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Palau

From Academic Kids

The Republic of Palau (also spelled Belau) is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, located some 500 km east of the Philippines. Having emerged from United Nations trusteeship (administered by the United States of America) in 1994, it is one of the world's youngest and least populated nations.

Beluu er a Belau
No coat of arms
(In Detail)
National motto: Rainbow's End </font>
image:LocationPalau.png
Official languages English, Palauan, Japanese (in Angaur)
Capital Koror
President Tommy Remengesau
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 179th
458 km²
Negligible
Population
 - Total (Year)
 - Density
Ranked 189th
20,303 (2005 est.)
44/km²
Independence October 1, 1994
Currency US Dollar
Time zone UTC + 9
National anthem Belau loba klisiich er a kelulul
Internet TLD .pw
Calling Code 680
Contents

History

Main article: History of Palau

The first inhabitants of Palau, probably from Indonesia, settled on the islands as early as 1000 BC. Spanish explorer Ruy L󰥺 de Villalobos first sighted the islands in 1543, but European attempts to settle on or trade with the islands weren't started until the 18th century, by the British. Spain colonized the islands in the late 19th century, but sold it to Germany in 1899. Japan seized the islands at the start of World War I, and gained a mandate over them until the end of the Second World War, when the islands came under control of the United States as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The Palauans voted in 1979 not to join the Federated States of Micronesia, and chose independence instead. After a long period of transition, including the violent deaths of two presidents (Haruo Remeliik in 1985 by assassination and Lazarus Salii in 1988 by suicide), Palau voted in 1994 to become freely associated with the U.S. while retaining their independence. This "Compact of Free Association" was a hotly debated issue that Palauans voted down more than ten times since the 1970s as provisions in the compact allow the U.S. broad powers such as control of 51% of the island in time of national emergency. The U.S. especially desired control of a trench (Marianas Trench?) for submarine testing, as the trench is the deepest in the world.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Palau

The president of Palau, who is both head of state and head of government, is elected by the Palauans every four years. The government he heads consists of a bicameral parliament, known as the Olbiil Era Kelulau. The members of both chambers are chosen by the people; 9 are part of the Senate, and 16 of the House of Delegates. The current president is Tommy Remengesau. He was elected in 2000 and took office in 2001. He had previously served as vice president. He was re-elected in 2004.

States

Main article: States of Palau

Palau is divided into sixteen administrative regions, called states:

Geography

Main article: Geography of Palau

Image:Ps-map.gif

Palau's most important islands are Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu, which lie together near the same barrier reef. About two thirds of the population lives on Koror. North of these islands, the coral atoll of Kayangel is situated, while the uninhabited Rock Islands (Palau) (ca. 70) are situated to the west of the main island group. A remote group of six islands, known as the Southwest Islands, some 600 km from the main islands, is also part of the country.

Climate

Palau enjoys a tropical climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 82? degrees F. (27? C.). Rainfall can occur throughout the year, the annual average is 150 inches (3,800 mm). The average humidity is 82%, and although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine. Typhoons are rare as Palau is outside the typhoon zone.

Economy

Main article: Economy of Palau

The economy consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. The government is the major employer of the work force, relying heavily on financial assistance from the US. Business and tourist arrivals numbered 50,000 in the financial year 2000/2001. The population enjoys a per capita income twice that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-run prospects for the key tourist sector have been greatly bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of leading East Asian countries, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development.

In July of 2004, Palau Micronesia Air was launched with service from Palau to Yap, Guam, Micronesia, Saipan, Australia, and the Philippines.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Palau

The population of Palau is approximately 19,000. The major ethnic group (70%) is the native Palauans, who are of Melanesian ethnicity. Micronesians, Polynesians, Indo-Europeans, Asians (mostly from the Philippines) and Europeans account for the minority groups. About two thirds of the population are Christians (mainly Catholics and Seventh-day Adventists), but Modekngei (a combination of Christianity, traditional Palauan religion and fortune telling) and the Ancient Palauan Religion is still the most commonly observed household religion.

The official languages of Palau are Palauan and English, except for three states (Sonsorol, Hatohobei, and Anguar) where the local language is official instead of Palauan. In Angaur, Japanese is also official.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Palau

Miscellaneous topics

Reference

Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.

External links

Template:Pacific Islands

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