UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Yapese Pitek, Emily


The Yapese are native to the island of Yap, which is now a part of the Federated States of Micronesia. The Yapese had contact with Europeans beginning in the early sixteenth century, but the island was not officially colonized by Spain and Germany until 1885. Germany soon gained sovereignty over the island, and held power until 1914, at which time Japan took control. Yap Island was later occupied by the United States from 1944-1951, and the US Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was formed. In 1979 the Federated States of Micronesia (including Yap Island) was established, and gained full independence in 1991. This entry focuses on Yap Island, around the time of 1910. Although Christian missionaries were present, their effects were not very successful, and the Yap religion still consisted of native beliefs and practices. These native beliefs included a present but otiose supreme being, and (more importantly) various spirits and deities. Religious practitioners/specialists are present, and lead communal ceremonies. Religion is bound up with the functioning of society as a whole, so this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with the society at large.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution 4.0 International