The Republic of the Marshall Islands (march. Aolepān Aorōkin
M̧ajeļ) is a Pacific state in Micronesia associated with the United
States. It borders in the west and southwest with the waters of the
Federated States of Micronesia, in the south with the waters of
Kiribati, and in the remaining parts - with the neutral waters of
the Pacific Ocean. The coastal strip is 370.4 km long. The Republic
of Marshall Islands is located on 29 atolls and 5 islands of the
Marshall Islands archipelago, consisting of Ralik and Ratak chains.
Total land area - 181.3 km²; the territory occupied by the lagoons -
11 673 km². The population of the Marshall Islands is 57,045.
(November 2018, United Nations Department of Economic and Social
Affairs: Population Division). The capital is the city of Majuro.
The first island seen by Europeans was the Bocac Atoll,
discovered by the Spanish navigator Alonso de Salazar in 1526.
Subsequently, the Marshall Islands alternately became the territory
of various colonial powers: in 1886 - Germany, in 1914 - Japan,
which continued to rule the islands after the First World War
already under the mandate of the League of Nations, in 1947 - were
included in the UN Trusteeship under the control of the United
States. As a public entity, the Marshall Islands arose in 1983 as a
result of the division of the UN Pacific Trust Territory. Since
1986, the Islands have been in “free association” with the United
States. Marshall Islands is a member of the United Nations, the
Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum.
The Micronesian state of the Marshall Islands is a cluster of
atolls and islands located in the Pacific Ocean just north of the
equator. The capital of the country, the city of Majuro, is located
3438 km west of the city of Honolulu, the administrative center of
the American state of Hawaii, 3701 km southeast of Tokyo, the
capital of Japan, and 3241 km southeast of the city of Saipan, the
capital of the Northern Mariana Of the islands. The closest
archipelagos are the Caroline Islands, owned by the Federated States
of Micronesia, located southwest of the Marshall Islands, and the
Gilbert Islands, located to the southeast and belonging to the
Republic of Kiribati.
The land area of the Marshall Islands
is only 181.3 km², while the area occupied by the lagoons is 11 673
km². The country is located on 29 atolls and 5 remote islands, which
are divided into two groups: 18 islands in the Ralik chain
(translated from Marshallian language “sunset”) and 16 islands in
the chain of Ratak (or Radak; translated from Marshallic language
“sunrise”) . Both chains are located about 250 km from each other
and stretch from the northwest to the southeast for about 1200 km.
The most important islands are the atolls of Kwajalein and Majuro.
The largest island of the Republic of the Marshall Islands,
Kwajalein, is simultaneously an atoll with the largest lagoon in the
world. Despite the fact that its land area is only 16.32 km² (or 6.3
sq. Miles), the area of the lagoon is 2174 km² (or 839.3 sq.
Miles). All islands are low-lying, and the atolls consist of a large
number of motu, the total number of which in the country exceeds
1100. The highest point of the country, which reaches only 10 m, is
located on the Likyep atoll.
The northernmost island of the
Republic of the Marshall Islands is Bokak Island (or Taongi) in the
Ratak chain: it is located 280 km northwest of the country-contested
Wake Atoll, which is now under US administration. The southernmost
island of the Marshall Islands is the Ebon Atoll, the westernmost is
Ujelang (both located in the Ralik chain), the easternmost is Knox
in the Ratak chain.