Marshall Islands


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.