Yap - Orientation



Identification. Yap is one of four states in the Federated States of Micronesia, which were part of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The Yap State includes Yap proper, Ulithi, Woleai, and other atolls east of Yap, in what was once the Yap District of the Trust Territory. The Yapese language, culture, and people are distinct in Yap State from the inhabitants of the atolls (Carolinians), The Yapese people are only those who are born in the Yap Islands and who speak the Yapese language.

Location. The islands of Yap are located approximately 720 kilometers southwest of Guam and approximately 480 kilometers northeast of Palau, in the Western Caroline Islands. Yap proper is comprised of four contiguous high islands Inside a fringing reef. The land area is approximately 100 square kilometers, much of which is rugged, infertile grassy hills and forest. The climate is tropical, subject to easterly trade winds, typhoons, and a monsoon rainy season from May to October.

Demography. Yap suffered critical depopulation, caused by European diseases and aided by cultural practices of abortion. Since World War II the use of antibiotics has controlled venereal diseases and the islands are currently experiencing a population explosion. The population has recovered from a low point of 2,582 in 1946 to more than 7,000 people in the 1980s.

Linguistic Affiliation. Yapese is an Austronesian Language, but it is distinct from the nearby Palauan and the Carolinian languages. Some linguists regard Yapese as closer to Austronesian languages of Vanuatu (New Hebrides).

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