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Tuesday 25th June
Nauru Facts
Nauru belongs to an area in the Pacific known as Micronesia. (The islands of the Pacific are usually divided into three areas: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia).

Micronesia includes Nauru, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Northern Mariana Islands and Palau.

Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island), Kiribati and Makatea, French Polynesia.

The island of Nauru had such huge reserves of phosphate, built up from thousands of years of sea bird droppings, that it became probably the richest republic, per person, in the world.

Nauru covers an area of 21 sq km and is numbered amongst the world's smallest independent republics.

The island of Nauru has been inhabited for over a thousand years.

Captain John Fearn, a British sea captain, named Nauru Pleasant Island (1798).

Towards the end of the 1880s Germany annexed Nauru to their Protectorate of the Marshall Islands.

Phosphate mining on Nauru, by a consortium of German and British companies, began in 1906.

During the First World War, Nauru was occupied by Australian troops.

After the War, Nauru was administered under a League of Nations Mandate given to Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

During the Second World War, Nauru was occupied by the Japanese (1942 and 1945).

The Japanese sent the Nauruans to Truk (Chuuk) Island now part of the Federated States of Micronesia.

In 1947 Nauru became a UN Trust Territory under Australian administration.

Nauru gained independence in 1968 and became a member of the [British] Commonwealth in 1969.

In 2001 a detention centre in Nauru held asylum seekers trying to enter Australia illegally; the centre closed in 2008 but a new detention centre opened in 2012.

Nauru hopes to repair some of the environmental damage caused to the island through phosphate mining.

As a small island Nauru is in the frontline of climate change. As sea levels rise there will be more danger from high tides and coastal erosion.

Members of the University of the South Pacific in Suva are the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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Read Nauru: Environmental Damage


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