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The first lengthy description of the island and its inhabitants is presented by the Russian explorer Fyodor Litke, whose ship Senyavin gave the island group of Pohnpei, Ant and Pakin its name.
From 14 to 19 January 1828, his boats attempted to land but could not due to the hostility shown by the islanders, but natives then came aboard his ship, "some trading occurred, a short vocabulary was compiled, and a map made." F. von Kittlitz, a member of the Litke expedition made a further descriptive account, including the offshore ruins of Nan Madol, and the two reports together provided the first real knowledge of Pohnpei. Eagleston of the barque Peru sighted the island on 3 January 1832 it was already on his charts as "Ascension Island;" Riesenberg writes that it is uncertain who first called it Ascension Island, but the name became established until the Spanish period.
A fifth endemic, the Pohnpei starling, is thought to have recently gone extinct.
The only land reptiles are a few species of lizard.
It is not clear who the next visitors were; however, when Capt. From this time onward whaling and trading vessels came in increasing numbers.
Very soon a "large colony of beachcombers, escaped convicts, and ship's deserters became established ashore," identified as "chiefly bad characters," according to the log of the Swedish frigate Eugenie.
The Saudeleur Dynasty ended with the invasion of Isokelekel, another semi-mythical foreigner, who replaced the Saudeleur rule with the more decentralized nahnmwarki system in existence today.
Pohnpeian historic society was highly structured into five tribes, various clans and sub-clans; each tribe headed by two principal chiefs. In theory, "all land belonged to the chiefs, who received regular tribute and whose rule was absolute." Punishments administered by chiefs included death and banishment.
On April 1, 1865, the CSS Shenandoah surprised four United States whalers at Ascension Island (Pohnpei) and destroyed them all.
Spanish Capuchin friars were also sent from Manila to Pohnpei to preach the Catholic faith.