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Palau. Photo: Annette Bouvain / Creative Commons

Palau

4 months ago
Written by Ronald Toppe
Ports > Palau

Palau

4 months agoPorts
Written by Ronald Toppe
Palau. Photo: Annette Bouvain / Creative Commons

Statsraad Lehmkuhl visits Palau August 24-27 2022.

The Republic of Palau consists of 340 small islands in the western Pacific Ocean, a short distance east of the Philippines. Babeldaob in the northeast is the largest island, but smaller than the Norwegian city Oslo in terms of area.

Babeldaob is a 242 meter high mountain, where the interior is mostly forests and only sparsely populated. Most of the other islands are low coral islands located in a row further southwest.

The capital was moved to Melekeok in the north-east of the island in 2006. It was previously located on the island of Koror just south of Babeldaob, where most of the approximately 19,000 inhabitants still live.

The bridge connecting Koror and Babeldaob Islands. Photo: Luka Peternel / Creative Commons
The bridge connecting Koror and Babeldaob Islands. Photo: Luka Peternel / Creative Commons

Annexed

The first people came to the archipelago 3,000 years ago, from other islands in Southeast Asia. Palau appeared on European maps in the early 18th century, and in 1885 Spain annexed the archipelago. In 1898 Spain sold the islands to Germany.

After World War I, the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations, gave Japan control over Palau.

The battle of Anguar was fought in the autumn of 1944. The Japanese was mining phosphate on the island, and had 1400 troops stationed. The US took the island after 32 days of fighting, at the cost of 2560 soldiers killed or wounded. Photo: Creative Commons
The battle of Anguar was fought in the autumn of 1944. The Japanese was mining phosphate on the island, and had 1400 troops stationed. The US took the island after 32 days of fighting, at the cost of 2560 soldiers killed or wounded. Photo: Creative Commons

During the Second World War, there were several battles between the United States and Japan here, and after the war, Palau became part of the US-controlled US Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands together with several other of today's independent island states.

Independence

In 1994, Palau gained independence, but with an agreement, the Compact of Free Association, which means that the United States is responsible for the defense of the archipelago, and provides financial support and other benefits. The country uses the US dollar as its currency.

Palau is a popular diving destination. Photo: Jeff / Creative Commons
Palau is a popular diving destination. Photo: Jeff / Creative Commons

Agriculture is a way of living on several of the islands, but tourism is the most important source of income.

Nature reserve

The nature is fantastic, both above and below water. Large areas have been turned into nature reserves, one of which is on the UN World Heritage List. 30% percent of the coast and 20% of the land area are protected.

The Ngerukewid coral islands are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Photo: Luka Peternel / Creative Commons
The Ngerukewid coral islands are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Photo: Luka Peternel / Creative Commons

In an ocean area as large as France, sharks are protected, and the country has proposed a global ban on shark fishing.

Damp

Palau is located just north of the equator, and has a tropical climate. The temperature fluctuates between 24 and 31 degrees all year round, and it rains a lot, the annual rainfall is 3758 millimetres. June and July are the wettest, these two months the islands receive nearly as much rainfall as Seattle receives in a year.

Normal maximum temperature in August: 30.9℃
Normal rainfall in August: 378 mm

Next port: Yokohama, Japan
Previous port: Tonga

The Ngerukewid coral islands. Photo: Peter R. Binter / Creative Commons
The Ngerukewid coral islands. Photo: Peter R. Binter / Creative Commons

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The One Ocean Expedition is a circumnavigation by the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl. We aim to to share knowledge about the crucial role of the ocean for a sustainable development in a global perspective.

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