OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Palau
AREA: 458 Sq Km (177 Sq Mi)

Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: Palau is located in the west Pacific Ocean approximately 960 km (597 mi) east of the Philippines and is the most westerly archipelago of island groups that make up the Caroline Islands. The archipelago consists of over 200 islands and atolls which vary in size from small islands of coral limestone formation to Babeldoab, the 367 sq km (142 sq mi) main island, which is also the second largest Micronesian island after Guam. Babeldoab was formed from volcanic activity, rises to an elevation of 200 metres (656 feet) and is surrounded by mangrove swamps. A 181 km (112 mi) reef surrounds the main island group and encompasses a lagoon on the western side that reaches 20km (12 mi) across at its' widest point. Most of the islands are also covered in thick vegetation. Major Cities (pop. est.); Koror 10,500 (1992). Land Use; N/A.

CLIMATE: Palau has a tropical maritime climate with hot and humid conditions. From May to November the wet season prevails with typhoons occurring between June and December. Average annual precipitation is 3,810 millimeters (150 inches) while the average daily temperature is 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) with 82% average humidity.

PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Palauns who are Micronesians and ethnically the same as those located in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Other ethnic minorities include the Tobi of the most southerly islands.

RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 41% of the population Roman Catholic while 25% are Protestant.

LANGUAGES: The official languages are English and Palaun, a Micronesian language. Although a variety of dialects are spoken throughout the islands.

MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1990: In 1935 Japan began to construct military installations within the Palaun territory. In 1947 Micronesia, including Palau, became the Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration. In 1969 the US entered into discussions with the Trust Territory's legislature on the future status of the territory. In 1978 a statement of Agreed Principles for Free Association, which included full internal self-government, was announced. In July 1978 Palau rejected a referendum on the draft constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia. In 1980 Haruo Remiliik was elected President and on Jan. 7, 1981 Palau adopted it's own popular constitution. On Aug. 26, 1982 Palau signed a Compact of Free Association with the US, although it required ratification by the people before it could come into effect. In 1985 Pres. Remiliik was assassinated and succeeded by Lazarus Salii. In Aug. 1988 Pres. Salii was found dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. On Nov. 2, 1988 Ngiratkel Etpison was elected President.

CURRENCY: The official currency is the US Dollar divided into 100 Cents.

ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $81,800,000 (1994). Public Debt; USD $100,000,000 (1993). Imports; USD $40,000,000 (1993). Exports; USD $600,000 (1989). Tourism Receipts; N/A. Economically active Population; 6,072 or 40.2% of total population (1990). Unemployed; 7.8% (1990).

MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the US and Japan.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Fish, Root Crops, Timber.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Handicrafts, Tourism.

MAIN EXPORTS: Fish, Food, Handicrafts.

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