Palau - Encyclopedia Information
Official name Republic of Palau
Formation 1994 / 1994
Population 20,956 / 107 people per sq mile (41 people per sq km)
Total area 177 sq. miles (458 sq. km)
Languages Palauan*, English, Japanese, Angaur, Tobi, Sonsorolese
Religions Christian 66%, Modekngei 34%
Ethnic mix Palauan 74%, Filipino 16%, Other 6%, Chinese and other Asian 4%
Government Nonparty system
Currency US dollar = 100 cents
Literacy rate 98%
Calorie consumption Not available
Palau is an island nation lying about 500 miles east of the Philippines and a long, long way south of Japan.
Here is an interesting story about our early involvement with the Palau Islands. No invasion, in this case, for a change. Englishman Henry Wilson, captain of the East India Company vessel Antelope, was shipwrecked off Ulong in 1783. Wilson and about fifty men survived and became friendly with the King of Palau, assisting in fighting his wars, and the king’s son accompanied Wilson back to Britain in 1784. Soon after arriving, the son died from smallpox. He was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Rotherhithe, and the East India Company built a memorial.
At the end of the eighteenth century, a Brit named McCluer laid a foundation stone for a fort on Palau that was to be called Fort Abercrombie, but it never got any further than that.
In the nineteenth century, different European powers competed for control of the islands and we inevitably got involved in the area. In January 1881 HMS Lily arrived to try to impose a settlement in a dispute involving a looted wreck, and in 1883 HMS Espiegle tried to end a local war.
In 1885, the then Pope, Leo XIII, was dragged into the dispute, being asked to adjudicate between Britain, Spain and Germany. The Pope accepted the Spanish claim to the islands, but gave us and the Germans economic concessions. In 1898, Spain lost the Philippines in the Spanish-American War and decided to sell the islands to the Germans anyway.
Not that Germany managed to hang on to them for long. They lost them to Japanese control in the First World War. And then Japan lost its control of the islands in the Second World War.