Palau History

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History[edit | edit source]

The islands were first explored by Europeans in the 16th century, and were made part of the Spanish East Indies in 1574. Following Spain's defeat in the Spanish–American War in 1898, the islands 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, although the islands were already represented in the Malolos Congress of the revolutionary First Philippine Republic.

The Imperial Japanese Navy conquered Palau during World War I, and the islands were later made a part of the Japanese-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 Japanese troops as part of the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign. Along with other Pacific Islands, Palau was made a part of the United States-governed Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947. Having voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia in 1979, the islands 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, which provides defense, funding, and access to social services. Legislative power is concentrated in the bicameral Palau National Congress. The country uses the United States dollar as its currency. The islands' culture mixes Micronesian, Melanesian, Asian, and Western elements. Ethnic Palau's, are the majority of the population and are of mixed Micronesian, Melanesian, and Austronesian descent. A smaller proportion of the population is descended from Japanese and Filipino settlers. The country's two official languages are Palau and English, with Japanese, Sonsorolese, and Tobian recognized as regional languages.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1574 - 1899 The Captaincy General of the Philippines was an administrative district of the Spanish Empire in Southeast Asia governed by a Governor-General. The Captaincy General encompassed the Spanish East Indies, which included among others the Philippine Islands and the Caroline Islands
1899 - 1914 The Empire of Japan declared war on the German Empire in 1914 and invaded German overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean
1914 - 1922 Palau was seized by ships of the Japanese navy and the Japanese Empire annexed the islands after seizing them from Germany
1919 - 1944 South Pacific Mandate
1944 - 1947 United States United States military occupation
1944 - At the end of the Pacific War, less than five thousand Palau's were left alive
1947 - 1981 Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was a United Nations trust territory in Micronesia administered by the United States