Republic of Nauru
Created | Updated May 27, 2005
Nauru is a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean and, in fact, is the smallest self-governing island in the world.
The first Westerner to set foot on Nauru was John Fearn, in 1798. He named the island Pleasant Island. The Germans occupied the island from 1888 until 1914, when it was taken over by the Australians. In 1942, it was invaded by the Japanese, who kept it until the end of World War II when it was given to the Australians again. In 1968, it gained its independence from Australia.
Throughout the 1970s, '80s and '90s Nauru fought for compensation for the exploitation of the island's resources. In the 1990s Australia paid up, but Britain was found innocent, and therefore did not.
Nauru recently hit the headlines when Afghan refugees were put on the island while en route to Australia.
Nauru is a three-mile long island in the middle of the Pacific, just below the Equator. It is divided into the 14 districts of Aiwo, Anabar, Anetan, Anibare, Baiti, Boe, Buada, Denigomodu, Ewa, Ijuw, Meneng, Nibok, Uaboe, and Yaren.
The only water source inside the island is the Buada Lagoon, in the province of Buada. All the fertile and inhabitable land is around the edge. In the centre, there is a landscape resembling nowhere else on Earth 1. There is a huge field of dead coral pinnacles, rising out of the ground.
The Nauruan economy is a fallen economy. Ironically, it was based around bird droppings. The inside of the island was entirely covered in phosphates, formed from guano (bird excrement). These phosphates were mined from the inside, and sold as fertilizer. This made Nauru one of the richest countries in the third world. However, the phosphates are expected to run out in five to ten years. The island's prospects are dismal.
If you want an interesting experience for your travels, visit Nauru. If you want a sandy, fertile island, give up on it. There are two hotels - the Anibare Hotel and the Menen Hotel - and both are reasonably priced.
Nauruan is a loose Micronesian language; information on it is sketchy and almost impossible to find without living there and experiencing it first hand. In Nauruan there is no word for hello - they say a kamawirei or 'I greet'.
Little is known about the Nauruan culture, except the language. One of the few things known is that they were a tribal culture, split into 12 tribes. This Nauruan Timeline chronicles the island's modern history.
- Official Name - Republic of Nauru
- Official Language - Nauruan
- Capital City - None, too small for anything like that.
- Population as of 2001 - Approx 12,088