Central & SE Asia / Australasia

Palau flag
Summary | Profile

Country profile: Palau

Location: Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines
Climate: tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November
Terrain: varying geologically from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs
Size: 458 sq. km total (Land area: 458 sq. km )
Population: 21,093 (July 2008 est.)
Languages: Palauan 64.7% official in all islands except Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official)
Government: constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force 1 October 1994
Capital city: Melekeok
Legal system: based on Trust Territory laws, acts of the legislature, municipal, common, and customary laws; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Currency: US dollar (USD)
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Country profile

After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986, but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year, when the islands gained independence.

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