This island nation is located in the western Pacific Ocean, east of The Philippines and north west of the island of New Guinea. Palau consists of some 340 islands spread out over three hundred miles of ocean.. The majority of these are unpopulated. Most Palauans live on the two main islands of Koror and Babeldaob. However, the population of Palau is under eighteen thousand.
The country has a human history that goes back to around 2500 BC and there is archaeology on the main islands that evidences ancient inhabitants. Europeans first spotted some of the islands in the early sixteenth century but it wasn't until the end of the seventeenth century that they fell loosely under the administration of Spain. Near the end of the nineteenth century they became a German possession and after World War I they were annexed by Japan but after World War II the USA gained administrative control of Palau. Finally, as recently as 1981, the country achieved its independence.
Some of Palau's islands are low-lying and therefore, because of rising sea levels, may soon disappear but the biggest island - Babeldaob has significant altitude. Economically, the little country relies on tourism, subsistence agriculture, fishing and the continuing financial support of the USA. Having such a small population, health care has its limitations. There is a hospital but some specialist conditions require flights to Taiwan, Hawaii or The Philippines.
And that's Palau for you in a nutshell. The tiny capital is Ngerulmud with an impressive but arguably unsuitable capitol building which would not look out of place in a small New England state.
I have heard the name but that's all. Now I know something about the country but my short term memory is not great anymore.ReplyDelete
Okay Red. I will have to re-publish this blogpost every few days - just for you!Delete
*Islands numbering 340, somewhere on the Pacific Ocean.ReplyDelete
Palau by name.
History goes back two and a half thousand years.
Some islands may disappear into the sea but not the largest, Babeldaob.
Its pre-European monoliths are of cultural interest.*
That's is the way Cissy Jupe would have described this dream-like place in Hard Times.
I don't think the inventive mind of Dickens could have conjured Palau out of that blue sky.
Samuel Butler fabulised Erewhon (Nowhere) in 1872 after returning from New Zealand.
John Updike fabricated the state of Kush with its blue nomads and armed militias. Updike never saw Africa outside the pages of National Geographic.
Delightful post. I would love to see Palau's seabirds & songbirds.
I am reading a sublime book by Tim Dee :
*Greenery - Journeying with the spring from Southern Africa to the Arctic* 2021.
One reviewer said that it changed the way he thinks about birds, humans, time and life.
Dee wandered from Scandinavia to Sicily, Hungary to Gibraltar, following bird migration and the men and women who fight to preserve eco-systems.
You could take Shirley to Palau and write a book about it.
Don't expect battered sausages and chips every night for dinner.
I would be happy to dance with islanders and eat taro and roasted pork from the oven made of hot stones down on the beach. Then I would play them "The Skye Boat Song", accompanying myself on a ukulele. The next day, if the ocean was calm, we would travel to a more remote island and go snorkelling at the edge of the reef.Delete
I had heard of Palau but only because many years ago I had a brief contact by radio waves with a ham radio operator there. Other than the name of the country I can't remember a thing about it.ReplyDelete
"Calling Bruce! Are you there? (crackle crackle) This is Palau calling! Please send Schlitz beer! This is an emergency!"Delete
With such a small population, I hope Palau manages to conserve its beauty better than other places have done, and is not overrun (and eventually ruined) by too many tourists. What is its official language?ReplyDelete
I knew the name and roughly could have placed it on a map, but I didn't know it once was briefly under German rule.
The main languages are Palauan and English.Delete
It is interesting how easy it is to gloss over colonisation, the phrase 'fell loosely under the administration of' covers a multitude of sins. While Palau's people and no doubt resources are few that does not mean it was a pleasant experience for the locals. How nice that they finally regained their independence after their entire lifestyle had been well and truly destroyed.ReplyDelete
But yes, interesting to learn a little something about far flung parts of the planet.
I think that Palau is only nominally independent Martine. It remains beholden to America.Delete
Not sure I've ever heard of Palau, but it certainly has an impressive capitol building. I hope that the islanders all live in substantial housing, rather than the mud huts or tin shacks that often go with such a grand place.ReplyDelete
The capitol building is fat too big and has suffered from mould issues. It was built by contractors from Hawaii.Delete
That impressive building is certainly a surprise. I've never heard of Palau until now.ReplyDelete
The capitol building is far too big for such a small country and its air conditioning system keeps breaking down.Delete
I is now a bit more geographically idjicated. It is interesting that it was an American possession, now independent but still propped up the US, as Australia props up PNG.ReplyDelete
Sadly you did not produce what I thought you would, a recipe for Rice Pilau. My fast headline reading at fault.
I have heard that Australia also props up Tasmania.Delete
I mostly know of Palau thanks to the American reality show Survivor which filmed there on one of the islands of Koror twice over the years.ReplyDelete
Like other Americans you are paying for Palau's continuation - albeit only fractionally.Delete
A bit like Filey or Morecambe on a nice day.ReplyDelete
Slightly warmer than the two resorts you mentioned Dave.Delete
An interesting geography lesson. It IS funny how the Greek and Roman revival architectural styles used by the builders of government buildings in the USA so heavily influenced the rest of the world.ReplyDelete
I just took a quiz on world capitals, and although I did pretty well, I did not get Ngerulmud! (Which I swear I've never heard of before.)
By population, Ngerulmud is the smallest capital city in the world.Delete
I wouldn't buy twitter, I would slowly cruise the world, visiting the amazing places and meeting the wonderful people.ReplyDelete
There are many more Pacific islands I would love to visit.Delete
Sure looks beautiful. I first heard of the place via the American TV show "Survivor" which was set there once. I don't watch the show but my husband does and as I wander in and out of the Glen Den, I sometimes watch a bit here and there.ReplyDelete
Does you house also have a Mary Dairy where you milk the cow?Delete
I don't think I have ever heard of it. Thanks for the geography lesson today, Neil!ReplyDelete
You may not have heard of it but you may be paying tiny amounts of money to pay for its progress.Delete
What a beautiful country and that you for the introduction.ReplyDelete
I would love to go there though I don't suppose I ever will.Delete
There are and have been so many ways of human life we will never know. Humans have been around 100,000 years. Mind boggling.ReplyDelete
The colonisation of the Pacific is especially interesting. So many islands. So many different stories.Delete