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Palau is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, about 500 miles east of the Philippines. It achieved independence from the United States in 1994, making it one of the world's youngest and smallest nations. Palau was first settled for around 4,000 years ago, probably by migrants from what today is Indonesia. British traders began to come to the island in the 1700s, followed by expanding Spanish influence in the 1800s. After being defeated in the Spanish-American War, Spain sold Palau and the Caroline Islands to Germany in 1899. The inspection went to Japan in 1914, and then to the United States under the auspices of the United Nations in 1947, as part of mandatoriet of the Pacific Islands.
Four of the mandate districts shaped the Micronesian state in 1979, but Palau and the Marshall Islands declined to participate. Palau, the westernmost of the Caroline Islands, went either to independence in 1978. In 1981 they had a constitution and became the Republic of Palau, and in 1982 they signed an agreement with the U.S., which meant that they were an independent nation from 1 October 1994.
Palau is a democratic republic with a directly elected executive and legislative branches. Presidential elections take place every four years, and the president and vice president are elected independently. Palau National Congress consists of two chambers - the Senate and House of Delegates. Senate has nine members, elected at the national level. House of Delegates has 16 members, one from each of Palau States. Each state also elects its own governor and legislature.
The judicial system consists of the Supreme Court, National Court, Court of Common Pleas and Land Court. Supreme Court litigation and appellative divisions and monitored by the Chief Justice.
It has been quiet for several years now, but in the 80's there was much political violence in Palau. Republic's first president, Haruo I. Remeliik, was assassinated in 1985, and the Prime Minister was found guilty of the murder. The nation's third president, Lazurus Salii, committed suicide in 1988 because of bribery allegations. Saliis personal assistant had then been imprisoned for several months already, having been convicted for firing shots in the House of Delegates' the chairman homes.
The President is in addition to being prime minister, also head of state. There are no political parties in Palau.
Palau's main islands are Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu, located close to each other on the same reef. Around two-thirds of the population live on Koror. North of these islands are coral atoll one Kayangel, while the uninhabited Rock Islands are located west of the main group of islands. A remote group of six islands, known as the Southwest Islands, some 600 miles from the main islands, are also part of the country.
Palau has a tropical climate, with a gjennomsnittstemparatur at 27 ° C. It can rain at any time of the year, the annual average rainfall is 3800 mm. There are on average 82% humidity, and even if it rains most between July and October, there is still much sunshine. Typhoons are rare, as Palau is outside the typhoon zone.
Palau's economy consists mainly of tourism, followed by agriculture and fishing. The government is the largest employer, but the country depends heavily on financial support from the United States. In the financial year 2000/2001 there were 50 000 tourists and business people to the country. Population has a net income that is twice as high as the Philippines and most of Micronesia. The long-term outlook for the tourism sector has been improved by increasing aviation in the Pacific, the increasing wealth of the East Asian countries, and foreigners willingness to finance infrastructure development.
In July 2004, Pulau DFS Air launched, with routes from Palau to Yap, Guam, Micronesia, Saipan, Australia and the Philippines.
Around 19 000 people live in Palau. The largest ethnic group is native palauanere (70%) of Melanesian ethnicity. mikronesere, Polynesian, Indo-Europeans, Asians (mostly from the Philippines) and Europeans represents minority groups. Two thirds of the population are Christians, but modekngei (a combination of Christianity, traditional Palauan religion and adventure) and Palauan urreligion is also very common.