Worldwide Travel Information (area) World Countries > Oceania > Palau
PalauPalau is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. Geographically part of the larger island group of Micronesia, with the country's population of around 21,000 people spread out over 250 island forming the western chain of the Caroline Island .
The island share maritime boundaries with Indonesia the Philippines and the Federated States of Micronesia. The most populous island in the group is Koror, with the capital city, Ngerulmud, located on nearby Babeldaob.
The country was originally settled around 3,000 years ago by migrants from the Philippines with a Negrito population sustained until around 900 years ago. The island were first visited by Europeans in the 18th century, and were made part of the Spanish East Indies in 1885. Following Spain's defeat in the Spanish–American War in 1898, the island were sold to Imperial Germany in 1899 under the terms of the German–Spanish Treaty, where they were administered as part of German New Guinea. The Imperial Japan se Navy conquered Palau during World War I, and the island were later made a part of the Japan se-ruled South Pacific Mandate by the League of Nations. During World War II, skirmishes, including the major Battle of Peleliu, were fought between American and Japan se troops as part of the Mariana and Palau Island campaign. Along with other Pacific Island , Palau was made a part of the United States governed Trust Territory of the Pacific Island in 1947. Having voted against joining the newly-independent Federated States of Micronesia in 1979, the island gained full sovereignty in 1994 under a Compact of Free Association with the United States
Politically, Palau is a presidential republic in free association with the United States with the US providing defense, funding, and access to social services. Legislative power is concentrated in the bicameral Palau National Congress. Palau's economy is based mainly on tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing, with a significant portion of Gross National Product (GNP) derived from foreign aid. The country's currency is the United States dollar. The island ' culture is derived from a mixture of Japan se, Micronesian, and Melanesian elements, with the majority of citizens of mixed Micronesian, Melanesian, and Austronesian descent, with significant groups descended from Japan se and Filipino settlers. The country's two official languages are Palauan, a member of the wider Sunda–Sulawesi language group, and English, with Japan se, Sonsorolese and Tobian recognised as regional languages.