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sunnuntai 2. lokakuuta 2016

Palau, Cool Facts #150

<= 149. Nauru                                                                                           151. Papua New-Guinea => 



1. Discovery of Palau 

Spanish East Indies 
Palau had been part of the Spanish East Indies, administered by the Captaincy General of Philippines, for almost a century before the islands were consciously discovered. The Czech missionary Paul Klein draw the first map of Palau in 1697, after a group of Palauans were shipwrecked on the Philippines and managed to show their home island by an arrangement of pebbles on the beach.

Three Jesuit expeditions to Palau
Klein reported about his findings to the Jesuit Superior General in a letter sent in the same year. The letters caused a vast interest in the newly discovered islands and that led to three unsuccessful Jesuit attempts to travel to Palau from Spanish Philippines. The expeditions were made in 1700, 1708 and 1709. Failure in all of the expeditions gave Palau its original Spanish name Islas Encantadas meaning Enchanted Islands. Despite these early failures, the Spanish Empire came to dominate the islands later.


Aerial view of Palauan islands


2. Spanish East Indies 

In 1522 Spanish sighted the islands of Palau as first Europeans, although the conscious discovery of Palau was made over a century later. In 1565 Palau became part of the territory of the Captaincy General of Philippines in the Spanish East Indies. This happened after the Spanish conquest of the Philippines.

British traders started visiting Palau in the 1700s. Spain lost the Spanish-American War in 1898 against USA meaning the decline of Spanish influence around the world. Spain sold Palau and other Caroline Islands to Germany in 1899.


Spanish East Indies


3. Palau's Relationship With USA 

Palau like other territories and states in the Pacific Ocean has a long history with USA and is highly dependant on American financial and defense aid.

Imperial Japan
Between the two World Wars, Palau like many other islands in the Pacific were administered by the Japanese Empire. USA captured Palau from Japan after the Battle of Peleliu in 1944.

Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
After the World War II, Palau was formally passed under US control as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which included also Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. In 1979 Four of the Trust Territory districts united and became the Federated States of Micronesia, which became formally independent in 1986. Palau and Marshall Islands declined to participate.

Free Association 
In 1981 Palau became an autonomic republic, and in 1994 it became independent. Palau is in free association with USA, meaning that Palau relies heavily on the United States for its defense and economy. In return USA gets access to some military bases on Palau and Palau also usually votes with the USA in the UN General Assembly.


Battle of Peleliu between Japan and USA

Battle of Peleliu


4. World's Largest Concrete Arch Bridge 

The Koror-Babeldaob Bridge, built in 1977 was the largest concrete arch bridge at the time in the world. The total lengths of the bridge was 385,6 meters and it united the islands of Koror and Babeldaob. The bridge built by a Korean company collapsed in 1996. The failure happened in good weather and loading conditions. Six years before the collapse, two independent teams of bridge engineers had declared the bridge safe and it was even strengthened three months before. 

The Japanese Kajima Corporation started the constructions of the new bridge in 1997 and completed it in December, 2001. The new bridge was named "Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge" on its opening ceremony in January, 2002. 

Read more about the reasons of the collapse HERE

Koror-Babeldaob Bridge
Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge


5. Population of Palau 

Population: 21,000

- Native Palauans are of mixed Melanesian, Micronesian and Austronesian descent
- Many Palauans have also some Asian ancestry with Japanese, Korean or Chinese genes
- Filipinos are the second largest ethnic group in Palau

Official languages: Palauan, English

- More people speak English than Palauan 
- Sonsorolese and Tobian are local languages 
- Japanese is widely spoken amongst older people 

Religion
- Christianism, which was brought by the Spanish to Palau, accounts for 3/4 of the population 

- Japanese rule brought Buddhism and Shintoism, but there are only 1% Buddhists in the population
- Modekngei is a combination of Christianity, fortune telling and traditional Palauan religion


President Tommy Remengasau


Timeline

3000-2000s BC Palau was settled most likely by people from the Philippines or Indonesia
1100s Short-statured Negrito or Pygmy people were replaced by people who may have come from Sunda islands
1522 Spanish sighted the islands of Palau as first Europeans
1565 The archipelago of Palau became part of the territory of the Captaincy General of Philippines after the Spanish conquest of the Philippines
1697 Czech missionary Paul Klein draw the first map of Palau after a group of Palauans were shipwrecked on the Philippines and managed to show their home island by an arrangedment of pebbles on the beach
1700, 1708 and 1709 Unsuccessful Jesuit attempts to travel to Palau from Spanish Philippines
1783 The British sailor Henry Wilson named the archipelago as Pelew Islands
1899 Spain sold Palau and many other islands in the Pacific to the German Empire
1914 Japan annexed the islands after seizing them from Germany
1919 After the World War I the League of Nations gave the control of the islands to Japan as part of the South Pacific Mandate
1944 USA captured Palau from Japan after the Battle of Peleliu
1947 Palau was formally passed to USA as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
1977 Capital city Koror was united to the neighbor island by the world's largest concrete arch bridge
1979 Four of the Trust Territory districts united and became the independent Federated States of Micronesia, but the districts of Palau and the Marshall Islands declined to participate
1981 Palau became an autonomic Republic
1982 Palau signed a Compact of Free Association with USA
1994 Palau became independent de jure after the trusteeship with USA ended
1996 The concrete arch bridge collapsed to the ocean
1998 The Senate passed the legislation, which made Palau an "offshore" financial center
2001 Palau's first bank regulation and anti-money laundering laws were passed 

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