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Oceania > Micronesia-->
Micronesia is a somewhat arbitrary grouping of hundreds of small islands in the central Pacific Ocean. (The name is derived from the Greek for "small island".) The region lies east of the Philippines, north and northeast of Melanesia, and north and northwest of Polynesia. The term is more cultural than geographic, however; the peoples of these islands generally share a common Austronesian origin, and a few of them traded with each other at various times in their histories. These islands were claimed as territories of the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom in the 19th century, and some changed trusteeship due to geopolitics, but most became independent during or after the first and second World Wars.