Palau

Palau

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Palau

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Palau

Republic of Palau Beluu er a Belau
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Flag - Coat of arms
Anthem:Belau loba klisiich er a kelulul
Palau is marked in green and in turn circled in green for better identification.
Palau is marked in green and in turn circled in green for better identification.
Capital - Ngerulmud
7°21′N 134°28′E  /  7.35°N 134.467°E  / 7.35;134.467
Largest city - Koror
Official language(s) - English, Palauan
Recognised regional languages - Japanese
Angaur (in Angaur)
Sonsorolese (in Sonsoral)
Tobian (in Hatohobei
Demonym - Palauan
Government - Democraticpresidentialrepublic
President - Johnson Toribiong
Vice President - Kerai Mariur
Independencefrom UN Trust Territory status
Date - October 1, 1994
Area
Total - 459 km (195th)
177 sq mi
Water (%) - negligible
Population
2009 estimate - 20,000 - (211th
Density - 43.6/km (155th)
113/sq mi
GDP (PPP) - 2008 estimate
Total - $164 million (2008 est.) 2 - ( not ranked
Per capita - $8,100 2 - (119
HDI (2003) - 0.864 (unranked ) (n/a
Currency - US dollar (USD
Time zone - (UTC+9
Drives on the - right
Internet TLD - .pw
Calling code - +680
- On 7 October 2006, government officials moved their offices in the former capital of Koror to Ngerulmud in State of Melekeok, located 20 km (12 mi) northeast of Koror on Babelthaup Island and 2 km (1 mi) northwest of Melekeok village.
- GDP estimate includes US subsidy (2004 estimate).
This article is about the Pacific island. For other uses, see Palau.
Palau en-us-Palau.ogg/pəˈlaʊ/
1 - History
1.1 - Archaeology
1.2 - European contact
1.3 - Spanish rule
  • 1.4 - German era
  • 1.5 - Japanese mandate
  • 1.6 - World War II
  • 1.7 - Post-war development
  • 2 - Politics and government
    2.1 - Free association
    2.2 - Foreign relations
    2.3 - Nuclear-free constitution
    2.4 - Asylum for former Guantanamo prisoners
    3 - States
    4 - Geography
    4.1 - Climate
    4.2 - Environment
    5 - Economy
    6 - Demographics
    6.1 - Religion
    7 - Culture
    7.1 - Education
    7.2 - Libraries and museums
    8 - Transport
    9 - In the media
    10 - See also
    11 - References
    12 -
    History
    History of Palau
    Archaeology
    Early Palauans may have come from Polynesia and Asia. Depending on the origin of a family, Palauans may represent many parts of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. However, they are not traditionally considered to be Micronesian.

    The archipelago is also known as "The Black Islands". Vintage maps and village drawings can be found at the Australian library online, as well as photos of the tattooed and pierced Ibedul of Koror and Ludee.

    Carbon dating and recent archaeological discoveries have brought new attention to the archipelago. Cemeteries uncovered on the islands have shown that Palau has the oldest known burial ceremony in Oceania. There had been a dispute as to whether Palau was established around 2500 BC or 1000 BC. New studies seem to disprove both of these dates. Palau's ancient trading partner, Java, has also come under close scrutiny since Homo floresiensis was found. Like Flores, remains of small-bodied humans have been found in Palau. -

    For thousands of years, Palauans have had a well established matrilineal society, believed to have descended from Javanese precedents. Traditionally land, money, and titles passed through the female line. Clan lands continue to be passed through titled women and first daughters 5 - but there is also a modern patrilineal sentiment introduced by imperial Japan. The Japanese government attempted to confiscate and redistribute tribal land into personal ownership during World War II, and there has been little attempt to restore the old order. Legal entanglements continue amongst the various clans. 6 -

    European contact
    Historians take note of the early navigational routes of European explorers in the Pacific. There is disagreement as to whether Spaniard Ruy López de Villalobos, who landed in several Caroline Islands, spotted the Palau archipelago in 1543. No conclusive evidence exists, but some believe he could have seen the tip of a southernmost island in the group.

    Palau had limited relations before the 18th century, mainly with Yap and Java. Had it not been for shipwrecked islanders who took refuge in the Philippines, Europeans likely would not have found Palau until much later. Englishman Henry Wilson, captain of the East India Company's packet Antelope , was shipwrecked off the island of Ulong in 1783. 7 - The King of Palau allowed Captain Wilson to take his son, Prince Lee Boo, to England, where he arrived in 1784. However, the prince died soon after of smallpox. The East India Company erected a monument over his grave in St Mary's Churchyard, Rotherhithe. It was Wilson who gave the archipelago the name "Pelew Islands".

    Spanish rule
    In the late 19th century, possession of the islands was claimed by Britain, Spain, and Imperial Germany. In 1885, the matter was brought to Pope Leo XIII for a decision. The Pope recognized the Spanish claim, but granted economic concessions to Britain and Germany. Palau then became part of the Spanish East Indies, along with the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands and the Marshall Islands. They were all administered from the Philippines.

    After being defeated in 1898 in the Spanish-American War and losing possession of the Philippine Islands, Spain sold the Palau archipelago to Imperial Germany in the 1899 German-Spanish Treaty. 8 - 9 -

    German era
    Palau was administered from German New Guinea, and a period of economic development began. German engineers began exploiting the islands' deposits of bauxite and phosphate, and a rich harvest in copra was made. The German period lasted only 15 years.
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    Koror during the Japanese Mandate
    Japanese mandate
    Under the terms of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, the Empire of Japan declared war on the German Empire in 1914 and invaded German overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean. Palau was seized by ships of the Japanese navy. After the war, the League of Nations awarded Palau to Japan as a Class C League of Nations Mandate. 10 -

    Japan incorporated the islands as an integral part of its empire, establishing the Nanyo-cho government with Koror Island as the capital. 11 - Civilian control was introduced from 1922, and Palau was one of six administrative districts within the Mandate. Japan mounted an aggressive economic development program and promoted large scale immigration by Japanese, Okinawans and Koreans. Native Palauans soon became a small minority in their own homeland. The Japanese continued the German mining activities, and also established bonito (skipjack tuna) canning and copra processing plants in Palau.

    World War II
    The Japanese presence made Palau a major target for the Allied forces in World War II. Peleliu was a scene of intense fighting between American and Japanese forces in 1944. The battle ended in an Allied victory, but at a high cost for both sides. All surviving Japanese were repatriated after the end of the war. There are still about 100 American servicemen listed as Missing In Action in Palau. Starting in 1993, a small group of American volunteers called The BentProp Project has searched the waters and jungles of Palau for information that could lead to the identification and recovery of these remains.
    Post-war development
    In 1947, the United Nations decided the United States would administer Palau as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1979, Palauans voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia because of language and cultural differences. After a long period of transition, including the violent deaths of two presidents (Haruo Remeliik in 1985 and Lazarus Salii in 1988), Palau voted in 1994 to freely associate with the United States while retaining independence under the Compact of Free Association.
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    The New Capitol in Palau
    Politics and government
    Politics of Palau
    Palau's politics takes place in a multi-party framework of a presidentialrepresentative democraticrepublic, whereby the President of Palau is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government, while legislative power is vested in both the government and the Palau National Congress. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

    Palau adopted its own constitution in 1981, and the governments of the United States and Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association in 1986, similar to compacts that the United States had entered into with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. 12 - The compact entered into force on October 1, 1994, concluding Palau's transition from trusteeship to independence 12 - as the last portion of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands to gain its independence.

    Free association
    Compact of Free Association
    The Compact of Free Association between the United States and Palau 13 - sets forth the free and voluntary association of their Governments, and is primarily focused on the issues of government relations, economic relations, and security and defense relations. 14 - Palau has no independent military, and relies on the United States for its defense. Under the Compact, the American military has been granted access to the islands for 50 years. The role of the US Navy is quite minimal, limited to a handful of Navy Seabees (construction engineers) but the United States Coast Guard does have a stronger presence in patrolling the waters.
    Foreign relations
    As a sovereign nation, Palau conducts its own foreign relations. 12 - Since independence, Palau has established diplomatic relations with a number of nations, including many of its Pacific neighbors. Palau was admitted to the United Nations on December 15, 1994, and has since joined several other international organizations. In September 2006, Palau hosted the first Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit, and its President has gone on several official visits to other Pacific countries, including the Republic of China (Taiwan).

    The United States maintains the usual diplomatic delegation and an embassy in Palau, but most aspects of the two countries' relationship have to do with Compact-funded projects, which are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs. 15 - This has led to some ambiguity in the official status of Palau, ] though regarded as de jure independent.

    Since 2004, Palau has joined the United States and Israel as the only nations voting consistently against an annual U.N. resolution condemning the United States embargo against Cuba which has been in place since 1962.

    On October 5, 2009 Palau formalized Diplomatic and Trade Ties with Malaysia and Lord Morris Davidson was appointed as Palau's first Honorary Consul to Malaysia.

    Nuclear-free constitution
    In 1981, Palau voted for the world's first nuclear-free constitution. This constitution banned the use, storage, and disposal of nuclear, toxic chemical, gas, and biological weapons without first being approved by a 3/4 majority in a referendum. 16 - This ban held up Palau's transition to independence because while negotiating a Compact of Free Association with the United States the U.S. insisted on the option to operate nuclear propelled vessels and store nuclear weapons within the territory. 17 - After several referendums that failed to achieve a 3/4 majority, the people of Palau finally approved the compact with the U.S. in 1994. 18 - 19 -
    Asylum for former Guantanamo prisoners
    Uyghur captives in Guantanamo
    On June 10, 2009, Palau announced that it would accept up to all 17 of the remaining Uyghurs held in extrajudicial detention in Guantanamo "as a humanitarian gesture". 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - Five Uyghur captives were cleared of all suspicion in 2004, and transferred to Albania in 2006. The remaining seventeen were cleared of all suspicion in 2008.

    Stuart Beck, Palau's representative to the United Nations, published an op-ed in the New York Times disputing the widely distributed report that Palau's agreement to accept the Uyghurs was tied to Palau's receipt of US$200 million in foreign aid. 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - Beck asserted that Palau was receiving funds from the USA connected with accepting the Uyghurs, but it was $90,000 per Uyghur, not "$12 million". Beck asserted that the $90,000 was to compensate Palau for its "relocation costs" and was "to cover transportation, food, housing and medical help until the men can get oriented and get jobs" . ABC News confirmed that the United States would be paying Palau for each captive who was resettled and quoted a senior official who described the amount as "not very substantial". 27 -

    William Cleary, writing in the Pacific Daily News , reported that Palau was in a poor bargaining position to decline the American request. 28 - He wrote:

    "The detainee transfer deal comes at a time when generous U.S. financial aid and economic development grants to Palau under a 15 year old treaty of free association between the two nations have expired. Palauan leaders apparently wanted to demonstrate their commitment to sharing mutual interests and burdens with the USA, as they make the case for renewal of U.S. grant assistance."

    However, Cleary also described the assertions that the captive resettlement was a straight quid pro quo as "misleading". 28 -

    He listed the USA's desire to continue to be able to base DoD personnel on Palau, to balance the growing military force of the People's Republic of China as one complicating factor. He also listed Palau's desire to have exemption from growing pressure within the USA to restrict immigration from former protectorates like Palau as another complicating factor.

    An official "technical working group" from Palau traveled to Guantanamo to meet with the Uyghurs in mid-June 2009. 29 - 30 - On June 23, the Palau government published a press release which said only eight of the thirteen Uyghurs agreed to meet with the delegation. Their report stated:"The team advised President Toribiong that in their opinion only a few of the detainees that were interviewed had any real interest in being relocated to Palau." On June 30, Radio New Zealand International reported only one Uyghur agreed to be temporarily resettled in Palau. 31 - On September 10, The Times reported that three of the Uyghurs, have accepted the invitation to be transferred to asylum in Palau. 32 - On September 19, Fox News reported that in the week since the first announcement three further Uyghurs agreed to be transferred to Palau. 33 - Fox reported that five of the other Uyghurs had refused to speak with Palau officials. On October 31, six Uyghurs were reported to have been transferred to Palau. 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38 - Twelve of the thirteen remaining Uyghurs were offered asylum. The thirteenth man was not offered asylum because his mental health had deteriorated too severely for the mental health resources available in Palau.

    The USA agreed to give Palau additional aid in January 2010. 39 - Palau had rejected an earlier aid package of $156 million. The new aid package was for $250 million. President Toribiong asserted that the increase in aid was unrelated to Palau agreement to host the Uyghurs.

    States
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    The sixteen states of Palau.
    States of Palau
    Palau is divided into sixteen states (until 1984 called municipalities). These are listed below with their areas (in square kilometres) and 2005 Census populations:

    State - Area (km) - Census 2005
    Aimeliik 52 270
    Airai 44 2,723
    Angaur 8 320
    Hatohobei 3 44
    Kayangel 3 188
    Koror 18 12,676
    Melekeok 28 391
    Ngaraard 36 581
    Ngarchelong 10 488
    Ngardmau 47 166
    Ngaremlengui 65 317
    Ngatpang 47 464
    Ngchesar 41 254
    Ngiwal 26 223
    Peleliu 13 702
    Sonsorol 4 100
    Historically, Palau's uninhabited Rock Islands have been part of the State of Koror.
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    Republic of Palau.
    Geography
    Geography of Palau
    Palau's most populous islands are Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu. The latter three lie together within the same barrier reef, while Angaur is an oceanic island several miles to the south. About two-thirds of the population live on Koror. The coralatoll of Kayangel is situated north of these islands, while the uninhabited Rock Islands (about 200) are situated to the west of the main island group. A remote group of six islands, known as the Southwest Islands, some 375 miles (600 km) from the main islands, are also part of the country and make up the states of Hatohobei and Sonsorol.
    Climate
    Palau enjoys a tropical climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 82 °F (28 °C). Rainfall can occur throughout the year, averaging a total of 150 inches (3,800 mm). The average humidity over the course of the year 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 main typhoon zone.
    Environment
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    Rock Islands in Palau.
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    WCTC Shopping Center
    While much of Palau's natural environment remains free of environmental degradation, there are several areas of concern, including illegal fishing with the use of dynamite, inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste in Koror, and extensive sand and coral dredging in the Palau lagoon. Like the other Pacific island nations, a potential major environmental threat is rising sea levels. Water coverage of low-lying areas is a threat to coastal vegetation, agriculture, and the purity of the nation's water supply. Palau also has a problem with inadequate water supply and limited agricultural areas to support the size of the population. The nation is also vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tropical storms. Sewage treatment is a problem, along with the handling of toxic waste from fertilizers and biocides.

    On November 5, 2005, President of Palau, Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. took the lead on a regional environmental initiative called the Micronesia challenge, which would conserve 30% of near shore coastal waters and 20% of forest land by 2020. In addition to Palau, the initiative was joined by the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. Together, this combined region represents nearly 5% of the marine area of the Pacific Ocean and 7% of its coastlines.

    On September 25, 2009, Palau announced that it would create the world's first "shark sanctuary". 40 - Palau has banned all commercial shark fishing within its EEZ waters. The sanctuary protects about 600,000 square kilometres (230,000 sq mi) of ocean, 41 - a similar size to the European country of France. 42 - 43 - 44 - PresidentJohnson Toribiong made the announcement at a meeting of the United Nations. 42 - 45 - 46 - President Toribiong also requested a worldwide ban on fishing for sharks. 42 -

    Saltwater crocodiles are also residents of Palau and occur in varying numbers throughout the various mangroves and even in parts of the beautiful rock islands. Although this species is generally considered extremely dangerous, there has only been one fatal human attack in Palau within modern history, and that was in the 1960s. In Palau the largest crocodile measured in at 4.5 metres (15 ft), which is large but considered an average size throughout much of this reptile's range (i.e. in Australia 6 metres (20 ft) individuals are not uncommon.

    Economy
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    Koror-Babeldaob Bridge.
    Economy of Palau
    Consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. Tourist activity focuses on scuba diving and snorkeling in the islands' rich marine environment, including its barrier reefs walls and World War II wrecks. 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-term 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 2004, Palau Micronesia Air was launched with service from Palau to Yap, Guam, Micronesia, Saipan, Australia, and the Philippines. By offering low fares it was planned to be a competitor of Continental Micronesia, however it ceased operations in December of the same year, mainly because of rising fuel prices. Palau Micronesia Air has not restarted operations since but has made a codeshare alliance with Asian Spirit, a carrier that operated flights between Palau and the Philippines (Davao, Cebu, and Manila). There were two flights weekly from Manila via Cebu to Palau and one flight weekly from Davao. Just after few months of service, Asian Spirit ceased its Philippines to Palau route. As of March 2010, Pacific Flier provides air services between to Brisbane and Manila.

    Taxes are moderate, the income tax has 3 brackets with medium rates (9.3%, 15% and 19.6%), corporate tax is 4% and general sales tax is 7.5%. There are no property taxes.

    Demographics
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    A deserted island in Palau.
    Demographics of Palau
    Year - Pop.
    1970 - 11,210
    1980 - 12,116
    1990 - 15,122
    2000 - 21,000
    The population of Palau is approximately 21,000, of whom 70% are native Palauans, who are of mixed Melanesian, Micronesian, and Malayan descent. Many Palauans also have some Asian ancestry, which is the result of intermarriage between settlers and Palauans between the 19th and 20th centuries. Palauans with mixed Japanese ancestry accounted for the largest group, and some also had some Chinese or Korean ancestry. Filipinos form the second largest ethnic group.

    The official languages of Palau are Palauan and English, except for two states (Sonsorol and Hatohobei) where the local language, along with Palauan, is official. Japanese is also spoken widely amongst older Palauans, and is an official language in the State of Angaur. 47 - 48 - Tagalog is not official in Palau, but it is the fourth largest spoken language.

    Religion
    Religion in Palau
    The German and Japanese occupations of Palau both subsidized missionaries. Three quarters of the population are Christians (mainly Roman Catholics and Protestants), while Modekngei (a combination of Christianity, traditional Palauan religion and fortune telling) and the ancient Palauan religion are commonly observed. According to the 2005 census 49 - 49.4% of the population are Roman Catholics, 21.3% Protestants, 8.7% Modekngei and 5.3% Seventh-day Adventists. There is a small Jewish community in Palau. In 2009 it sent 3 members to the 18th Maccabiah Games. There are also approximately 400 BengaliMuslims in Palau, 50 - and recently 6 Uyghurs detained in Guantanamo Bay were allowed to settle in the island nation. 51 -
    Culture