Five Island Nations you Might Not have Heard of

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These are five Independent Island republics,
how many do you know?

11) Maldives

This is a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean.
There are 1,190 coral islets over 35,200 square

Maldives is directly threatened by global warming
as none of the islands is more than six feet above
sea level.

The Maldives were first settled in the 5th
Century b.c. by Buddhist seafarers from India
and Sri Lanka. Islam was adopted in 1153.

The Maldives fell under British protection in
1887 and received independence in 1965.

A republican form of government was adopted in
1952 but the sultanate was restored in 1954.
In 1968, by referendum, a republic was again

The 2004 tsunami effected the Maldives which
reported 82 deaths and suffered enormous damage.
Fourteen of the Islands are now permanently un-
inhabitable and residents relocated.

12) Kiribati

Formerly called the Gilbert Islands, these are
three widely separated groups in the southwest

Kiribati consists of low lying coral atolls
built on a submerged volcanic chain and en-
circled by reefs.

One of the islands, Ocean Island, was mined
out of phosphates in 1981.

Originally settled by Australonesian people
before the 1st century, Fijians and Tongans
arrived in about the 14th.

The British sighted the islands in the late
18th century and by 1892 it had become a
British protectorate. In 1915 it was a Crown

The Kiritimanti atoll was added in 1919 and
the Phoenix island in 1937.

Tarawa and other islands were occupied by
Japan during World War II.

It was not until 1979 that Kiribati became
independent. It’s first act was to move the
international date line far to the east which
would allow Kiribati to be the first country
to see the dawn on January 1, 2000.

13) Marshall Islands

This country is made up of two chains of
islands; the Eastern and Western. These
are coral reefs which only rise a few feet
above sea level.

Micronesians were the first inhabitants and
the islands were first visited by the Spanish
in the 16th century.

They were named for a British captain in 1788.

Germany unsuccessfully tried to colonise the
islands in 1885, Japan claimed them in 1914,
and after World War II, America claimed them.

Nuclear testing took place between 1946 and
1958 on the islands of Bikini and Eniwetock.

The people of Bikini were moved to another
island and a total of 23 US atomic and hydrogen
bomb tests were conducted.

Because of the nuclear contamination, the US
paid $183.7 Million in damages in 1983 and in
1999 approved a 3.8 Billion payment to the
relocated people of Bikini atoll.

Kwajalein atoll is the site of an American
military base.


Nauru is an island of 8 square miles.
90% of the population is unemployed.

Mining of Phosphate has destroyed the
islands ecology, turning its tropical
vegetation into a barren wasteland.

In 1798 the British first visited the
island. Germany annexed it in 1888 and
phosphate mining began in the 1900s.

The Japanese occupied the island during
WWII and forced two thirds of the population
to relocate.

In 1947 Nauru became a UN trusteeship, and
it was not until 1967 phosphate mining
finally came under Nauru control.

For a short time, Nauru had the highest
per capital income after Saudi Arabia,
but when the phosphates began to run
out, so did the money.

The strip mining reduced Nauru to a waste
land and it appealed to the International
Court of Justice for compensation after
a century of strip mining by foreign

In 1993 Australia offered Nauru an out of
Court settlement of 2.5 million dollars
a year for the next 20 years.

New Zealand and the UK agreed a one
time settlement of $12M each.

However, the economy of Nauru collapsed
in 1990.

Russian criminals used the island for money
laundering which kept the island functioning,
but this was stopped in 2000.

Currently, Nauru survives by taking boatloads
of Asian refugees, for which Australia pays
the island $20 Million.

15) Palau

Palau consists of about 200 islands in the
Western Pacific. Only eight of the islands
are permanently inhabited.

It is believed the original settlers arrived
from Indonesia in 2500 b.c.

The islands were taken by the Spanish in 1543
until they were sold to Germany in 1899.

Japan occupied the islands during WWI and
received a mandate over them from the
League of Nations in 1920.

They remained in Japanese control until
the US seised them during WWII.

Palau became a sovereign state in 1994.

America maintains a military base there
and the U.S. dollar is the currency.


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