|Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ (Marshallese)
Republic of the Marshall Islands (English)
|Republic of the Marshall Islands|
Slogan : Jepilpilin ke ejukaan (Marshallese)
(completion by co-operation)
|Official language||Marshallese and English|
|Form of government||republic|
|Head of state , also head of government||President David Kabua|
|population||53,127 (2017 estimate)|
|Population density||293 inhabitants per km²|
gross domestic product
|currency||US dollar (USD)|
|independence||October 21, 1986 (from the US )|
Forever Marshall Islands
|Time zone||UTC + 12|
|ISO 3166||MH , MHL, 584|
|Telephone code||+ 692|
The Republic of the Marshall Islands ( Marshallese Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ ) is an island state in central Oceania . It includes the island group of the same name, which belongs to Micronesia . With 53,000 inhabitants on an area of only 181 square kilometers, the Marshall Islands are one of the smallest states on earth. The republic, with Majuro as its capital, is linked to the United States by an association agreement . The official languages are the Marshallese language and the English language . Until independence on October 21, 1986, the islands were a US-controlled UN trust territory . The more than a thousand islands protrude on average only two meters above sea level. Therefore, they are very vulnerable to sea rise caused by climate change . The island nation also includes the Eniwetok Atoll and Bikini Atoll , which were used for nuclear weapon tests .
The Marshall Islands consist of two almost parallel chains of islands and atolls : the Ratak chain ( sunrise islands) with 14 atolls and two islands in the east and the Ralik chain ( sunset islands) with 15 atolls and three islands in the west.
The island chains together include around 1225 larger and smaller islands and 870 reefs, which extend over an area of almost 2 million km² in the central Pacific. The land area of 181 km² rises on average around 2 meters above sea level.
Two thirds of the population live on the islands of the Majuro Atoll and on Ebeye in the Kwajalein Atoll. The other islands are sparsely populated or uninhabited due to a lack of work and development opportunities.
Approximately 92.1% of the population are Marshallers, 5.9% are Marshallers with mixed roots, and 2% are Other.
The fertility rate per woman was 3.03 children in 2017. In the same year, there were 24.4 births and 4.2 deaths for every 1,000 inhabitants. The average life expectancy at birth in 2017 was 73.4 years (women: 75.7 years, men: 71.2 years). The median age was 22.9 years. Population growth was 1.55 percent per year in 2017.
The country had one of the highest rates of obesity in the population. In 2016, 52.9% of the population was obese .
The Republic of the Marshall Islands operates the University of the South Pacific together with eleven other island states . 98.2% of the population can read and write (as of 2015). Majuro is home to the Alele Museum & Public Library , a museum and the only public library in the country.
Apart from the fact that they were probably settled from Micronesia in the 2nd millennium BC, little is known about the islands' early history. The Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar was the first European to visit the islands in 1526, and the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Saavedra reached them in 1529 . However, the Spaniards made no claims to the islands, so they went unnoticed by the Europeans for another two centuries until the English captain John Marshall visited them in 1788. The islands were later named after him. At the beginning of the 19th century it was first mapped by the German-Baltic explorer Otto von Kotzebue as an officer in the Russian Navy.
Missionaries established the first schools on the islands in the 1850s . As a result, German merchants planted coconut plantations to produce copra . After the German flag was hoisted on the island of Jaluit on October 15, 1885 as a sign of possession , the first Imperial Commissioner Wilhelm Knappe took over the sovereignty of the German Empire in 1886 . From 1894 to 1897 was Georg Irmer Governor of the Marshall Islands. In 1906 the islands officially became part of the German New Guinea colony .
The Imperial Japanese Navy occupied in World War I after the declaration of war of Japan to the German Reich on 23 August 1914 the undefended island group in September / October 1914 and immediately began, military bases to build and take over the management of the islands. After the war, Japan was officially entrusted with the administration of the islands by the League of Nations under the Japanese mandate of the South Seas . Japan used this as an opportunity to isolate the Marshall Islands - like all of their South Sea Mandate Islands - almost completely from the world in order to settle Japanese immigrants undisturbed, to further disenfranchise and exploit the local population and to expand the military presence. In the 1930s, the first airfields for the new air force of the Imperial Navy were created.
At the beginning of the Second World War , the Marshall Islands were important bases of Japan, especially since they were the easternmost possessions in the Pacific. From there, submarines and flying boats were used in the direction of the most important US main base in Hawaii , also in the sea air battle near the Midway Islands . After the Japanese defeat there, the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1942 and 1943 repeatedly relocated larger warship formations to the Marshalls' lagoons and strengthened their defense with numerous soldiers, construction workers and the naval air force , as an American offensive against the archipelago was now to be expected. The atolls Mili, Jaluit, Arno, Wotje and Kwajalein were particularly well defended. Others like Majuro, Eniwetok, Bikini were hardly or not at all occupied.
After the first air raids from aircraft carriers in March 1942 - even with little effect - began on 31 January 1944, the US offensive with the landing strong naval forces under the protection of a large aircraft carrier fleet on the Kwajalein - Atoll , which because of the strategic good location in the archipelago and was conquered after a few days with the destruction of the entire Japanese occupation forces. The Japanese Navy did not intervene, and the regional air force was not reinforced, so that it quickly succumbed to the vastly superior US carrier power. The US armed forces then occupied numerous other islands, whereupon the Majuro atoll in particular was expanded into a very large naval base . Other heavily fortified islands such as Mili and Jaluit were only held down from the air and by ship bombardment, so that Japanese troops remained there until the end of the war.
After the war, the US asked the newly created UN to hand over the Marshall Islands to them as part of the United Nations trusteeship territory . On the one hand, the US military wanted to keep permanent bases there and, on the other hand, use remote islands for atomic bomb tests. After the resettlement of the local population, numerous atomic and hydrogen bomb tests were carried out on Bikini Atoll and Eniwetok from 1946 to 1958 , which caused severe damage to the islands themselves and their flora and fauna. The former residents try in vain to return to their home islands, which are still dangerously high in radioactivity .
Under the administration of the USA, the active and passive right to vote for women was guaranteed on May 1, 1979 and confirmed when independence was achieved in 1986.
In 1979 the Marshall Islands became formally independent as a republic . They signed an association agreement with the United States that came into force on October 21, 1986 and guaranteed continued US military presence for decades. According to international law, they did not achieve full formal independence until 1990, when the UN's protection mandate to the USA officially ended ( UN Trustee Council ).
The people of the Marshall Islands adopted much of the American way of life, not least because they had made themselves dependent on imports from the United States to food. The health of the population is said to have worsened, in particular so-called civilization diseases increased sharply due to obesity . High unemployment also contributed to the decline of the original way of life, as the population no longer wanted to go fishing . The main employers on the islands today are an artificially enlarged administration (especially on the heavily overpopulated Majuro Atoll) and the still existing US base on Kwajalein. However, many citizens are now employed as seafarers for foreign shipping companies and contribute to the livelihood of the population with their income. Due to financial hardship, fishing rights are being sold to Asian countries, especially China , so that the once very rich fish stocks have collapsed.
However, the greatest threat to the republic is rising sea levels. Since most of the atolls are only a few meters above sea level and there are no rock islands at all, there is a real risk that numerous atolls will be uninhabitable or even disappeared in the future.
The history of the Marshall Islands, beginning with the German colony, can be traced on postage stamps from the postal area, which includes the stamps and postmarks of Nauru . The modern editions of the Marshall Islands in particular depict scenes from the history of the island state.
The present Republic of the Marshall Islands has existed since 1990, the constitution dates from 1979 (last changes in 1990). Legislative bodies are the parliament (" Nitijeḷā ") with 33 members who are elected every four years, and the "Council of Iroij" with twelve members. Parliament elects the President, while the Council of Iroij deals with matters relating to the country, customs and traditions . If the cabinet is not trusted twice in a row, the president can dissolve parliament and call new elections. The head of state and government was Hilda Heine from January 2016 to January 2020 . Since January 2020 it's David Kabua . Legislation is reserved for parliament because states and provinces do not exist. However, each of the 24 inhabited islands and atolls has its own administration.
Since 1983 there has been a free association agreement with the USA, which is entrusted with defense policy.
In the 21st century, the gross domestic product grew by an average of 1% annually. This rather low growth is mainly due to downsizing in public administration , periods of drought, a drop in sales in the construction industry and a decline in tourism . Foreign investment also fell as a result of the financial crisis in Asia. Eventually, the income from the renewal of fishing licenses also decreased. In the 2007 edition of “Doing Business”, edited by the World Bank , the Marshall Islands are described as the “Best Performer” among the economic areas presented in terms of the prevailing legal framework and the low costs involved in hiring and firing employees. In terms of investment security and the ability to enforce contract rights, the Marshall Islands received an extremely poor rating in the same study. In the country ranking of the report from 2010 (database 2008), the Marshall Islands are in 98th place out of 183 countries listed in the weighted average of all criteria used.
In 2007 the Marshall Islands joined the International Labor Organization . This means that labor law conditions that meet an international minimum standard also apply here.
A pillar of the country's economy is support from the United States of America . Under the agreements of the voluntary alliance Compact of Free Association , the United States will provide US $ 57.7 million annually up to 2013 and US $ 62.7 million annually for the Marshall Islands from 2014 through 2023. Thereafter, an indefinite annual payment will come from a trust fund jointly established by the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
The Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site , better known as the Kwajalein Missile Range or Reagan Test Site, is a missile test station with missile launch systems on the Kwajalein Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands, among other places . The United States pays the Marshall Islands for this. A large number of local workers are also employed on the base.
The Marshall Islands formally have a dollar currency. However, only banknotes are in circulation, not specific currency coins. Coins with the Marshall dollar currency exist exclusively for the collector's market in the form of commemorative coins .
The small country formally maintains the third largest merchant marine in the world. Ships with a total number of 90.3 million gross tons were registered in the Marshall Islands in 2019. The Marshall Islands are one of the most popular countries for flagging European shipowners out of a so-called offshore register. In addition to considerable tax advantages and relaxed labor regulations, the operators of cruise ships also benefit from free regulations for gambling in the ship's casinos .
Other branches of industry
Industrial companies are not represented on the Marshall Islands. Various craft businesses, fish processing businesses and copra extraction are widespread in the island nation. In 1999 a company for filleting tuna was established , employing more than 400 people, mostly women. However, the plant was closed again in 2005 after an unsuccessful attempt to switch production to tuna steaks - a production process that barely required half of the staff. As a result, the costs far exceeded the revenues. The efforts of the company's owners to obtain state participation also failed.
The national airline is the Air Marshall Islands .
The state budget made in 2006 about (about 40 million dollars spent) one third of the domestic product. In the same year, international aid reaching the country was approximately $ 69 million.
In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
- Health : 14.4%
- Education : 11.8% (2004)
- Military : 0.0% (The Marshall Islands have no military, defense is the task of the USA .)
Atomic bomb tests
The Marshall Islands became known worldwide through numerous atomic bomb tests carried out by the USA from 1946 to 1958 on Bikini Atoll and Eniwetok. In 1966 the Americans released the islands as habitable again, but had to be evacuated again in the mid-1970s because the radiation exposure was too high. According to current knowledge, the area will not be habitable again until 2020 to 2040 at the earliest. In 2014, the Marshall Islands filed a lawsuit against the nuclear powers USA, Russia, Great Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea before the International Court of Justice . Great Britain, India and Pakistan accepted the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. In 2015 the people of the island state received the Right Livelihood Award for their commitment to the anti-nuclear movement .
The journalist Giff Johnson dealt with the consequences of the tests in his books. In Don't ever whisper: Darlene Keju, Pacific health pioneer, champion for nuclear survivors (2013), he sets a literary memorial to his wife, health activist Darlene Keju. She had publicized the health consequences of the experiments around the world and, above all, pointed out the numerous stillbirths and deformities in newborns.
The Marshall Islands, along with other island states such as Fiji , Tuvalu , Kiribati and the Maldives, are among the regions of the world which, with the increase in extreme weather events and the worldwide rise in sea levels, are in some cases already more or less strongly affected by global climate change ; One of the main problems on site is the already inadequate drinking water supply due to the inadequate infrastructure and an additional crisis caused by salt water intrusion and salinizing wells .
In early 2013, the Marshall Islands appealed to the United Nations Security Council to recognize climate change as a threat to international security. In May 2013, Marshall Islands Secretary of State Phillip Muller published an appeal in the Washington Post describing the current emergency. In 2012, a sustained and season- independent drought began, resulting in water scarcity and infectious diseases . Since January 2013 drinking water has to be imported, which in the long run will exceed the financial resources. The rise in sea levels is already making itself felt. Therefore, the Marshall Islands would accelerate their switch to renewable energies such as solar energy and test promising technologies for the production of ocean energy . Since the majority of global CO 2 emissions come from other countries, he appealed to them to do more to protect the climate than before.
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