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Short description: Place in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia
World Class Surf of Palikir
World Class Surf of Palikir
Palikir (in north-western side) within the island of Pohnpei
Palikir (in north-western side)
within the island of Pohnpei
Coordinates: Coordinates: 6°55′2″N 158°9′32″E / 6.91722°N 158.15889°E / 6.91722; 158.15889
CountryTemplate:Country data FSM F.S. Micronesia
StateTemplate:Country data Pohnpei Pohnpei State
 • Total6,647
Time zoneUTC+11[1]

Palikir (/ˈpælɪkɪər/) is the capital city of the Federated States of Micronesia located in the western Pacific Ocean.[2][3][4] A town of slightly under 5,000 residents, it is part of the larger Sokehs municipality, which had a population of 6,647 (As of 2010), out of the nation's total population of 106,487. It is situated on the northwest side of Pohnpei island (population 34,789), a high volcanic island surrounded by a fringing coral reef. Nearby to the northeast is the island's largest settlement, the coastal town of Kolonia.[5] It was declared the capital of Micronesia in 1989.


Pohnpei was ruled by tribal chiefs in ancient times. Palikir was formerly a tiny village of little consequence. The island of Pohnpei was encountered by the Portuguese and Spanish in the 15th century, but colonial settlement did not occur until 1886 by the Spanish. Later Germany attained the Caroline Islands via purchase from Spain at the end of the Spanish–American War in 1898. During World War I control passed to the Japanese. During World War II, the Japanese built an airport near Kolonia.[6] Subsequent to World War II, the island was administered by the United States Government until FSM attained independence in 1979.[7] The government of the Federated States of Micronesia decided to convert the Palikir area into a town to house the central administration of the islands as a purpose built capital city. It was declared the capital of Micronesia in 1989.[8] US aid of US$15 million was made available to develop the site into a modern town.[9] All government offices, some residential houses, and the residence of the President of the Federated States of Micronesia were built. It is now the hub of the federal administration of the country, despite still being a village with a population of 4,645.[7][10]


Palikir is located in the northwestern center of Pohnpei Island (formerly known as Ponape). Geologically the island terrain consists of high mountains to low coral atolls.[11] It is the largest, highest, wettest and most scenic island of the Federated States of Micronesia.[9] Palikir is 8 kilometers (5 miles) southwest of Kolonia, which is Pohnpei's largest town and state capital of Pohnpei State.[2] Underwater reefs are found all round the coastal region of the island.[3] 9 kilometers (6 miles) to the southeast, Mount Nanlaud is the highest point of the Federated States of Micronesia and of Pohnpei at 2,566 feet (782 m)[12] as indicated on the definitive USGS 1:25,000 scale topographic survey.[13] Palikir is surrounded by heavily wooded forest.[8]


Palikir features a tropical rainforest climate under the Köppen climate classification. However, as a trade-wind climate which besides knows frequent cyclones it is not equatorial. Common to many areas with this climate, Palikir sees very little variance in its temperatures during the course of the year, averaging roughly 27 °C (81 °F) daily throughout the year. However, the town sees an extraordinary amount of precipitation during the course of the year. On average 5,202 millimeters (204.8 in) of rainfall falls on Palikir annually. It is the wettest capital city in the world.

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The nationality of the people is Micronesian with the most common ethnicities being Chuukese, Kosraeans, Pohnpeian, and Yapese. English is the common and official language while each of the major islands have their own local language such as Chuukese, Kosraean, Pohnpeian, and Yapese. 96% of the population is Christian with Roman Catholicism being the majority religion at over 50% of the population. The city has been categorized as having a "high degree of hardship with a typical hardship premium of 30%" from an international perspective.[11][15]


Since 1989, Palikir is the federal capital of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), which attained independence from, and remains since in free association with, the United States in May 1979. FSM has a constitutional government headed by a president.[7]


The economy of the capital city is reflected in the economic resources of the FSM Islands (600 islands, atolls and islets (including Pohnpei Island)[16]) as a whole. The economy of the island consists basically of subsistence farming and fishing[6][7] (fish processing and aquaculture). Tropical agricultural and plantation products like copra, breadfruit, taro, betel nuts, sweet potatoes, cassava, tropical fruits and vegetables, trochus shells, cacao and rice are produced. Livestock farming exists, fe. pigs and poultry being raised. Products such as fish, bananas, black pepper, and garments are mainly exported to Japan . Imported items are food, manufactured goods, machinery and equipment and beverages.[7][11]

The country is independent, but in fact depends on financial support stemming from its Compact of Free Association with the US. (As of 2012) the inflation rate was 2% and the cost of living (for imported goods) in Palikir is reportedly very high in comparison with other places in the world.[11]


Pohnpei State Department of Education operates public schools:

  • Palikir Elementary School[17]

Bailey Olter High School (former Pohnpei Island Central School or PICS) in Kolonia serves students from Sokehs.[18]

Notable people

  • Bailey Olter, politician
  • Emelihter Kihleng, poet


  1. "Current local time in Palikir". Time and Date. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Micronesia, Federated States of". Federal Aviation Administration. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Pohnpei: underwater reef". 
  4. "National Government". FSM Government. 
  5. "Palikir". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Pohnpei". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 "Micronesia, Federated States of". 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Palikir". 
  9. 9.0 9.1 David Leonard (1 July 2001). Diving the Pacific: Volume 1: Micronesia and the Western Pacific Islands. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 152–. ISBN 978-962-593-499-0. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  10. "Palikir, capital of Micronesia". 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "Micronesia, Palikir Overview". 1 April 2013. 
  12. "Mount Nanlaud". GeoNames. 
  13. "Ponape South". US Geological Survey. 1983. 
  14. "Climate: Palikir". 
  15. "Micronesia, Federated States of". CIA Fact Book, 
  16. "Micronesia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  17. "Pohnpei Schools." Pohnpei State Department of Education. Retrieved on 23 February 2018.
  18. "Secondary Division." Pohnpei State Department of Education. Retrieved on 23 February 2018.