|Official Country Name:||Republic of Palau|
|Region (Map name):||Oceania|
|Language(s):||English, Palauan,Sonsorolese, Tobi,Angaur, Japanese|
Palau, the westernmost archipelago of the Caroline islands chain in the North Pacific Ocean, consists of six island groups of more than 200 islands. Its first inhabitants may have been distant relatives of the Malays of Indonesia, Melanesians of New Guinea, and Polynesians. In 1885, Spain claimed the territory, but later sold it to Germany. When Germany lost World War I, Palau was transferred to Japan under the Treaty of Versailles. In 1922, it became the administrative center for all Japanese possessions in the South Pacific. When Japan lost World War II, the islands joined the United Nations Trust Territories under U.S. administration. Palau gained independence in 1994. English and Palauan are the official languages in all states but three, which recognize English along with their local dialect. The population is approximately 19,000, and the literacy rate is 92 percent. A President serves as chief of state and head of government. The economy is primarily driven by subsistence agriculture and fishing, but the government is making efforts to increase the tourism industry.
Palau media enjoys freedom of speech and press. The country's primary independent newspaper is The Palau Tribune, and it is printed in Guam. Its format borrows from Guam's Pacific Daily News, but features local news in a front section. It appears every Friday in English. The Palau Gazette is a monthly newspaper issued by the government. Tia Belau, another independent English-language publication, appears fortnightly on Friday.
There is one government-operated radio station (AM) serving 12,000 radios. One television station broadcasts to 11,000 televisions. There are no Internet service providers.
"Belau," Asia-Pacific Network (2002). Available from- http://www.asiapac.org .
"Palau," CIA World Fact Book (2001). Available from http://www.cia.gov .
"Palau Culture and History," Palau. (n.d.). Available from http://www.visit-palau.com .
"Republic of Palau: An Area Study, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region IX," Pacific Disaster Center (2001). Available from http://www.pdc.org .
Jenny B. Davis