Palau

Palau (historically Belau or Pelew), officially the Republic of Palau (Palauan: Beluu er a Belau),[4] is an island countrywith a population of 17,948 on 465 km2, located in the western Pacific Ocean. It contains approximately 250 islands, which form the western chain of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia.

p<>The most populous of these is Koror. The capital Ngerulmud is located on the nearby island of Babeldaob, in Melekeok State. Palau shares maritime boundaries with Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Palau country was originally settled approximately 3,000 years ago by migrants from the Philippines and sustained a Negritopopulation until around 900 years ago. The islands were first explored by Europeans in the 16th century, and were made part of theSpanish East Indies in 1574. Following Spain’s defeat in the Spanish–American War in 1898, the islands were sold to Imperial Germany in 1899 under the terms of the German–Spanish Treaty, where they were administered as part of German New Guinea. The Imperial Japanese Navy conquered Palau during World War I, and the islands were later made a part of the Japanese-ruledSouth Pacific Mandate by the League of Nations. During World War II, skirmishes, including the major Battle of Peleliu, were fought between American and Japanese troops as part of the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign. Along with other Pacific Islands, Palau was made a part of the United States-governed Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947. Having voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia in 1979, the islands gained full sovereignty in 1994 under a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Politically, Palau is a presidential republic in free association with the United States, which provides defense, funding, and access to social services. The majority of citizens are of mixed Micronesian, Melanesian, and Austronesian descent, with significant groups descended fromJapanese and Filipino settlers. The country’s two official languages are Palauan (member of the wider Sunda–Sulawesi language group) and English, with Japanese, Sonsorolese, and Tobian recognised as regional languages.

Palau’s territory consists of an archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean. Its most populous islands are Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror andPeleliu. 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 coral atoll of Kayangel is north of these islands, while the uninhabited Rock Islands (about 200) are west of the main island group. A remote group of six islands, known as the Southwest Islands, some 375 miles (604 km) from the main islands, make up the states of Hatohobei and Sonsorol.

Palau has a tropical climate with an annual mean temperature of 82 °F (28 °C). Rainfall is heavy throughout the year, averaging 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.
For transportation, there is Palau International Airport- provides scheduled direct flights with Guam, Manila, Seoul and Taipei and since December 2010, Tokyo-Narita. In addition, the states of Angaur andPeleliu have regular service to international destinations.

Freight, military and cruise ships often call at Malakal Harbor, on Malakal Island outside Koror. The country has no railways, and of the 61 km or 38 mi of highways, only 36 km or 22 mi are paved. Driving is on the right and the speed limit is 40 km/h (25 mph). Taxis are available in Koror. They are not metered and fares are negotiable. Only Koror offersbus service. Transportation between islands mostly relies on private boats and domestic air services. However, there are some state run boats between islands as a cheaper alternative.

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