Nauru is a tiny island republic in the South Pacific Ocean, formerly known as Pleasant Island. Much of its past prosperity derived from phosphate due to the large amount of guano deposits on the island. The phosphate is used as a fertilizer around the world and the majority of it has been exported to Australia. With the exhaustion of the phosphate supplies, Nauru faces an uncertain future.
|National motto: God's Will First|
|Official languages||English, Nauruan[?]|
|Capital||No official capital¹|
- % water
|Ranked 192nd |
- Total (2002)
|Independence||January 31, 1968|
|Time zone||UTC +12|
|National anthem||Nauru Bwiema|
|(1) Yaren, the largest settlement, is often given as the capital|
Nauru was first settled by Polynesian and Melanesian settlers. The first European to arrive was Captain John Fearn in 1798, but Nauru continued as an independent island society until it was annexed by Germany in 1888. Mining of its extensive phosphate reserves began early in the 20th century.
Following World War I it became a British territory in 1920, though administered by Australia. In 1947, a trusteeship was approved by the United Nations, which saw Nauru continue under administration by Australia until independence in 1968. Nauru is a special member of the Commonwealth and joined the United Nations as a member state in 1999.
The 18-member Parliament is elected every three years. The Parliament elects a president from amongst its members, who appoints a Cabinet of 5-6 people. The President is both the head of state and head of government. There is a loose multiparty system; the two main parties are the Democratic Party and Nauru Party (informal).
Between 1999 and 2003, a series of no-confidence votes and elections meant Rene Harris[?] and Bernard Dowiyogo led the country for alternating periods. Dowigoyo died in office on March 10, 2003 in Washington DC after heart surgery. Ludwig Scotty[?] was elected President on May 29, 2003, possibly bringing to an end the years of political uncertainty.
Nauru has 14 districts:
Nauru is a small phosphate rock island in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands. The island is a raised atoll, with a surrounding reef exposed at low tide. Most of the population live on the narrow coastal belt. A central plateau, covering approximately four fifths of the land area, rises 70 metres above sea level.
There are limited natural fresh water resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater, but islanders are mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant
Intensive phosphate mining during the past 90 years - mainly by a UK, Australia, and New Zealand consortium - has left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources.
Revenues of Nauru have come from exports of phosphates, but reserves are now almost exhausted. Phosphate production has declined since 1989, as demand has fallen in traditional markets and as the marginal cost of extracting the remaining phosphate increases, making it less internationally competitive. While phosphates have given Nauruans one of the highest per capita incomes in the Third World, few other resources exist with most necessities being imported, including fresh water from Australia. The rehabilitation of mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates are serious long-term problems. The government has been borrowing heavily to finance fiscal deficits.
The national sport is Australian Rules Football, but Nauru has had international success in weightlifting. Marcus Stephen has been the most successful lifter to date, winning several Commonwealth Games medals.
|Date||English Name||Local Name||Remarks|
|January 1||New Year's Day|
|January 31||Independence Day||Anniversary of independence in 1968|
|May 17||Constitution Day||Anniversary of constitution in 1968|
|October 26||Angam Day||Celebrates the several occasions when Nauru's population has reached 1500, the minimum supposed sustainable population size|
|December 25, December 26||Christmas|