38 Facts About Palau


Palau, officially the Republic of Palau and historically Belau, Palaos or Pelew, is an island country in the western Pacific.

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Palau islands were made part of the Spanish East Indies in 1885.

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Politically, Palau is a presidential republic in free association with the United States, which provides defense, funding, and access to social services.

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Palau's economy is based mainly on tourism, subsistence agriculture and fishing, with a significant portion of gross national product derived from foreign aid.

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The name "Palau" originated in the Spanish Los Palaos, eventually entering English via the German Palau.

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Palau is unrelated to Pulau, which is a Malay word meaning "island" found in a number of place names in the region.

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Palau was originally settled between the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE, most likely from the Philippines or Indonesia.

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Sonsorol, part of the Southwest Islands, an island chain approximately 600 kilometers from the main island chain of Palau, was sighted by the Spanish as early as 1522, when the Spanish mission of the Trinidad, the flagship of Ferdinand Magellan's voyage of circumnavigation, sighted two small islands around the 5th parallel north, naming them "San Juan".

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Palau had one appointed member to the Congress, becoming the only group of islands in the entire Caroline Islands granted high representation in a non-colonial Philippine Congress.

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Later in 1899 as part of the Caroline Islands, Palau was sold by the Spanish Empire to the German Empire as part of German New Guinea in the German–Spanish Treaty .

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In World War II, Palau was used by Japan to support its 1941 invasion of the Philippines, which succeeded in 1942.

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Palau passed formally to the United States under United Nations auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 21.

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Palau became a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, but withdrew in February 2021 after a dispute regarding Henry Puna's election as the Forum's secretary-general.

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In 2001, Palau passed its first bank regulation and anti-money laundering laws.

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In 2009, Palau created the world's first shark sanctuary, banning commercial shark fishing within its waters.

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The Philippines supported Palau to become an observer state in ASEAN, as Palau has Southeast Asian ethnic origins.

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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.

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Palau has no independent military, relying on the United States for its defense.

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Since independence, Palau has established diplomatic relations with a number of nations, including many of its Pacific neighbors, like Micronesia and the Philippines.

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For example, as part of this Compact, Palau was granted zip codes 96939 and 96940, along with regular US Mail delivery.

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Palau has maintained close ties with Japan, which has funded infrastructure projects including the Koror–Babeldaob Bridge.

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Palau is a member of the Nauru Agreement for the Management of Fisheries.

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In 1981, Palau voted for the world's first nuclear-free constitution.

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In June 2009, Palau announced that it would accept up to seventeen Uyghurs who had previously been detained by the American military at Guantanamo Bay, with some American compensation for the cost of their upkeep.

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In 2017, Palau signed the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

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Palau has maintained strong foreign relations with its neighbors with its region of Oceania, maintaining membership in the Pacific Island Forum.

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Palau is hugely reliant on international aid, as demonstrated by President Surangel Whipps Jr address to the UN General Assembly in 2021.

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Palau already has a problem with inadequate water supply and limited agricultural areas to support its population.

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On 25 September 2009, Palau announced that it would create the world's first shark sanctuary.

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Palau banned all commercial shark fishing within the waters of its exclusive economic zone .

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In 2012, Palau received the Future Policy Award from World Future Council, because "Palau is a global leader in protecting marine ecosystems".

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Palau is served by an 80 bed hospital, Belau National Hospital.

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On 13 December 2006, the Palau Horizon reported that 641 depositors had been affected.

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Major tourist draws in Palau include Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and four tentative UNESCO sites, namely, Ouballang ra Ngebedech, Imeong Conservation Area, Yapease Quarry Sites, and Tet el Bad .

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Japanese rule brought Mahayana Buddhism and Shinto to Palau, which were the majority religions among Japanese settlers.

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Present-day "traditional" government of Palau is a continuation of its predecessors.

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Palau has a national football team, organized by the Palau Football Association, but is not a member of FIFA.

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Palau has its own cuisine, for instance, a dessert called tama.

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