Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations


Nauru was occupied by Germany in 1888. In the early 20th century, a German-British consortium mined its phosphate deposits, and the Europeans named it Pleasant Island. During World War I, Australia occupied the island. Later, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate. World War II led to a brutal Japanese occupation, followed by a joint Australian, New Zealand and British administration when Nauru became a UN trust territory. Nauru became independent in 1968. It joined the UN in 1999 as the world’s smallest independent republic.

Nauru’s main source of income, its phosphate deposits, are nearly exhausted, and according to some western sources, the island’s future is unclear, especially since Nauru imports everything, from food to water to fuel. Recent financial crises nearly bankrupted the country, when it had to sell its properties in Australia to raise money for the millions of dollars it owed to an American company. The government is making attempts to diversify, adding tourism and offshore banking as sources of income.

In 2001, Nauru agreed to shelter detained asylum seekers from Australia in exchange for millions of dollars in aid. Australia ended the “Pacific Solution” program in 2008 and is now providing financial expertise to Nauru to help sort out its problems

The current president of Nauru is Marcus Stephens, a former professional weightlifter and Commonwealth Games medalist. Stephens was sworn in as president in December 2007, after his predecessor, Ludwig Scotty, was defeated in a no-confidence motion in the 18-member parliament. To resolve a budget crisis in the parliament, Stephens imposed a state of emergency and dissolved parliament. His party has since won a majority in the April 2008 elections.

Sources: BBC, International Crisis Group, CIA World Factbook.

    Full Name:  Republic of Nauru
    Form of Government:  Republic
   Year of Independence:  1968 (from the Australia-, NZ-, and UK-administered UN trusteeship)
   Population:  14019
   Capital:  No official capital; government offices in Yaren District
   Largest City:  n/a
   Major Religion:  Nauru Congregational 35.4%, Roman Catholic 33.2%, Nauru Independent Church 10.4%, other 14.1%, none 4.5%, unspecified 2.4% (2002 census)
   Area:  21 sq km (8 sq miles)
   Major Languages:  Nauruan (official, a distinct Pacific Island language); English widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes
   Life Expectancy:  61 years (men), 68 years (women)
   Monetary Unit:  1 Australian dollar = 100 cents
   Main Exports:  Phosphates
   GDP - Per Capita (PPP):  $5,000 (2005 est.)
   Internet Domain:  .nr
   International Dialing Code:  +674