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Brief History of Palau:
Palau is an island nation located 500 miles southeast of the Philippines. It is sometimes called the ?Black Islands?. The islands were originally inhabited as many as 4,000 years ago. The British came to Palau in the 18th century followed by the Spanish in the 19th century. The Spanish came into possession of Palau but sold it to Germany in 1899 after losing the Spanish-American War.
After World War II, Palau became a territory of the United States. In 1994 Palau became a fully independent nation. This makes it one of the youngest independent countries in the world.
The Geography of Palau
Total Size: 458 square km
Size Comparison: slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Geographical Coordinates: 7 30 N, 134 30 E
World Region or Continent: Oceania
General Terrain: varying geologically from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs
Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Geographical High Point: Mount Ngerchelchuus 242 m
Climate: tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November
The People of Palau
Type of Government: constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force 1 October 1994
Languages Spoken: Palauan 64.7% official in all islands except Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official), Filipino 13.5%, English 9.4%, Chinese 5.7%, Carolinian 1.5%, Japanese 1.5%, other Asian 2.3%, other languages 1.5% (2000 census)
Independence: 1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN Trusteeship)
National Holiday: Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)
Religions: Roman Catholic 41.6%, Protestant 23.3%, Modekngei 8.8% (indigenous to Palau), Seventh-Day Adventist 5.3%, Jehovah's Witness 0.9%, Latter-Day Saints 0.6%, other religion 3.1%, unspecified or none 16.4% (2000 census)
National Anthem or Song: Belau rekid (Our Palau)
Economy of Palau
Major Industries: tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), construction, garment making
Agricultural Products: coconuts, copra, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes; fish
Natural Resources: forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals
Major Exports: shellfish, tuna, copra, garments
Major Imports: machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs
Currency: US dollar (USD)
National GDP: $164,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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