Marshall Islands - Encyclopedia Information
Official name Republic of the Marshall Islands
Formation 1986 / 1986
Population 67,182 / 960 people per sq mile (371 people per sq km)
Total area 70 sq. miles (181 sq. km)
Languages Marshallese*, English*, Japanese, German
Religions Protestant 90%, Roman Catholic 8%, Other 2%
Ethnic mix Micronesian 90%, Other 10%
Government Presidential system
Currency US dollar = 100 cents
Literacy rate 91%
Calorie consumption Not available
The Marshall Islands are situated in the Pacific, a little north of the equator and a long way north of New Zealand.
A lot of nations have been involved with the Marshall Islands, although they are named after a Brit.
The Spanish were probably the first Europeans to reach the islands. Then Captain John Marshall turned up. In 1788 he was captain of the British Navy ship Scarborough, a ship of the First Fleet taking convicts to Botany Bay. On the return journey from Australia, he dropped in on the islands. He originally called them Lord Mulgrove’s Range. Fortunately, they eventually became known as the Marshall Islands. Otherwise the UN would now have a member country called Lord Mulgrove’s Range, which, since it sounds more like a kitchen feature in a large country house, would seem strange.
Eventually, the Spanish took control. In 1884, they sold the islands to the Germans, who lost them in the First World War to the Japanese who were then fighting on our side. And they, when not fighting on our side, lost them in the Second World War to the Americans. The Americans then used them for, among other things, nuclear tests. Bikini Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands, has given its name to the swimwear, but there were also some big, big explosions there in the post-war period.
Finally, the people of the Marshall Islands got to run their own country again.