The area is politically divided, including the following political formations:
*The sovereign nation of Kiribati. Formerly administered by the British Empire (1892-1979) under the name Gilbert Islands. Part of the its area was occupied by Japan during World War II. The most famous event in recent history is the Battle of Tarawa (1943), between the Japanese and the Americans. The United States Marines won the battle but famously suffered heavy casualties. About 1,000 dead marines, another 2,300 wounded.
*The organized territory of Guam. Also known as Guahan. Administered by the United States. Covering the largest and southernmost island of the Marianas. Previously controlled as a colony by the Spanish Empire (1565-1898), the United States (1898-1941), Japan (1941-1944) and again by the United States (1944-1950). The territory gained its own administration in 1950, when all residents gained American citizenship. Guam was another famous battleground of World War II,. Better known for the Second Battle of Guam (1944) where c. 18,000 Japanese soldiers were killed in combat. While only 485 were captured alive.
*The Northern Mariana Islands. A commonwealth in political union with the United States. Consists of 15 islands, but c. 90% of the population lives in Saipan. Previously controlled as a colony by the Spanish Empire (1565-1898), the German Empire (1898- de facto 1914, de jure 1919), the Japanese Empire (de facto 1914, de jure 1919- 1944/1945), and the United States (1944/1945-1978). The area served as a battleground in both World War I and World War II. Better known for the Battle of Saipan (1944) where 24,000 Japanese soldiers were killed in battle, 5,000 committed suicide and only 921 were captured alive.
* The sovereign nation of the Marshall Islands. Previously controlled by the Spanish Empire (1874-1884), the German Empire (1884 - de facto 1914, de jure 1919), the Japanese Empire (de facto 1914, de jure 1919-1944), and the United States (1944-1986). While serving as a battleground in both World Wars, the islands are more famous as the test for United States nuclear weapons. 67 nuclear weapons were tested between 1946-1958, making the islands "by far the most contaminated place in the world". More than 20 of the test took place in the famous Bikini Atoll, rendering the Atoll unsuitable for human habitation. The local population had to be relocated to other islands.
* The sovereign nation of Palau. In the 19th century the area was claimed concurrently by the British Empire, the Spanish Empire and the German Empire. The Spanish claim was internationally recognized in 1885. The area was then controlled by the Spanish Empire (1885-1899), the German Empire (1899 -de facto 1914, de jure 1919), the Japanese Empire (de facto 1914, de jure 1919-1944), the United States (de facto 1944, de jure 1947 - 1994). The area served as a battleground in both World Wars. Better known for the Battle of Peleliu (1944), where Japanese and American forces mostly incapacitated each other. 10,965 Japanese soldiers were killed, only 202 captured alive. 1,794 American soldiers were killed, 8,010 wounded. Meaning that about 1/3 of the total American forces were unavailable for further combats. " Considering the number of men involved, Peleliu had the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific War."
*The Federated States of Micronesia. A sovereign nation including 607 islands, divided into four federal states: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. Previously controlled by the Spanish Empire (16th century - 1899), the German Empire (1898- de facto 1914, de jure 1919), the Japanese Empire (de facto 1914, de jure 1919- 1944), and the United States (de facto 1944, de jure 1947 - 1986). The islands were a battleground in both World Wars. Most famous for the Battle of Truk Island/"Operation Hailstone" (1944), a combination of airstrikes, naval combat and submarine warfare taking place as the American forces attempted to capture a stronghold of the Japanese Navy. The American forces eventually switched tactics and simply started laying siege to the island until 1945.
*The sovereign nation of Nauru. Formerly known as "Pleasant Island". Currently the world's smallest island nation. The island escaped European colonization until the 19th century. A prolonged civil war (1878-1888) reduced the population to only 900 people. Allowing the German Empire to annex it with little to no conflict. Subsequently it was controlled by the German Empire (1888-1914), Australia (1914 - 1923), co-administrated by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (1923-1942), the Japanese Empire (1942- 1945) and back to the co-administration (1945-1968). The island was a minor battleground of both World Wars but is not associated with any major battle. It had high strategic value because of the island's main industry: the extraction of phosphate rock (natural phosphorus).
* Wake Island. A corral atoll. An unorganized exclave of the United States. Little to no civilian population, access to the island is restricted. The island is directly controlled by the United States Air Force and also houses a missile facility of the United States Army. The island was visited by Micronesian sailors and foreign ships for centuries with none bothering to settle there permanently. The United States annexed the atoll in 1899. The first settlement in the island history was created in 1935. It was a village built by Pan American Airways to serve as a stop to its flights. A military base of the United States Navy was constructed in 1941. Mainly housing Marines. The island was invaded by Japan in the so-called "Battle of Wake Island" (December 8-23, 1941) which ended with the American garrison captured and relocated to POW camps. Japanese occupation lasted from 1941 to 1945. When the island was returned to the United States.