The United States has a long history of relations in the Pacific region. Initially valued for their strategic locations, many of the Pacific Islands have been or currently are territories of the United States. Stamps issued in honor of this region symbolize the goodwill between the islands and the United States.
After World War II, the United Nations assigned several Pacific island groups to a Trust Territory administered by the United States. The islands included Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and Palau. Over time many of the islands became self-governing.
In 1986, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Marshall Islands negotiated with the United States to create the Compact of Free Association. Free Association enables the islands to self-govern while the United States provides them with defense as well as other services, such as economic aid. In 1990, the U.S., FSM and the Marshall islands released a joint issue of stamps commemorating the Compact of Free Association seen here.
These stamps illustrate aspects of the FSM and the Marshall Islands’ heritage that make them unique and distinct places such as traditional canoes and navigational stick charts.