Palau: Wikis


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Republic of Palau
Beluu er a Belau
Flag Coat of arms
AnthemBelau loba klisiich er a kelulul
Orthographic projection centred over Palau.
Capital Melekeok1
7°21′N 134°28′E / 7.35°N 134.467°E / 7.35; 134.467
Largest city Koror
Official language(s) English, Palauan
Recognised regional languages Japanese
Angaur (in Angaur)
Sonsorolese (in Sonsoral)
Tobian (in Hatohobei)
Carolinian, Filipino, Chinese
Demonym Palauan
Government Democratic presidential republic
 -  President Johnson Toribiong
 -  Vice President Kerai Mariur
Independence from UN Trust Territory status
 -  Date October 1, 1994 
 -  Total 459 km2 (195th)
177 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
 -  2009 estimate 20,000[1] (211th)
 -  Density 43.6/km2 (155th)
113/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $164 million (2008 est.)[2] (not ranked)
 -  Per capita $8,100[2] (119)
HDI (2003) 0.864 (unranked) (n/a)
Currency US dollar (USD)
Time zone (UTC+9)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .pw
Calling code +680
1 On 7 October 2006, government officials moved their offices in the former capital of Koror to Ngerulmud in State of Melekeok, located 20 km (12 mi) northeast of Koror on Babelthaup Island and 2 km (1 mi) northwest of Melekeok village.
2 GDP estimate includes US subsidy (2004 estimate).

Palau en-us-Palau.ogg /pəˈlaʊ/ , officially the Republic of Palau (Palauan: Beluu er a Belau), is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, some 500 miles (800 km) east of the Philippines and 2,000 miles (3,200 km) south of Tokyo. Having emerged from United Nations trusteeship (administered by the United States) in 1994, it is one of the world's youngest and smallest sovereign states. In English, the name is sometimes spelled Belau in accordance with the native pronunciation. It was formerly also spelled Pelew.[3]




Early Palauans may have come from Polynesia and Asia. Depending on the origin of a family, Palauans may represent many parts of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. However, they are not traditionally considered to be Micronesian.

The archipelago is also known as "The Black Islands". Vintage maps and village drawings can be found at the Australian library online, as well as photos of the tattooed and pierced Ibedul of Koror and Ludee.

Carbon dating and recent archaeological discoveries have brought new attention to the archipelago. Cemeteries uncovered on the islands have shown that Palau has the oldest known burial ceremony in Oceania. There had been a dispute as to whether Palau was established around 2500 BC or 1000 BC. New studies seem to disprove both of these dates. Palau's ancient trading partner, Java, has also come under close scrutiny since Homo floresiensis was found. Like Flores, remains of small-bodied humans have been found in Palau.[4]

For thousands of years, Palauans have had a well established matrilineal society, believed to have descended from Javanese precedents. Traditionally land, money, and titles passed through the female line. Clan lands continue to be passed through titled women and first daughters[5] but there is also a modern patrilineal sentiment introduced by imperial Japan. The Japanese government attempted to confiscate and redistribute tribal land into personal ownership during World War II, and there has been little attempt to restore the old order. Legal entanglements continue amongst the various clans.[6]

European contact

Historians take note of the early navigational routes of European explorers in the Pacific. There is disagreement as to whether Spaniard Ruy López de Villalobos, who landed in several Caroline Islands, spotted the Palau archipelago in 1543. No conclusive evidence exists, but some believe he could have seen the tip of a southernmost island in the group.

Palau had limited relations before the 18th century, mainly with Yap and Java. Had it not been for shipwrecked islanders who took refuge in the Philippines, Europeans likely would not have found Palau until much later. Englishman Henry Wilson, captain of the East India Company's packet Antelope, was shipwrecked off the island of Ulong in 1783.[7] The King of Palau allowed Captain Wilson to take his son, Prince Lee Boo, to England, where he arrived in 1784. However, the prince died soon after of smallpox. The East India Company erected a monument over his grave in St Mary's Churchyard, Rotherhithe. It was Wilson who gave the archipelago the name "Pelew Islands".

Spanish rule

In the late 19th century, possession of the islands was claimed by Britain, Spain, and Imperial Germany. In 1885, the matter was brought to Pope Leo XIII for a decision. The Pope recognized the Spanish claim, but granted economic concessions to Britain and Germany. Palau then became part of the Spanish East Indies, along with the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands and the Marshall Islands. They were all administered from the Philippines.

After being defeated in 1898 in the Spanish-American War and losing possession of the Philippine Islands, Spain sold the Palau archipelago to Imperial Germany in the 1899 German-Spanish Treaty.[8][9]

German era

Palau was administered from German New Guinea, and a period of economic development began. German engineers began exploiting the islands' deposits of bauxite and phosphate, and a rich harvest in copra was made. The German period lasted only 15 years.

Koror during the Japanese Mandate

Japanese mandate

Under the terms of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, the Empire of Japan declared war on the German Empire in 1914 and invaded German overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean. Palau was seized by ships of the Japanese navy. After the war, the League of Nations awarded Palau to Japan as a Class C League of Nations Mandate.[10]

Japan incorporated the islands as an integral part of its empire, establishing the Nanyo-cho government with Koror Island as the capital.[11] Civilian control was introduced from 1922, and Palau was one of six administrative districts within the Mandate. Japan mounted an aggressive economic development program and promoted large scale immigration by Japanese, Okinawans and Koreans. Native Palauans soon became a small minority in their own homeland. The Japanese continued the German mining activities, and also established bonito (skipjack tuna) canning and copra processing plants in Palau.

World War II

The Japanese presence made Palau a major target for the Allied forces in World War II. Peleliu was a scene of intense fighting between American and Japanese forces in 1944. The battle ended in an Allied victory, but at a high cost for both sides. All surviving Japanese were repatriated after the end of the war. There are still about 100 American servicemen listed as Missing In Action in Palau. Starting in 1993, a small group of American volunteers called The BentProp Project has searched the waters and jungles of Palau for information that could lead to the identification and recovery of these remains.

Post-war development

In 1947, the United Nations decided the United States would administer Palau as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1979, Palauans voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia because of language and cultural differences. After a long period of transition, including the violent deaths of two presidents (Haruo Remeliik in 1985 and Lazarus Salii in 1988), Palau voted in 1994 to freely associate with the United States while retaining independence under the Compact of Free Association.

The New Capitol in Palau

Politics and government

Palau's politics takes place in a multi-party framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Palau is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government, while legislative power is vested in both the government and the Palau National Congress. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Palau adopted its own constitution in 1981, and the governments of the United States and Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association in 1986, similar to compacts that the United States had entered into with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.[12] The compact entered into force on October 1, 1994, concluding Palau's transition from trusteeship to independence[12] as the last portion of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands to gain its independence.

Free association

The Compact of Free Association between the United States and Palau[13] sets forth the free and voluntary association of their Governments, and is primarily focused on the issues of government relations, economic relations, and security and defense relations.[14] Palau' has no independent military, and relies on the United States for its defense. Under the Compact, the American military has been granted access to the islands for 50 years. The role of the US Navy is quite minimal, limited to a handful of Navy Seabees (construction engineers) but the United States Coast Guard does have a stronger presence in patrolling the waters.

Foreign relations

As a sovereign nation, Palau conducts its own foreign relations.[12] Since independence, Palau has established diplomatic relations with a number of nations, including many of its Pacific neighbors. Palau was admitted to the United Nations on December 15, 1994, and has since joined several other international organizations. In September 2006, Palau hosted the first Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit, and its President has gone on several official visits to other Pacific countries, including the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The United States maintains the usual diplomatic delegation and an embassy in Palau, but most aspects of the two countries' relationship have to do with Compact-funded projects, which are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs.[15] This has led to some ambiguity in the official status of Palau,[citation needed] though regarded as de jure independent.

Since 2004, Palau has joined the United States and Israel as the only nations voting consistently against an annual U.N. resolution condemning the United States embargo against Cuba which has been in place since 1962.

On October 5, 2009 Palau formalized Diplomatic and Trade Ties with Malaysia and Lord Morris Davidson was appointed as Palau's first Honorary Consul to Malaysia.

Nuclear-free constitution

In 1981, Palau voted for the world's first nuclear-free constitution. This constitution banned the use, storage, and disposal of nuclear, toxic chemical, gas, and biological weapons without first being approved by a 3/4 majority in a referendum.[16] This ban held up Palau's transition to independence because while negotiating a Compact of Free Association with the United States the U.S. insisted on the option to operate nuclear propelled vessels and store nuclear weapons within the territory.[17] After several referendums that failed to achieve a 3/4 majority, the people of Palau finally approved the compact with the U.S. in 1994.[18][19]

Asylum for former Guantanamo prisoners

On June 10, 2009, Palau announced that it would accept up to all 17 of the remaining Uyghurs held in extrajudicial detention in Guantanamo "as a humanitarian gesture".[20][21][22][23][24][25] Five Uyghur captives were cleared of all suspicion in 2004, and transferred to Albania in 2006. The remaining seventeen were cleared of all suspicion in 2008.

Stuart Beck, Palau's representative to the United Nations, published an op-ed in the New York Times disputing the widely distributed report that Palau's agreement to accept the Uyghurs was tied to Palau's receipt of US$200 million in foreign aid.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26] Beck asserted that Palau was receiving funds from the USA connected with accepting the Uyghurs, but it was $90,000 per Uyghur, not "$12 million". Beck asserted that the $90,000 was to compensate Palau for its "relocation costs" and was "to cover transportation, food, housing and medical help until the men can get oriented and get jobs". ABC News confirmed that the United States would be paying Palau for each captive who was resettled and quoted a senior official who described the amount as "not very substantial".[27]

William Cleary, writing in the Pacific Daily News, reported that Palau was in a poor bargaining position to decline the American request.[28] He wrote:

"The detainee transfer deal comes at a time when generous U.S. financial aid and economic development grants to Palau under a 15 year old treaty of free association between the two nations have expired. Palauan leaders apparently wanted to demonstrate their commitment to sharing mutual interests and burdens with the USA, as they make the case for renewal of U.S. grant assistance."

However, Cleary also described the assertions that the captive resettlement was a straight quid pro quo as "misleading".[28]

He listed the USA's desire to continue to be able to base DoD personnel on Palau, to balance the growing military force of the People's Republic of China as one complicating factor. He also listed Palau's desire to have exemption from growing pressure within the USA to restrict immigration from former protectorates like Palau as another complicating factor.

An official "technical working group" from Palau traveled to Guantanamo to meet with the Uyghurs in mid-June 2009.[29][30] On June 23, the Palau government published a press release which said only eight of the thirteen Uyghurs agreed to meet with the delegation. Their report stated: "The team advised President Toribiong that in their opinion only a few of the detainees that were interviewed had any real interest in being relocated to Palau." On June 30, Radio New Zealand International reported only one Uyghur agreed to be temporarily resettled in Palau.[31] On September 10, The Times reported that three of the Uyghurs, have accepted the invitation to be transferred to asylum in Palau.[32] On September 19, Fox News reported that in the week since the first announcement three further Uyghurs agreed to be transferred to Palau.[33] Fox reported that five of the other Uyghurs had refused to speak with Palau officials. On October 31, six Uyghurs were reported to have been transferred to Palau.[34][35][36][37][38] Twelve of the thirteen remaining Uyghurs were offered asylum. The thirteenth man was not offered asylum because his mental health had deteriorated too severely for the mental health resources available in Palau.

The USA agreed to give Palau additional aid in January 2010.[39] Palau had rejected an earlier aid package of $156 million. The new aid package was for $250 million. President Toribiong asserted that the increase in aid was unrelated to Palau agreement to host the Uyghurs.


The sixteen states of Palau.

Palau is divided into sixteen states (until 1984 called municipalities). These are listed below with their areas (in square kilometres) and 2005 Census populations:

State Area (km2) Census 2005
Aimeliik 52 270
Airai 44 2,723
Angaur 8 320
Hatohobei 3 44
Kayangel 3 188
Koror 18 12,676
Melekeok 28 391
Ngaraard 36 581
Ngarchelong 10 488
Ngardmau 47 166
Ngaremlengui 65 317
Ngatpang 47 464
Ngchesar 41 254
Ngiwal 26 223
Peleliu 13 702
Sonsorol 4 100

Historically, Palau's uninhabited Rock Islands have been part of the State of Koror.

Republic of Palau.


Palau's most populous islands are Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu. The latter three lie together within the same barrier reef, while Angaur is an oceanic island several miles to the south. About two-thirds of the population live on Koror. The coral atoll of Kayangel is situated north of these islands, while the uninhabited Rock Islands (about 200) are situated to the west of the main island group. A remote group of six islands, known as the Southwest Islands, some 375 miles (600 km) from the main islands, are also part of the country and make up the states of Hatohobei and Sonsorol.


Palau enjoys a tropical climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 82 °F (28 °C). Rainfall can occur throughout the year, averaging a total of 150 inches (3,800 mm). The average humidity over the course of the year is 82%, and although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine. Typhoons are rare, as Palau is outside the main typhoon zone.


Rock Islands in Palau.

While much of Palau's natural environment remains free of environmental degradation, there are several areas of concern, including illegal fishing with the use of dynamite, inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste in Koror, and extensive sand and coral dredging in the Palau lagoon. Like the other Pacific island nations, a potential major environmental threat is rising sea levels. Water coverage of low-lying areas is a threat to coastal vegetation, agriculture, and the purity of the nation's water supply. Palau also has a problem with inadequate water supply and limited agricultural areas to support the size of the population. The nation is also vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tropical storms. Sewage treatment is a problem, along with the handling of toxic waste from fertilizers and biocides.

On November 5, 2005, President of Palau, Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. took the lead on a regional environmental initiative called the Micronesia challenge, which would conserve 30% of near shore coastal waters and 20% of forest land by 2020. In addition to Palau, the initiative was joined by the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. Together, this combined region represents nearly 5% of the marine area of the Pacific Ocean and 7% of its coastlines.

On September 25, 2009, Palau announced that it would create the world's first "shark sanctuary".[40] Palau has banned all commercial shark fishing within its EEZ waters. The sanctuary protects about 600,000 square kilometres (230,000 sq mi) of ocean,[41] a similar size to the European country of France.[42][43][44] President Johnson Toribiong made the announcement at a meeting of the United Nations.[42][45][46] President Toribiong also requested a worldwide ban on fishing for sharks.[42]

Saltwater crocodiles are also residents of Palau and occur in varying numbers throughout the various mangroves and even in parts of the beautiful rock islands. Although this species is generally considered extremely dangerous, there has only been one fatal human attack in Palau within modern history, and that was in the 1960s. In Palau the largest crocodile measured in at 4.5 metres (15 ft), which is large but considered an average size throughout much of this reptile's range (i.e. in Australia 6 metres (20 ft) individuals are not uncommon.)


Koror-Babeldaob Bridge.

Consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. Tourist activity focuses on scuba diving and snorkeling in the islands' rich marine environment, including its barrier reefs walls and World War II wrecks. The government is the major employer of the work force, relying heavily on financial assistance from the US. Business and tourist arrivals numbered 50,000 in the financial year 2000/2001. The population enjoys a per capita income twice that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-term prospects for the key tourist sector have been greatly bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of leading East Asian countries, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development.

In July 2004, Palau Micronesia Air was launched with service from Palau to Yap, Guam, Micronesia, Saipan, Australia, and the Philippines. By offering low fares it was planned to be a competitor of Continental Micronesia, however it ceased operations in December of the same year, mainly because of rising fuel prices. Palau Micronesia Air has not restarted operations since but has made a codeshare alliance with Asian Spirit, a carrier that operates flights between Palau and the Philippines (Davao, Cebu, and Manila). There are two flights weekly from Manila via Cebu to Palau and one flight weekly from Davao. Just after few months of service, Asian Spirit ceased its Philippines to Palau route.

Taxes are moderate, the income tax has 3 brackets with medium rates (9.3%, 15% and 19.6%), corporate tax is 4% and general sales tax is 7.5%. There are no property taxes.


A deserted island in Palau.
Historical populations
Year Pop.
1970 11,210
1980 12,116
1990 15,122
2000 independent

The population of Palau is approximately 21,000, of whom 70% are native Palauans, who are of mixed Melanesian, Micronesian, and Malayan descent. Many Palauans also have some Asian ancestry, which is the result of intermarriage between settlers and Palauans between the 19th and 20th centuries. Palauans with mixed Japanese ancestry accounted for the largest group, and some also had some Chinese or Korean ancestry. Filipinos form the second largest ethnic group.

The official languages of Palau are Palauan and English, except for two states (Sonsorol and Hatohobei) where the local language, along with Palauan, is official. Japanese is also spoken widely amongst older Palauans, and is an official language in the State of Angaur.[47][48] Tagalog is not official in Palau, but it is the fourth largest spoken language.


Three quarters of the population are Christians (mainly Roman Catholics and Protestants), while Modekngei (a combination of Christianity, traditional Palauan religion and fortune telling) and the ancient Palauan religion are commonly observed. According to the 2005 census[49] 49.4% of the population are Roman Catholics, 21.3% Protestants, 8.7% Modekngei and 5.3% Seventh-day Adventists. There is a small Jewish community in Palau. In 2009 it sent 3 members to the 18th Maccabiah Games. There are also approximately 400 Bengali Muslims in Palau,[50] and recently 6 Uyghurs detained in Guantanamo Bay were allowed to settle in the island nation.[51]


Libraries and museums

There are several libraries in Koror, including a public library with a collection comprising about 17,000 books. The Belau National Museum, established in 1956, is also located in Koror and has an affiliated Research Library. Palau Community College also houses a library. In addition to the National Museum, the Etpison family has also opened the Etpison Museum in Koror, which contains many culturally important artifacts.


Palau International Airport provides scheduled direct flights to Guam and Manila. In addition, the states of Angaur and Peleliu have regularly served international airports. Freight, military and holiday cruise ships often call at Malakal Harbor, on Malakal Island outside Koror. The country has no railways, and almost half of the roads are unpaved (of the 61 km/38 mi of highways, only 36 km/22 mi are paved). Driving is on the right and the speed limit is 40 km/h (25 mph). Taxis are available in Koror. They are not metered and fares are negotiable. Only Koror maintains a bus service. Transportation between islands mostly relies on private boats and domestic air services.

In the media

Logo for the tenth season of "Survivor." The U.S. media exposure helped to boost tourism in Palau.
  • The 1968 World War II movie Hell in the Pacific starring Lee Marvin and Toshirō Mifune was filmed on Palau's Rock Islands.
  • Palau was the site for the reality television program Survivor. Japanese Survivor used the islands for its first season in 2002. It was also the location of Survivor: Palau, the tenth edition of the American Survivor, which aired from February 17 to May 15, 2005 in United States, and Survivor: Micronesia, the sixteenth edition, which aired from February 7 to May 11, 2008. In August 2009, Survivor Philippines also used the islands for its second season.
  • The islands are also mentioned in the song "Orinoco Flow" performed by the Irish singer Enya.
  • Palau was featured in an episode of the children's TV show Toot and Puddle, which was based on the book series by American children's author Holly Hobbie.

See also


  1. ^ Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2009) (.PDF). World Population Prospects, Table A.1. 2008 revision. United Nations. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b "Palau". CIA World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  3. ^ Nelson's World Gazetteer and Geographical Dictionary, ed. J. Gunn, Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd, London, 1935
  4. ^ Lee R. Berger, Steven E. Churchill, Bonita De Klerk1, Rhonda L. Quinn (March 2008). "Small-Bodied Humans from Palau, Micronesia". PLoS ONE 3 (3): e1780. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001780. 
  5. ^ Palau National Communications Corporation
  6. ^ SG Travel at Yahoo on Palauan matriarchal social systems
  7. ^ SG Travel at Yahoo on Henry Wilson
  8. ^ on Palauan history
  9. ^ United States Department of State article on Palau
  10. ^ Peatty, Nan'Yo: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese in Micronesia
  11. ^ Beasley, Japanese Imperialism
  12. ^ a b c Compact of Free Association: Palau's Use of and Accountability for U.S. Assistance and Prospects for Economic Self-Sufficiency, United States Government Accountability Office, June 10, 2008, p. 7, 
  13. ^ Compact of Free Association Between the Government of the United States of America and the government of Palau, Preamble
  14. ^ Compact of Free Association Between the Government of the United States of America and the government of Palau, Table of Contents
  15. ^ USDOI Office of Insular Affairs
  16. ^ "The Constitution of the Republic of Palau". The Government of Palau. 2 Apr 1979. Retrieved 1 Nov 2009. 
  17. ^ "Issues Associated. With Palau's Transition to Self-Government". Government Accountability Office. Jul 1989. Retrieved 1 Nov 2009. 
  18. ^ "Work Ended, Trusteeship Council Resists U.N. Ax for Now". New York Times. 6 Nov 1994. Retrieved 1 Nov 2009. 
  19. ^ Trusteeship Mission reports on Palau voting. (plebiscite on the Compact of Free Association with the United States).. UN Chronicle. Jun 1990. 
  20. ^ a b Matthew Lee, Devlin Barrett (2009-06-09). "US eyes Pacific to resettle Uighur detainees". WTOP. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  21. ^ a b Ray Lilley (2009-06-10). "Island nation of Palau to take Gitmo's Uighurs". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  22. ^ a b "Pacific state Palau to take Uighur detainees". CTV News. 2009-06-10. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  23. ^ a b "Palau to take 17 Uygur Guantanamo inmates". China Daily. 2009-06-11. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  24. ^ a b Mike Levine (2009-06-09). "Palau Agrees to Take Uighur Gitmo Detainees". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  25. ^ a b "Palau to take Uighur detainees from Guantanamo Bay". Yahoo News. 2009-06-10. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  26. ^ Stuart Beck (2009-06-19). "The Myth of the $12 Million Uighur". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. 
  27. ^ Kirit Radia (2009-06-10). "US and Palau wrangling over Gitmo transfer details, including $$$". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. 
  28. ^ a b William Cleary (2009-06-24). "Will taking detainees pay off for Palau?". Pacific Daily News. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  29. ^ Kevin Kerrigan (2009-06-23). "Uyghures Don't Show Much Interest In Palau". Pacific News Center. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  30. ^ "Ministry of State: Press Release". Government of Palau. 2009-06-23. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. 
  31. ^ "Palau Government still not sure if Uighurs are coming". Radio New Zealand International. 2009-06-30. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. 
  32. ^ Anne Barrowclough (2009-09-10). "Palau move imminent for Guantanamo Uighurs". The Times. Archived from the original on 2009-09-19. 
  33. ^ "2 More Uighur Detainees at Gitmo Heading to Palau". Fox News. 2009-09-19. Archived from the original on 2009-09-19. 
  34. ^ "Six Guantanamo Uighurs arrive in Palau: US". Agence France Presse. 2009-10-31. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
  35. ^ "6 Muslim Uighur Detainees From Guantanamo Arrive In Palau". Pacific News Center. 2009-11-01. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  36. ^ "United States Transfers Six Uighur Detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Palau". United States Department of Justice. 2009-10-31. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
  37. ^ David Johnston (2009-10-31). "Uighurs Leave Guantánamo for Palau". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
  38. ^ "Guantanamo Uighurs sent to Palau". BBC News. 2009-10-31. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
  39. ^ "Palau receives aid boost from US". Australia Network News. 2010-01-30. Archived from the original on 2010-02-04. "The president insisted there was no link to the island's hosting of six inmates from Guantanamo Bay. Palau had earlier rejected a 156 million dollar offer and the settlement came after the island nation agreed to resettle six Muslim Uighurs who had been held for more than seven years at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay. The six arrived in Palau in November. But Johnson said the two issues were not related." 
  40. ^ "Palau creates world's first shark haven". The Philippine Star. 2009-09-26. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  41. ^ Black, Richard. "Palau pioneers 'shark sanctuary'. BBC News website. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  42. ^ a b c "Palau's EEZ becomes shark sanctuary". Xinhua News Agency. 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  43. ^ Sophie Tedmanson (2009-09-26). "World's first shark sanctuary created by Pacific island of Palau". The Times. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  44. ^ Ker Than (2009-09-25). "France-Size Shark Sanctuary Created -- A First". National Geographic. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  45. ^ "Palau creates shark sanctuary to protect tourism and prevent overfishing". Radio New Zealand. 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  46. ^ Cornelia Dean (2009-09-24). "Palau to Ban Shark Fishing". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  47. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook -- Field Listing :: Languages". Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2010. 
  48. ^ Lewis, Paul M. (ed) (2009). "Languages of Palau". SIL International. Archived from the original on February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2010. 
  49. ^ Office of Planning and Statistics, Republic of Palau: 2005 Census of Population and Housing, Table 59, retrieved on March 1, 2007
  50. ^ Lawyers: Uighurs agree to go to Palau
  51. ^ Lawyers: 3 Uighurs agree to go to Palau

External links

General information

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Oceania : Palau
Quick Facts
Capital Melekeok
Government constitutional government in free association with the United States
Currency US dollar (USD)
Area 458 sq km
Population 20,579 (July 2006 est.)
Language English and Palauan; also Sonsorolese, Tobi, Angaur, Japanese
Religion Roman Catholic 42%, Protestant 23%, Modekngei 9% (indigenous to Palau), Seventh-Day Adventist 5%, Jehovah's Witness 1%, Latter-Day Saints 0.6%, other religion 3%, unspecified or none 16%
Electricity 120V/60Hz (North American plug)
Calling Code +680
Internet TLD .pw
Time Zone UTC +9

Palau (Belau) [1] is a group of islands in the Micronesia area of Oceania, to the southeast of the Philippines.


Babeldaob Island- Largest Island, with a population of roughly 6,000 people. (Also spelled Babelthwap, Babeldoub, Babeldaub, etc.)

Koror- Palau's former capital and its largest city (with almost half of the population). Koror is on Oreor island, and is Palau's commercial hub.

Southwest Islands- Including the states of Sonsorol and Hatohobei, these islands have only about 100 people. Hatohobei State has only 30 people living there currently.

Rock Islands- Made up of almost 300 (mostly uninhabited) islands, the rock islands are home to Jellyfish Lake, a lake with millions of jellyfish with very weak stingers. Snorkelers can safely snorkel in this lake (SCUBA diving is not allowed in these lakes).

  • Melekeok - new capital (pop. 381) This is on the island of Babeldaob and is a pleasant drive from Koror along the new road constructed by Daewoo. Head out over the bridge and the road to Melekeok is clearly signposted.
  • Koror - the largest city and former capital. Koror is the place to go if you want souvenirs and some of the most economically priced Palauan story boards can be purchased at the prison behind the police station in the center of Koror. Try also Ben Franklin's shop located at the West Caroline Trading Company building opposite the Arirang Korean Restaurant

Other destinations

The South West islands of Palau are worth a visit if you have your own marine transport such as an ocean-going yacht. There are Sonsorol, Fana, Meriil, Hatohobei and Helen Reef, a conservation area. However be sure to take mosquito repellent if visiting Meriil as its local name is dancing island. Go there and you will find out why! If intending to visit any of these islands it is a wise idea to make the acquaintance of the governors at their offices in Koror itself. If you are lucky you just might be able to take a trip on the island supply vessel the Atoll Way. Sleeping is on a hard wooden platform along with the other souls who are either returning to their home islands or maybe the doctor from Peleliu island hospital who is making a routine visit to check up on the health of the islanders


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. Palau officially became independent on October 1, 1994.

Get in

US citizens do not require a visa, and nearly all other visitors can receive a free 30-day tourism visa on arrival. For the latest information, contact the Palau Embassy in Washington DC [2].

By plane

Plane is the only realistic choice. There is only one airport, Airai (ROR), in Koror. Most visitors arrive on Continental Micronesia's daily flights from Guam (~$600), which has good connections to Japan and the United States, as well as from Manila, Philippines.

There are also chartered flights direct from Taipei, South Korea, and Japan on a variety of operators.

By boat

Possible but not very easy.

Get around

Taxi and rented car. Lots of local taxis. If you rent a car, be prepared to drive slowly on some bumpy roads. Both left and right hand drive cars are present in Palau, which can cause some confusion. If you drive south, to Ice Box Park, please note that the facility behind it is a sewage treatment plant. Any other diving will be from a boat, after an hour or more ride and cost around US$150 for a two tank dive. There are no dive spots or beaches on the main island - Koror. The road north was recently paved and is very nice... once you get past the airport.

Bull Shark
Bull Shark

Palau is most famous for scuba diving. One of the most famous dive sites - Blue Corner, with constant sharks and a high current - is located less than 1 hour's boat ride from most resorts. Many live aboards like Ocean Hunter operate out of Palau. There are also tours to WWII battle fields on Palau.

The Blue Corner, German Channel, Ulong Channel and Blue Holes are all amazing dive sites. You can dive the same site again and again and have completely different experiences each time.

Palau is also famous for its jellyfish lakes. These lakes contain jellyfish which have evolved away their stingers in the absence of predators. There are many tours which will go to the jellyfish lake to snorkel. SCUBA diving is not permitted, nor is necessary, in the jellyfish lake. Palau Jellyfish Lake [3] is included in the category of natural phenomena and scientific mysteries.

Splash[4], the dive shop attached to the Palau Pacific Resort is recommended. The equipment available for rental is of high quality, and either new or well maintained. The dive masters are also very experienced, responsible and know the dive sites very well. Angelo at Splash is highly recommended as a dive master especially if you have not dived in stronger currents. It should be noted that Splash runs a rather large, wide diveboat, containing 20+ divers.

Fish 'n Fins [5] is the oldest dive center in Palau. They currently have two live-aboard vessels, as well as seven smaller (and faster!) dive boats, operating from the base in Koror. The guides are very professional and are more than willing to share their extensive knowledge of the ocean and the life in it. Divers can use Nitrox EAN 32 for the same price as air. Gas mixtures for technical divers are also available.

Sam's Tours[6] is another dive shop in Palau that offers diving, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and land tours. They have some great guides that provide educational and environmental information about the locales. Sam's Tours uses small, fast narrow boats which carry 4~8 divers.


English and Palauan are the official languages, although some islands also give official status to their own languages.

  • Palau International Coral Reef Center, 680.488.6950 (), [7]. Very educational aquarium with a good souvenir shop. Emphasis of displays is on education. They include a topographical map of Palau; a recreation of a mangrove swamp, a seagrass aquarium; an inner reef aquarium; an exhibition of coral and another of the country's famed jellyfish; deep-water aquariums and a couple of salt-water crocodiles to end the tour. Easy walk from downtown Koror in the direction of Malakal  edit
Map of Palau
Map of Palau

Palau uses the US dollar as its currency.


As you might expect from a remote island where tourism is the main industry, prices are comparatively high, and even a low-end daily budget would be around US$100/day.


Palauan storyboards are traditional wood carvings depicting Palauan myths and legends.

  • Almost everything. Palau has large communities from Taiwan, the Philippines, Korea, Japan and the USA and the local stores have evolved to supply their needs. So Koror offers an amazing range of foodstuffs in its stores, at a price of course. Japanese-inspired Bento lunch boxes are very popular.
  • The Rock Island Cafe in Koror is a great place for a quick bit of American-style food. It is located a little west of the Court House on Koror Island.
  • Kramer's - on the wharf at Malakal. A bit hard to find for the first time but food is good and the nightlife always interesting.
  • Bem Ermii is in a small trailer near the courthouse in downtown Koror, and makes great burgers and milkshakes.

Several other places of note in Koror are the Taj, an excellent Indian restaurant, Fuji, a reasonably-priced pseudo-Japanese restaurant or Dragon Tai on the way into Koror.


Red Rooster Beer.Despite its size Palau has a small brewery, to be found next to the West Plaza by the Sea hotel (see below). It offers Amber and Stout and three other beers. Abai Ice in Koror is a small hut that offers fresh fruit smoothies -- highly recommended.

Many licensed establishments in Palau -- from quiet little bars to "Japanese"-style karaoke bars complete with bar girls. For a decent affordable drink, try Sam's Dive Shop or High Tide behind Neco dive shop. Alcohol is readily available at most stores. Public drinking is not allowed, and the local police are more than happy to inconvenience you if you are caught.

  • Q-ball club, (koror), 4881832. you can play pool and chill out  edit



Palau offers a number of guest house style boutique accommodations. Some are close to or within Koror, some are not. These are available for international bookings via dive shops that offer holiday packages (such as Sam's Tours[8]). Prices range from US$50 a night upward.

  • Guest Lodge Motel, (680) 488-6320/21/22 (, fax: (680) 488-5616). The Guest Lodge Motel offers a nice and clean place to stay if you just need a place to sleep and relax between days of outdoor activities. Note that the building looks a bit shoddy from the outside, because the top floor is not finished. Rooms have AC, refridgerator, Cable TV, 130 V as well as 230 V power outlets, shower/bath, towels etc.  edit


There are also a number of nice basic hotels available in Palau.

  • West Plaza by the Sea, +680.488.2133, [9]. Features 36 rooms overlooking the ocean lagoon and nearby islands. Rooms range from standard class to deluxe rooms with kitchenettes, and a penthouse suite on the roof deck with a large private veranda, whirpool bath, kitchenette, and plenty of spacious living area. West Plaza By the Sea also features the Red Rooster Cafe. The cafe offers a wide selection of Japanese Cruisine, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The nightly happy hour features Palau's only locally brewed beer on tap, Red Rooster Draft.  edit
  • West Plaza Desekel, +680.488.2133, [10]. Conveniently located near museums, restaurants and banks. West Plaza Desekel offers 30 rooms ranging from deluxe to standard accommodations. Located on the Hotel's ground floor is the Deskel Market, a full service grocery store complete with ice cold beverages, fresh local and imported produce and a large assortment of Western and Asian foods.  edit


There are lots of reasonably high end resorts on Palau, most catering for scuba divers.

  • Palau Pacific Resort [11] is a world class resort on the outskirts of Koror. Known locally as PPR, it is very nice (beautiful beach, excellent restaurant, vaulted ceilings) but it is also quite a ways out of Koror (10-15 minute drive). They do run an hourly shuttle into Koror most evenings, or it will set you back about $5 each way for a cab.


Palau Community College ([12]) offers both AS/AA degrees and occupational certificates. The campus library is open to the public, and offers computer terminals for community members and visitors to check email. The school is accredited through the Western Association of Colleges.

Stay safe

Palau is quite a safe country to visit. Walking in downtown Koror at night, even past midnight is quite safe. But as with any place in the world today, common sense prevails. Pedestrians should be careful, as sidewalks are limited even in downtown Koror.

The remote atoll of Helen Reef
The remote atoll of Helen Reef

Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) still exist in Palau's mangroves and in the beautiful Rock Islands and can potentially be found anywhere on the island. Despite their fearsome and, in some areas, very justified reputation, here they rarely grow to the immense size that they do in Australia and New Guinea. There was only one fatal attack by a crocodile in Palau within recorded history and that occurred in 1965. The biggest crocodile in Palau's history was 15 feet in length- large, but this is an average size for saltwater crocodiles in most other countries. The rarity of attacks probably stems from the fact that there are no more than 150 adult individuals currently on the island. Snorkeling and scuba diving are very popular in Palau and there has never in recent history been a report of an attack on a tourist. Judging from a recent survey, it appears crocodiles are quite unjustly hated by the locals, in harsh contrast to the worship they are given by the indigenous peoples of Australia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The reasons for this are unclear.

Bull Sharks are common in the coastal waters and estuaries, so caution must always be taken while scuba diving or snorkeling

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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  1. A country in Oceania. Official name: Republic of Palau.


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  • Paula


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Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Pedro Palau article)

From Wikispecies

(1881-1956) (P.Palau)

Simple English

File:Palau-CIA WFB
Map of Palau

Palau, officially the Republic of Palau, is an island nation. It is the Pacific Ocean. Palau is 300 miles (500 km) east of the Philippines. It got independence from United Nations trusteeship administration (administered by the United States of America) in 1994. It is one of the world's youngest and smallest nations. It is sometimes referred to in English under its native name Belau. The capital city of Palau is Melekeok. This has been true since October 1, 2006.


File:States of
The sixteen states of Palau

Palau is divided into sixteen administrative states:

  • Aimeliik
  • Airai
  • Angaur
  • Hatohobei
  • Kayangel
  • Koror
  • Melekeok
  • Ngaraard
  • Ngarchelong
  • Ngardmau
  • Ngatpang
  • Ngchesar
  • Ngeremlengui
  • Ngiwal
  • Peleliu
  • Sonsorol


Palau has a tropical climate all year round. Average yearly temperature is around 82 °F (27 °C).

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