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History Of The Marshall Islands Essay

1766 words - 7 pages

History of the Marshall IslandsThe Marshall Islands is a republic of 29 atolls and 5 coral islands. The islands areone of the four main groups that make up Micronesia. The nearest neighbor to theMarshalls are the Federated States of Micronesia. They're only 26 populated islands inthe Marshalls because a lot of the islands are too small to support many people. Thereare two roughly parallel chains of islands that make up the western Ralik group and theeastern Ratak group. Now that you know what and where the Marshall Islands are I'llexplain the history.The very early people of the Marshalls had no written language so it is very hardto predict what went on. The only early history has been handed down from generationto generation in the form of songs, and we can also get some facts from the folklore andlegends. One thing that they do know is that powerful chiefs ruled these largecivilizations able to move such large stones to build temples and cities. They must havebeen somewhat advanced because they were able to build huge walls that were probablythere to enclose a city. These walls weighed many tons and were 20 ft. long, and evensome walls they have found to be 40 ft. high. Archaeologists are still puzzled of whatkind of machinery they had to move such large stones.The real knowledge we know about the Marshall Islands history began in theearly sixteenth century. The sea going Europeans were trying to find sources of the SpiceIslands that were in very large demand in Europe. English, Dutch, Spanish andPortuguese sea captains were all sailing around on their hunt for riches. One of the firstpeople we know of to definitely land on the Marshall Islands during this time isFerdinand Magellan. He landed in Micronesia on his journey to circumnavigate theworld. Forty years later in the 1560's after Magellan's voyage Spain claimed most all ofthe islands in Micronesia. Spain wasn't really concerned about Micronesia because theywere busy building empires in South America, Central America, and Mexico. For themost part Micronesia was under loose Spanish control for 300 years.During those 300 years in 1788 Captain John Marshall named the MarshallIslands. He was sailing between Australia and China on the boat the Scarborough andsailed through the islands. Even though many Europeans had been in the Marshallspreviously he has been said to be one of the first people to 'discover' the islands.In the nineteenth century the dried meat of the coconut called copra became animportant trade items for European powers. Since there was much money in the copratrade Germany, Spain, and Great Britain started to argue over the control of Micronesia.In 1885 Germany gained control of the Marshalls while Spain kept control of theCarolines and the Marianas. In 1886 the English and the Spanish were unhappy withGermany's claims, but the dispute was settled by Pope Leo XIII in Rome. The Pope gaveall right to trade with these islands to Germany. Then shortly after that in 1898 theSpanish-...

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