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Nauru is an island republic in the South Pacific Ocean, formerly known as Pleasant Island. It is the world's smallest independent republic both in terms of population and land area.

Much of its past prosperity derived from phosphate due to the large amount of phosphate deposits on the island, believed by one school of thought to be of guano origin but by another to be of marine origin. 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. Nauru currently houses a refugee detention center, under the control of Australia.

Republik Naoero
Republic of Nauru
(In Detail)
National motto: God's Will First
Official languagesEnglish, Nauruan
CapitalNo official capital¹
PresidentRené Harris
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 192nd
21 km²
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 191st
IndependenceJanuary 31, 1968
CurrencyAustralian dollar
Time zoneUTC +12
National anthemNauru Bwiema
Internet TLD.NR
Calling Code674
(1) Yaren is the largest settlement. Nauru is the only country in the world with no official capital

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Districts
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External links


Main article: History of Nauru

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, reigned by a king (the most known was King Auweyida), until it was annexed by Germany in 1888 to German New Guinea. 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. The founding president was Hammer DeRoburt. Nauru is a special member of the Commonwealth and joined the United Nations as a member state in 1999.


Main article: Politics of Nauru

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. Dowiyogo died in office on March 10, 2003 in Washington DC after heart surgery. Ludwig Scotty was elected President on May 29, 2003, and it was thought possible at the time that the years of political uncertainty might come to an end. But in August 2003 there was another no confidence vote. Harris regained support and was elected president again.


Main article: Districts of Nauru

Nauru has 14 districts: bold = more details


Main article:
Geography of Nauru

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.

Nauru's climate is extremely hot and muggy all year round because of its proximity to the Equator.


Main article: Economy of Nauru

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.

Another source of revenue was office rents from Nauru House, one of the tallest buildings in Melbourne, built on the profits from phosphates.


Main article: Demographics of Nauru

The official language is Nauruan. English is widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes.

The main religion is Christianity (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic).

See also: Special distinctions of Nauru


Main article: Culture of Nauru

The island's traditional culture is all but vanished: Nauru is considered to be one of the most Westernized of the Pacific islands.

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. He was elected to Parliament in 2003. There's a stadium under construction in the district Meneng.

DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
January 1 New Year's Day    
January 31 Independence Day   Anniversary of independence in 1968
March/April Easter    
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    

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Countries of the world  |  Oceania