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A tiny island country just south of the Equator in the south-western Pacific Ocean, between longitudes 166° and 167° E.


Nauru is a coral island, with a band of fertile land around the coast rising to a central plateau.


Nauru's wealth formerly lay in phosphate deposits. However, the supply of phosphates is almost exhausted and the trust funds into which phosphate revenues were paid have been dissipated. With 80% of the land rendered uninhabitable by phosphate extraction, Nauru faces grave economic problems.


Nauru was settled by various Polynesian peoples who travelled there from other islands before being discovered by the British in 1798. In 1899 a British company, the Pacific Islands Company based in Sydney, found that the island comprised the world's richest deposits of phosphate of lime. The company began mining the deposits in 1906. From 1888 to 1914 the island was part of Germany's Marshall Islands protectorate. Thereafter, apart from three years of Japanese occupation during World War II, Nauru was a trust territory of Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, before achieving independence and a limited membership of the Commonwealth in 1968. In 1993 Australia, Britain, and New Zealand agreed to pay compensation for the damage done to the island by mining.

Source: MAPS IN MINUTES™ © RH Publications (1997)


Yaren (de facto: there is no official capital)


21 sq km (8.2 sq miles)


10,200 (2005)


1 Australian dollar = 100 cents


Nauruan Protestant Church 43%

Ethnic Groups:

Nauruan 48.0%; Kiribertese 19.3%; Chinese 13.0%


Nauruan; English

International Organizations:

UN; Commonwealth; Pacific Islands Forum; Secretariat of the Pacific Community

Subjects: History

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