primary mode of instruction in this class is lecture, but movies will be shown and overhead projector presentation will also be utilized to introduce material cultures as well as other topics. The last ten minutes of each class is reserved for question and answer. I should, however, encourage you to stop me during lecture if you need clarification or you want to ask questions.


OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this course are (1) To teach you about Micronesia and its historical and cultural relations to its neighbors in the Pacific Basin; (2) To make you understand the formation and pattern of settlement of the Micronesian Islands; (3) To make you aware of the various cultures and the commonalities existed among them; (4) To make you aware of the impact of beachcombers, traders, blackbirding, whalers, and the missionaries on Micronesian cultures; and (5) To teach you the colonial history of Micronesia, the process of de-colonization, and the current status.


PAPERS: You must complete two short papers, not more than six double-space pages each on any topics in traditional Micronesian societies. For instance, you can write about the importance of voyaging canoe or select a traditional method of fishing. You are free to suggest any topic that you are interested in. The first paper must be turned in before mid-term exams and the second one is due in the last week of the semester. These papers will comprise twenty percent (20%) of your total semester grade.   




Week One Topics:             (1) Introduction and Overview

                                    (2) Formation of the Micronesian Islands

                                     (3) Settlement of the Micronesian Islands

                                    (4) The Peoples and Cultures of Micronesia

(5)   The European Exploration

Readings: (a) Class Handout

                             (b) Chapter One, First Taint of Civilization


Weeks Two & Three Topics:             (1) Spanish Colonization of the Mariana Islands

                                    (2) Catholic missionaries in the Carolines

                                    (3) British Merchants and their discoveries

                                    (4) The Early Traders and the Beachcombers

                                    (5) The Blackbirding & the Foreign Warships

                                    (6) The Scientific Expeditions

                                    (7) The Whalers

                        Reading: (a) Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, First Taint of Civilization


Weeks Four & Five Topics:  (1) The Protestant Missionaries

                                    (2) The Copra Traders

(3)    The German Annexation of the Marshalls

                                       (b) Movie: His Majesty O’ Keefe

(4) The Caroline Islands Controversy and its Settlement

                                    (5) The Spanish Colonization of the Caroline Islands

                                    (6) The Catholic Missionaries in the Caroline Islands

                        Reading: (a) Chapters 8,9,10 & 11, First Taint of Civilization

                                       (b) Chapters 1 & 2, Strangers in Their Own Land


Week Six Topics:             (1) The Spanish-American War and Its Impact on Micronesia

                                    (2) The American Annexation of Guam

                                    (3) German Purchase of the Northern Marianas & the Carolines

                                     (4) World War I & Its Impact on Micronesia

(5) The Japanese Annexation of the Carolines, the Marshalls, and the Northern Mariana Islands

                        Reading: Chapters 2,3, & 4, Strangers in Their Own Land


Week Seven Topics:   (1) The League of Nations Mandate and the Japanese Occupation

                                     (2) The Japanese Bombing of Pearl Harbor and Its


                                     (3) World War II in Micronesia

                                     (4) The United Nations Trusteeship

                                      (5) The American Occupation of Micronesia

                        Reading: (a) Chapters 4,5, & 6, Strangers in Their Own Land

                                       (b)  Movie: Invasion of Tarawa

(c)    Movie: Half Life


Week Eight Topics: (1) The De-colonization Process

                                          (1) The Compact of Free Association

            (2) Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

(3) The Political Fragmentation of the TTPI

            (4)The Successor Entities to the TTPI

Reading: (a) Chapter 6, Strangers in Their Own Land 

                                                    (b) Class Handout

                                                    (c) Movie: Compact Debate in US Congress


TEXTBOOKS: The two main textbooks for this class are (1) The First Taint of Civilization, and (2) the Strangers in Their Own Land. Both of these books can be purchased in the COM-FSM Bookstore. Copied materials on specific topics will be distributed in class two days prior to class discussion.


EVALUATION: There will be eight (4) short quizzes (one every two weeks) and a comprehensive final examination. Grade will be based on the COM-FSM grading system. Each student in this class must take all the quizzes and the final as scheduled. If for any reason you cannot take the quiz as scheduled, you must inform me twenty-four ahead of time. There is no such thing as make-up QUIZ in this class.



Letter grades will be assigned based on the following scales:


            A+            = 95  –- 100

            A            = 90  -- 94

            B+            = 85  -- 89

            B            = 80  -- 84

            C+            = 75  -- 79

            C            = 70  -- 74

            D            = 65  -- 69

            F            = 64 & Below


Your course grade will be assigned based on the following:


            5% ………………. Participation in class.

            20% …………….. Papers (two)

            35% …………….. Quizzes (average)

            40% …………….. Final Examination


REGULATIONS: You are required to strictly observe the rule against eating and drinking in the classroom. In addition, you are prohibited from chewing betel nut in areas outside of the cultural huts.


ABSENTEEISM, TARDINESS, CONVERSATION DURING CLASS: Four absences will get you a withdrawal from this class. If you reach four absences after the deadline for withdrawal, you will be withdrawn with a grade of “F.” I must alert you to the fact that the total missed classes (absences) include UNEXCUSED AND EXCUSED ABSENCES, SUCH AS SICKNESS, FUNERALS, AND ANY OTHERS.   


You are required to come to class on time every day. If you are late THREE times, I will count it as ONE ABSENCE. In addition, I will not tolerate any conversation during class session. Thus, if you persistently carried on conversation during two-class days I will count it as ONE ABSENCE.


HOW TO STUDY FOR THIS COURSE:  (1) Warning or suggestion? You can take this either as a warning or a suggestion. You must not allow yourself to fall behind in your reading of the assigned reading materials. Don’t play a catch up game because you might get swamped and never able to recover.