Palau, officially the Republic of Palau (Palau Beluu er a Belau,
English Republic of Palau, Jap. パラオ共和国) is an island nation
associated with the United States in the Philippine Sea of the
Pacific Ocean, located 800 km east of the Philippines and to the
north from Indonesia.
Consists of 328 islands with a total area of 458 km², belongs to Micronesia.
According to the 2005 census, the population of the country was about 19,907 people (in 2008 - 20.9 thousand, an estimate for July 2014 - 21,186, 2015 - 21,271).
The main religion is Christianity (Catholics and Protestants). About 8.7% of the population professes local beliefs, the syncretic cult of modekngei.
The country's capital is Ngerulmud, Melekeok State. There is an international airport.
The country consists of 16 states.
The head of the executive branch is the president, the legislature is a bicameral national legislative assembly (the Senate and the House of Delegates).
The average temperature on the islands is +24-28°C.
The name of the islands in Palau is probably derived from beluu ("village"), or from aibebelau ("indirect answers") referring to the creation myth. In English, the name "Palau" came from the Spanish. Los Palaos through it. Palau. The archaic name for the islands in English was the "Pellew Islands". "Palau" should not be confused with "Pulau", a Malay word for "island" found in several place names in the region.
Palau is an archipelago consisting of many (more than 250) islands.
The climate is tropical, the rainy season is from May to November.
1500 species of tropical fish and many rare mammals live in the coastal waters. Also, according to environmentalists, off the coast of Palau live 130 species of sharks from among those threatened with extinction. In 1995, Palau was declared an underwater wonder of the world by the International Committee of Marine Biologists and Conservationists. Palau's tropical gardens and forests are home to orchids and many exotic flowers, as well as about 50 species of birds. Eil Malk Island has a popular tourist destination, Jellyfish Lake, which is home to millions of jellyfish.
The Palau archipelago is the western part of the Caroline
The Palau Islands were inhabited in the III-II millennium BC, apparently from the Philippines. Until the 12th century, a population close to the Negritos lived here, but they were driven out by immigrants from the Sunda Islands.
The first European to see the Palau Islands was probably the Spaniard Ruy López de Villalobos in 1543. In 1686, Spain claimed them as its own, but did nothing to colonize them.
In 1697, immigrants from Palau reached the Philippine island of Samar, where they were wrecked. When communicating with a local missionary, the Czech Jesuit Pavel Klein, they folded a map of the Palau Islands from pebbles on a local beach, from 87 pebbles. This aroused interest in the islands among the Spaniards. Several expeditions were undertaken from 1700 to 1711, which were accompanied by failures - either because of the elements, or for other reasons. As a result of this chain of failures in their attempts to reach the islands, Spain gave them the name Islas Encantadas - "Charmed".
Contacts between the islanders and Europeans were established only in 1783, when the ship "Antelope" of the English captain Henry Wilson crashed on the reefs near Oolong Island. The supreme leader of the island of Koror Ibedul ordered to help repair the ship and sent his son Lebuu to study in England. Lebuu died of illness shortly after his arrival in London. A new ship was sent to Koror with gifts and goods. Other European merchants followed. Great Britain became Palau's most important trading partner and remained so until the islands were captured by Spain.
In 1885, Pope Leo XIII officially recognized Spain's right to the Caroline Islands, including Palau. 2 churches were built, and the Capuchin priests, sent there, achieved an end to hostility between individual villages and spread writing.
In 1899, after the Spanish-American War and the loss of the Philippines, Spain sold the Caroline Islands to Germany, which began to actively develop the islands and exploit natural and human resources. Due to the fact that the inhabitants of Palau were not immune to diseases brought by strangers, the islanders died. The inhabitants of Palau suffered not only from imported diseases, but also from interference in the national way of life, traditions, and religion.
At the end of 1914, after the outbreak of the First World War, Japan captured the islands and received a mandate from the League of Nations in 1920 to govern them (see South Pacific Mandate).
During World War II, the islands were occupied by American troops during the Mariana operation.
Since 1947, Palau, part of Micronesia, has been administered by the United States as a Trust Territory. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were attempts to enshrine in the constitution a non-nuclear status for Palau, which met with opposition from the United States.
In November 1993, a referendum in Palau approved Palau's status as "a state freely associated with the United States". On October 1, 1994, the independence of Palau was proclaimed.
The population is 20.9 thousand (July 2010 estimate).
Annual increase - 0.4% (fertility - 1.73 births per woman).
The average life expectancy is 68 years for men, 75 years for women.
Literacy - 92%.
Ethnic composition: Palau - 72.5% (14,438 people), Filipinos - 16.3% (3253 people), Chinese - 1.6% (317 people), Vietnamese - 1.6% (321 people). ), other Asians - 3.4% (675 people), whites - 0.9% (186 people), Carolinians - 1.0% (197 people), other Micronesians - 2.4% (470 people). ), others - 0.3% (50 people) (according to the 2005 census).
Languages: Palau (state) - 62.1% (12,354 people), English - 14.4% (2871 people), Filipino languages - 10.0% (2000 people), Chinese - 1.7% ( 331 people), other languages (according to the 2005 census). The official languages are Palauan and English. In some states, other languages have official status: Sonsorola and English in Sonsorola, Tobi and English in Hatohobei, Palau, Japanese and English in Angaura.
According to the 2005 census, the majority of believers are Catholics 49.4% (9825 people), Protestants - 23.2% (4610 people), Seventh-day Adventists - 5.3% (1046 people) and followers of the Modekngey religion - 8, 7% (1733 people). Followers of other religious movements (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses) are few in number (according to the 2005 census).
Palau is a republic. The head of state and government is the
president, elected by the population for a 4-year term (re-election for
a second consecutive term is acceptable).
The Parliament of Palau is bicameral and consists of the Senate (13 members elected by the people for 4 years) and the House of Delegates (16 members elected by the people for 4 years).
There are no political parties.
There are no armed forces.
The country retains, along with the official, traditional institutions of power, there are leaders of the northern and southern territories of Palau. The leader of the southern territory, which includes the most developed island of Koror, whose title sounds like Ibedul, is usually considered the "king" of all Palau. The chiefs interact with the official authorities through the Council of Chiefs, an official advisory body.
Diplomatic relations between Russia and Palau were established on August 8, 2006.
On November 28 of the same 2006 in New York, the permanent representatives of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Palau to the UN - Vitaly Churkin and Stuart Beck - signed a joint statement on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries at the level of ambassadors. The Russian Ambassador to Palau is concurrently the Ambassador to the Philippines. Palau's interests in Russia are represented by the US Embassy.
Israel was the first non-Pacific country to establish diplomatic relations with Palau since that country's independence in 1994. Israel voted for the admission of Palau to the UN and offered financial assistance to the state. The Israeli Foreign Ministry organized trips of agricultural and fishing specialists to Palau to educate and train the local population. The Israeli Embassy is located in Koror.
The basis of Palau's economy is tourism (85 thousand tourists in 2007, in 2016 - 150,000 tourists, which is 70% more than in 2010), fishing, art crafts. In agriculture, coconut palm and tapioca are cultivated.
The volume of GDP is $ 250 million (in 2017), mainly provided by subsidies from the United States. GDP per capita - 8.1 thousand dollars (119th place in the world).
In 2016, the volume of imports amounted to 185.3 million dollars, exports - 24.1 million dollars, the negative balance of foreign trade amounted to almost 161.2 million dollars.
Export goods for 2016 are fish and seafood (up to 60% of the value), ships and boats (up to 31% of the value). Imports - oil products (about 13% of the value), passenger and cargo ships (about 11% of the value), other engineering products, fish and other food products, medicines.
Main export trading partners in 2016: Japan ($14.1 million) - 58%, Greece ($7.4 million) - 31%, USA ($1.27 million) - 5.2%. The main trading partners for imports in 2016: the USA (61.8 million dollars) - 33%, Japan (36.2 million dollars) - 19%, Singapore (17 million dollars) - 9.1%.
The monetary unit is the US dollar.
It is a member of the international organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
The Palau Islands have long served as a source of stone mining for the manufacture (issue) of a special monetary unit - the rai of the Yap Islands. There was no suitable material on Yap itself, so rai stones were made in Palau and delivered by rafts to Yap. Often, when transporting multi-ton money, people died, but this circumstance significantly increased the cost of the stone. The stones that sank during transportation and lay on the bottom of the sea also participated in all financial transactions, just like those that were on land.