Koror • Koror Town • Kloulklubed • Ulimang • Mengellang • Angaur • Ngchesar Hamlet • Melekeok Village • Ngchemiangel • Ngerkeai • Ngardmau • Kayangel • Angaur State • Imeong Hamlet • Ngetkib • Tobi Village • Sonsorol Village •
|THE PALAU COAT OF ARMS|
Location of Palau within the Geographic Region of Oceania
Map of Palau
Flag Description of Palau:The flag of Pakistan was officially adopted on August 14, 1947.
The symbolic flag of Pakistan uses white to represent non-Muslims within the country; green and white combined represent peace and economic success; the white crescent represents future progress, and the star is symbolic of knowledge.
Official name Beluu er a Belau (Palauan); Republic of Palau (English)
Form of government republic with two legislative houses (Senate ; House of Delegates )
Head of state and government President: Tommy Remengesau
Capital Melekeok, on Babelthuap1
Official languages Palauan; English
Official religion none
Monetary unit U.S. dollar (U.S.$)
Population (2013 est.) 20,900COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 188
Total area (sq km) 488
- Urban: (2011) 84.2%
- Rural: (2011) 15.8%
Life expectancy at birth
- Male: (2011) 68.6 years
- Female: (2011) 75.1 years
Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate
- Male: (2005) 99.6%
- Female: (2005) 99.8%
GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 10,970
1Formal transfer of capital to Melekeok on Babelthuap from Koror took place Oct. 1, 2006.
Background of Palau
Palau, country in the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of some 340 coral and volcanic islands perched on the Kyushu-Palau Ridge. The Palau (also spelled Belau or Pelew) archipelago lies in the southwest corner of Micronesia, with Guam 830 miles (1,330 km) to the northeast, New Guinea 400 miles (650 km) to the south, and the Philippines 550 miles (890 km) to the west, A huge barrier reef system, continuous on the west and broken on the east, encircles most of the archipelago. Its major populated islands are Babelthuap (Babeldaob), Koror, Malakal, Arakabesan, and Peleliu. The sparsely populated Kayangel Islands to the north of Babelthuap and the raised coral islands of Angaur, Sonsorol, Pulo Anna, and Tobi south of Peleliu lie outside the barrier reef system.
Palau was a member of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which was established in 1947 and administered by the United States. The U.S. government dissolved the trusteeship in 1986, but repeated measures to win the required support for a compact of free association between Palau and the United States were unsuccessful until 1993. The Republic of Palau officially became a sovereign state on Oct. 1, 1994.
Koror island, rising to 2,061 feet (628 metres) just south of Babelthuap, is home to Koror city, the largest population centre and former capital. Melekeok, on Babelthuap, became the capital in October 2006.
Geography of Palau
- Relief and drainage
All but six of Palau’s islands lie within an expansive lagoon, enclosed by the barrier reef, that stretches northeast to southwest for almost 70 miles (115 km). Babelthuap, the largest island (153 square miles [396 square km]), is volcanic, mainly composed of andesite, and is bounded by thick mangrove forests broken occasionally by sandy beaches on the east coast. Its highest point, Ngerchelchuus, in the northwest, is 794 feet (242 metres) high. Babelthuap is essentially a rolling upland, part grassland and part jungle, that has been incised by stream action to form a well-developed drainage system of three rivers. With about 150 inches (3,800 mm) of rain annually, considerable erosion has taken place on Babelthuap in spite of the stability provided by laterite soils, clays, and vegetation. The Palauan practice of burning the grassy upland areas during the dry season has contributed to erosion.
A steel bridge connects the islands of Babelthuap and Koror. Koror in turn is linked by causeway to Malakal Island, the site of Palau’s deepwater port, and to Arakabesan Island. The combined area of the three smaller linked islands is 7 square miles (18 square km). All are of volcanic origin. However, beginning adjacent to southern Babelthuap and eastern Koror and filling the huge lagoon for 28 miles (45 km) south to Peleliu are more than 300 verdant “rock islands.” These are uplifted reef structures of coralline limestone, each deeply undercut at sea level. Some of the rock islands are large, towering some 600 feet (180 metres); these can have interior brackish lakes, containing unique organisms, that are connected to the lagoon by subterranean channels. Plant growth is thick on the rock islands and, together with the chemical action of heavy rains, has sculpted and broken their surfaces, producing razor-sharp edges and points and broken rubble. The limestone islands have rich deposits of phosphate, and the more accessible ones have been mined.
The inhabited coral islands outside Palau’s reef-lagoon-island system sit on volcanic substructures and consist of the Kayangel Islands, 25 miles (40 km) north of Babelthuap, and Angaur, 6 miles (10 km) south of Peleliu. Angaur was heavily mined for its phosphate first by the Germans and later by the Japanese. Sonsorol, Pulo Anna, and Tobi, all with areas of less than 1 square mile (2.6 square km), are 180 miles (290 km) southwest of the Palau archipelago. All are flat platform structures with fringing reefs.
Palau’s climate is tropical. Rainfall varies from about 120 to 160 inches (3,050 to 4,060 mm) per year. Humidity is fairly constant, ranging from 77 to 84 percent, and temperatures vary not more than 10 °F (5.5 °C) diurnally, monthly, or annually from a mean in the low 80s °F (28 °C). Northeast trade winds prevail from December to March, and the southwest monsoon from June to October. Prevailing oceanic currents offshore are the North Equatorial Current and the Pacific Equatorial Countercurrent.
Geologically, Palau sits on the Philippine Sea Plate only 30 miles (48 km) west of the 26,200-foot- (7,990-metre-) deep Palau Trench, the western boundary of the upthrusting Pacific Plate. Despite its close proximity to this subduction zone, Palau rarely experiences earthquake activity.
- Plant and animal life
Palau’s marine environment exhibits a rich fauna balanced by an abundant terrestrial flora. This richness derives from Palau’s close proximity to Indonesia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Palau has more species of marine life than any other area of similar size in the world; corals, fish, snails, clams, sea cucumbers, starfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, jellyfish, squid, and feather-duster worms exist in profusion and variety. Such marine life has made Palau one of the world’s premier scuba-diving locations. Common flora are the beach morning glory, Polynesian ironwood tree, pandanus, and various species of palm and fern. The birds of Palau are abundant and colourful, and many migrate to or through Palau twice annually. A few species of reptiles and amphibians live in Palau, including a unique frog that gives birth to live young. Insects are also abundant. The accidentally introduced coconut rhinoceros beetle can do enormous damage to coconut palms, but various biological methods are used to control its spread.
Demography of Palau
- Ethnic groups and languages
The islands were inhabited from 3,000 to 2,000 years ago by successive waves of Malays from Indonesia, Melanesians from New Guinea, Philippine natives, and some Polynesians from outlying Polynesian islands in Micronesia. This resulted in a diverse population, which since the late 18th century has also included Europeans, Japanese, and Americans. The southwest islanders, who are culturally and linguistically distinct from the Palauans, are the only minority group; they trace their origin to a group of ancestral survivors of one or more canoes that drifted to Sonsorol from Ulithi Atoll, northeast of Yap.
Palauan is a Western Austronesian language and is very complex in that it has many irregularities that make formulation of grammatical and lexical rules difficult. Sonsorolese-Tobian, another native language, is spoken on the southwest islands. Palauan, Sonsorolese-Tobian, and English are the official languages of Palau.
The indigenous Palauan religion of powerful ancestral and nature spirits was supplanted by Christianity, brought by missionaries. Slightly more than half the population is Roman Catholic; just over one-fourth is Protestant. There are smaller numbers of Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and members of other faiths.
- Settlement patterns and demographic trends
Historically, Palauans have tended to migrate overseas to a greater extent than have other Micronesians. There are a number of substantial Palauan communities on Guam, in Hawaii, and on the West Coast of the United States. Beginning in the late 20th century, immigration—fueled by foreigners seeking employment, especially those from the Philippines—grew significantly; by the early 21st century, foreigners accounted for more than one-fourth of the population.
Economy of Palau
Since the end of World War II, the major employer in Palau has been government—first the U.S. Navy, then the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and finally the government of Palau. Nevertheless, in the rural areas outside Koror the subsistence economy is active. Women typically gather and cultivate taro, sweet potato, and cassava, and men fish and tend pigs, which are used at customary feasts. Nearshore reef fishing is carried out on a subsistence and small-venture basis, but it does not generate significant government revenue. Offshore tuna fishing by foreign vessels provides a small amount of government revenue through the sale of licenses. There are no major exportable crops; tuna and clothing are the country’s main exports. Tourism grew considerably during the late 20th century and has also made some contribution to the republic’s economic growth. The country’s per capita income is one of the highest in the region.
The U.S. dollar is the official currency of Palau, which does not have a central bank. In 1997 the country joined the International Monetary Fund. There is heavy reliance on financial assistance from the United States. Following allegations in 1999 that Palau was the site of money-laundering activities, the government established financial regulatory bodies in the early 21st century and introduced tighter banking regulations.
Foreigners, particularly from the Philippines and Taiwan, constitute a growing segment of Palau’s labour force. By the early 21st century, foreigners accounted for more than two-fifths of the country’s paid workers. While the constitution allows for the formation of unions, at the start of the 21st century no such organizations existed in Palau. In 1998 the country adopted its first minimum-wage law; the law, however, does not apply to foreign workers.
Koror has a system of paved roads. There are stretches of paved road on Babelthuap, and in the mid-1990s construction began on a 53-mile (85-km), two-lane highway. Known as the Compact Road because its construction was a term of the Compact of Free Association, it was completed in 2007. The roads built in 1944–46 by U.S. military forces on Peleliu and Angaur are still usable. Transportation between islands is usually by boat or airplane. There is regular commuter service from Koror to Peleliu and Angaur, and trips by speedboat to coastal villages on Babelthuap usually can be completed in a few hours. There is an international airport located on Babelthuap.
Government and Society of Palau
Culture Life of Palau
Palauans have had a well-established matrilineal society. Clan lands continue to be passed through titled women and first daughters. Palauan women have always been endowed with land, titles, and money. Palauan villages are organized around 10 clans that are determined matrilineally. A council of chiefs from the ranking 10 clans governs the villages, and a parallel council of female counterparts plays a significant advisory role in the control and division of land and money.
Members of the highest-ranking clans were also the wealthiest, controlling state and village as well as clan money and resources. Leaders were responsible for caring for their descendants and dependents. But the chiefly system is being replaced by social stratification based on educational attainment and wealth.
The community meeting house, or bai, is an impressive thatched building that is still the center of political, social, and artistic life in many villages. The decorated bai gable is used in most national and state seals and to decorate Palauan buildings. The ceremonial image of a mother at the time of her first child symbolizes the wealth and fertility of their matrilineal society.
The provision of food has followed a traditional division of labor between men and women. Men provide the protein, mainly in the form of fish from the sea, while women produce starch foods. Each clan has certain food taboos. There are special foods for titled individuals and for pregnant and lactating women. Food and related valuables are exchanged when building a house, receiving a title, and to mark births and deaths. Imported rice has become a staple food. A basic meal comprises a starch food, preferably soft or hard taro, tapioca, or rice, and a protein food, normally fish. Coffee and breads or cereal may provide a fast breakfast. Japanese and American foods, and the various cuisines of China, the Philippines, and Korea, add variety to the diet. There are many restaurants in Palau. Beer is commonly consumed and a local brewery has been established.
Ninety-two percent of Palauans over the age of 15 can read and write. Families who can afford to, send their children to the United States or to Hawaii for high school and college. Many children who attend schools abroad do not return to Palau. As a result, there is a shortage of young professional Palauans.
Palau Public Library There is a small public library in Koror, with a collection of about 17,000 books. The Belau National Museum, established in 1973, is also located in Koror.
Until the 1800s, Palauans were tattooed, with the most ornate designs on women of the high clan. Men wore their hair in tight buns. Important chiefs wore bracelets made from vertebrae of dugongs.
Palau’s musical heritage is Micronesian, but has been influenced by music from the United States and western Europe, as well as Japan. Modern Palauan pop music emerged in the mid-1980s. Palauan pop music includes elements of Japanese music, a legacy of the period of Japanese domination. The American influence can be heard in a distinctly Palauan form of country music. Popular performers include IN-X-ES, whose "Mousobes" was a major commercial success in 1999. Since 1980, the national anthem of Palau has been a song written by Ymesei O. Ezekiel.
History of Palau
Spain held the islands for about 300 years before selling them to Germany in 1899. Japan seized them in 1914 and was given a mandate over them by the League of Nations in 1920. A major Japanese naval base in World War II, Palau was seized by U.S. forces in 1944 and made part of the U.S.-administered United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947. Palau became self-governing in 1981. Palau's constitution prohibits nuclear weapons, causing a conflict with the compact of free association proposed by the United States in 1985–86. The islands voted in favor of the compact in 1987, but the referendum failed to garner the 75% of the votes then required. In a new plebiscite held in 1993 the compact was approved, opening the door to closer official linkage with the United States. The following year Palau became an independent nation in free association with the United States. The capital was moved from Oreor to Babeldoab in 2006. In 2010 Palau and the United States signed a 15-year renewal of the financial assistance associated with the compact of free association. Johnson Toribiong was elected president in 2008, succeeding Tommy Remengesau, Jr., who had been elected to the maximum two terms; in 2012 Remengesau defeated Toribiong to return to the office. Parts of the country suffered significant damage from a typhoon in Nov., 2013.
Palau Area: 488 sq km (188 sq mi) Population (2013 est.): 20,900 Capital: Melekeok (on Babelthuap) Head of state and government: Presidents Johnson Toribiong and, from January 17, Tommy Remengesau ...>>>Read On<<<
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