This course explores the dozens of distinct cultures and the important historical events and changes to the “little islands” of Micronesia. Micronesian cultures are noted for careful adaptations to their physical environments, some described as “marginal”. They are renowned as navigators. They have some of the most highly developed chiefdoms and extensive empires within the Pacific. Over centuries of European and Asian presence in the region, Micronesians came into contact with whalers, traders, missionaries, colonists, and the military. Micronesia was a major arena during World War II and an important site of postwar nuclear weapons testing. Today, the region has achieved a measure of political independence. But, Micronesia’s strategic location continues to be of global interest. Life has changed significantly, yet tradition remains strong.