OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Nauru
CAPITAL: No Official Capital
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Republic
AREA: 21 Sq Km (8 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 10,500
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Nauru is an island located in the
west central Pacific Ocean. It is the smallest nation in
Asia and is comprised of phosphate rock. It is an oval shaped
island bound by a coral reef and encircled by a sandy beach
which gently rises to form a fertile coastal belt. Along
the coastal belt, coral cliffs rise to form a central plateau
which covers more than 50% of the land area. A brackish
lagoon known as Buada is situated at the southeastern end
of the plateau.
CLIMATE: Nauru has a tropical climate characterized by a dry
season from March to October and a wet season from November to February
with average humidity between 70 to 80% all year. Average annual precipitation
is 1,472 mm (18 inches) with much of it occurring during the wet season
when monsoons occur. Average temperature ranges are from 23 to 32 degrees
Celsius (73 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: The indigenous Nauruans are of mixed Micronesian, Melanesian
and Polynesian descent. The Nauruans are the principal ethnic majority
accounting for around 50% of the population while the remainder include
1,800 Tuvaluans and Kiribatians, 1,100 Chinese and 500 Europeans, mainly
Australian and New Zealanders.
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with around 66% of the population
Protestants while the remainder are Roman Catholic.
LANGUAGES: The official language is English which is understood
by almost all Nauruans, although most still use their native language called
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: Japan invaded and occupied Nauru
during World War II and in 1945 Australian forces retook the island. In
1947 the UN granted Australia control of the island under a UN trusteeship
which was jointly held by Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. In
1951 Nauru was granted greater autonomy with limited internal self government.
In 1964 Nauru began to work towards independence and by 1966 they had a
large measure of self government. On Jan. 31, 1968 the UN granted Nauru
independence and in late 1968 Nauru was granted Special Member Status in
the Commonwealth. In Jan. 1987 Hammer DeRoburt was elected President and
was forced to resigned in Aug. 1989. In Dec. 1989 Bernard Dowiyogo was
elected President and at the South Pacific Forum in 1990 Pres. Dowiyogo
argued strongly that chemical weapons should not be destroyed at the Johnston
Atoll in the Pacific. During 1991 Pres. Dowiyogo attempted to bring Australia
before the International Court of Justice for the exploitation of Nauru.
In response, the Australian government officially commented that the issue
of phosphate mining on the island had been settled in UN supervised arrangements
when Nauru gained independence. In 1992 Nauru continued with its claim
that Australia had breached the terms of its trusteeship over phosphate
mining in the International Court of Justice in The Hague. On June 26,
1992 the court ruled that Australian objections were unsound and decided
to hear the merits of Nauru's claim for compensation. In July 1992 former
President and independence leader, Hammer DeRoburt died in Melbourne, Australia.
In 1993 Nauru hosted the South Pacific Forum with Pres. Dowiyogo serving
as Chairman. In May 1993 the Australian manager of the Nauru Phosphate
Trust, Geoffrey Chatfield resigned in protest to the Nauru government's
continual bleeding of the trust. Also in 1993 the Australian government
offered an out-of-court settlement to Nauru over their compensation dispute,
that allowed for an AUD $57 million payment within 12 months and an additional
AUD $2.5 million per annum for 20 years.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Australian Dollar divided
into 100 Cents.
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are Australia,
New Zealand and Japan.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Coconuts, Fish, Phosphates.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Fishing, Phosphate Mining, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Phosphates.