Yap


Yap
/yahp, yap/, n.
one of the Caroline Islands, in the W Pacific: part of the Federated States of Micronesia. 8482 including adjacent islands; 83 sq. mi. (215 sq. km).

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▪ island and archipelago, Micronesia
formerly  Guap,  
      island and archipelago of the western Caroline Islands, part of the Federated States of Micronesia. The archipelago, with a total land area of 45.9 square miles (118.9 square km), comprises the islands of Gagal-Tomil, Map, Rumung, and Yap (also called Rull, Ruul, Uap, Yappu). Yap, the largest island (38.7 square miles [100.2 square km]), has a central range of hills rising to Mount Tabiwol, 568 feet (173 m), and is thickly wooded. Temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year. The mean monthly temperature is 82° F (28° C), and the average annual rainfall is 122 inches (3,100 mm).

      In pre-European times Yap was the centre of a cultural area stretching from Palau in the west to near Truk in the east. Extensive ruins and the islanders' renowned use of stone-disk money date from this period. Probably sighted (1526) by the Portuguese, Yap was nominally controlled by Spain after being discovered anew by the Spanish galleon captain Francisco Lazeano in 1686. It passed to Germany in 1899. During this period, David O'Keefe, an American, founded a trading empire based upon his supplying the Yapese with traditional stone money in return for copra. The German authorities made Yap a centre for underwater cable communication and divided the archipelago into 10 administrative units that still function as such, each unit electing a magistrate who is a member of the district administrator's advisory council. Under Japanese control from 1919, Yap became a point of conflict until the United States and Japan reached agreement (1921) concerning the use of the cable facilities. Yap was a Japanese air and naval base during World War II. Yap became part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947 and part of the newly established Federated States of Micronesia in 1986.

      Copra is the chief export, and some surplus bananas, coconuts, and taros are sold to nearby atolls. Yams, sweet potatoes, pepper, cloves, and tobacco are also grown, and there is some fishing. Agricultural labour is divided between the sexes, each tending separate taro patches. A caste system with economic significance ranks Gatchapar, Teeb, and Ngolog as the most important villages. By the 1970s there were more than 20 public and mission elementary schools in the state. The Yapese, physically and linguistically, are more closely related to Melanesians than to the other people of the Carolines. Pop. (1985 est.) island, 6,951; (1980) archipelago, 5,196.

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Universalium. 2010.

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