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Ripublik Naoero ( Nauruisch )
Republic of Nauru (English)
Republic of Nauru
Flag of Naurus
Naurus coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : God's Will First
( English for " God's Will First ")
Official language Nauruan and English
Capital de jure : none
de facto : Yaren (1)
Form of government republic
Government system Parliament-bound executive power
Head of state , also head of government President Lionel Aingimea
surface 21.10 km²
population 12,704 (2018)
Population density 478 inhabitants per km²
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
currency Australian dollar (AUD)
independence January 31, 1968
(from Australia )
National anthem Nauru Bwiema
Time zone UTC + 12
License Plate NAU
ISO 3166 NR , NRU, 520
Internet TLD .No
Telephone code +674
(1) There is no official capital in Nauru; the government agencies are located in the Yaren district.
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Nauru  [ nɑːuːruː ] ( Nauru Ripublik Naoero even Ripubrikin Naoero , English Republic of Nauru ) is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with about 10,000 inhabitants. Nauru is the third smallest recognized state in terms of area and the second or third smallest in terms of population as well as the smallest republic on earth. Please click to listen!Play

Nauru consists of the coral island of the same name , which belongs to the island world of Micronesia (not to be confused with the Federated States of Micronesia ), as well as the territorial waters belonging to the state within a radius of twelve nautical miles . The neighboring states are the Federated States of Micronesia in the west, the Marshall Islands in the north, Kiribati in the east and the Solomon Islands in the south.

Originally, the island was inhabited by twelve tribes, who are grouped together as the Nauruer . In 1888 Nauru was placed under the rule of the German Empire as a protectorate . During the First World War , Australia took control of the island and, apart from the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945, retained it until the country became independent in 1968. For a long time, the exploitation of the rich phosphate stocks ( guano / nauruit ), which were discovered as early as 1900, was economically decisive for Nauru . The country had the highest per capita income in the world. When the stocks ran out, it became apparent that the state and most of the citizens had not invested the profits generated by the mining in a future-proof manner; Nauru became increasingly impoverished after the complete depletion of the only natural resource . Public finances are therefore regularly on the verge of bankruptcy , but have been stabilized in recent years by support measures coordinated by the Pacific Islands Forum .


Satellite image of Nauru

The island is located in the western Pacific Ocean at 0 ° 32 'south latitude and 166 ° 56' east longitude. The nearest island is Banaba 290 km further east, which belongs to Kiribati and which had a similar importance for rich phosphate deposits (the third major phosphate island in the Pacific is Makatea in the Tuamotu Archipelago ). Nauru has an exclusive economic zone with a size of 308,480 km² (including the territorial waters of around 570 km²), which is connected to the corresponding zones of Kiribati in the east (290 km to the island of Banaba) and from the Marshall Islands in the north (600 km to the Ebon -Atoll ) borders. More distant neighbors are Micronesia ( Kosrae ) in the northwest, the Solomon Islands in the southwest, Papua New Guinea ( Bismarck Archipelago ) in the west and Tuvalu in the southeast.

Nauru is an upscale atoll on top of an extinct submarine volcano . The huge coral stock extends about 2000 meters deep into the sea and rises a maximum of about 60  m above sea level. This highest point is in the east of Aiwo along a plateau edge called Command Ridge . Compared to other atolls, Nauru has a very small lagoon . One kilometer from the coast, the sea depth is already more than 1000 meters, and the island shelf drops steeply to a depth of around 4300 meters. Except for a narrow coastal strip, the inner part of the island was covered by phosphate ( nauruit ), which was formed from the excrement of sea birds. About two square kilometers of the island are forested.

Due to the location of Naurus in the immediate vicinity of the equator , the temperatures are balanced all year round with a monthly average temperature of around 27.5  ° C. The trade winds bring year-round rainfall to the island, which averages 1900 mm per year. Agriculture is made considerably more difficult by the porous limestone, as the water seeps away very quickly.

The government has raised the urgency of the matter several times to the UN regarding the rising sea levels caused by climate change and has called for some meetings with the USA and other industrialized nations.

Flora and fauna

There are no large animals on Nauru: in addition to insects , there are only different species of seabirds such as the banded frigate bird at home. There is only one species of songbird , the Nauru warbler (Acrocephalus rehsei), which is endemic here . Common stray domestic animals such as cats , dogs and pigs were introduced by the population from abroad.

A wide shallow water line runs around the island, which dries up at low tide and is accessible; A variety of marine animals such as sea ​​urchins , mollusks and crabs live here , and corals grow in the shallow water in front of them. Connected to this border is a narrow strip of land a few hundred meters wide with snow-white coral sand on which coconut palms , screw trees and other woods thrive. The main road runs along the entire coast, where almost all the buildings on the island are located.

A second high terrace rises further inland, on which the natural landscape has largely been preserved. Here there are light forests with coconut palms, fig trees , rosewood (locally called Tomano ) and hibiscus . Other tree species such as cherries, almond trees and mango trees have fallen victim to intensive deforestation and environmental degradation. What is remarkable in the interior of the island is the difference between the phosphate areas, which have now been mined off, and the still somewhat preserved natural landscape. While there is somewhat denser and lower vegetation at lower altitudes, there are more hardwood trees around the highest points of the island. This difference can be explained by the lack of rainwater runoff into the ocean. It quickly seeps into the porous limestone and phosphate soil, the bottom of which (and thus also the water table ) is deep.

Of the 493 plant species (including hybrids) found on Nauru, only 59 are believed to be native and none are endemic.



A large number of mollusks and crustaceans as well as blue corals with their shimmering blue limestone skeleton live on the coast and immediately in front of it . These are considered living fossils and are the only representatives of the family Helioporidae from the order of the Octocorallia . They are rare and only occur in marine areas around the equator where the water temperature does not fall below 24 ° C.


The most remarkable part of the interior of the island are the fantastic limestone spikes and pyramids that have formed in the exploited phosphorite opencast mines. They are four to ten meters high, and between them a whole labyrinth of kettles and deep hollows has arisen.

The rest of the island is an almost flat table. The phosphate mined by excavators was transported away on a narrow-gauge railway. A peculiar, inanimate lunar landscape remained. The stone peaks and pyramids have no ground cover and are devoid of vegetation. The rainwater converges in the troughs and quickly seeps through the porous reef limestone .

Geographers , geomorphologists and geologists examined the relief, soil and geological structure of the island and derived a very varied development history from this: The Nauru Atoll has existed for a very long time. The ring-shaped fringing reef made of Tertiary corals has been preserved to this day. In the Paleogene , the Old Tertiary, the bottom of the Buada lagoon was 60 meters below today's sea level. In the Miocene , a section of the Young Tertiary, the atoll was raised significantly so that the bottom of the lagoon was ten meters higher than today's sea level. Probably the surface of the island was subject to severe erosion during this period , creating a karst relief . These are today's stone spikes and pyramids that give the opencast mines such a strange look. The island was then flooded and a shallow water lagoon formed. In the hollows and other cavities between the prongs of the reef limestone, sediments enriched with phosphorus settled. The island was flooded for a long time. The lagoon sediments underwent considerable changes, which may have contributed to the fact that the carbonates contained in the sediments dissolved and the sediments were enriched with phosphorus compounds.

Karst landscape in the interior of Naurus, a relic of phosphate mining

Thereafter, the island was uplifted for a longer period, the bottom of the former lagoon rose from the water and plants began to colonize the island. Currently the entire inner part of the island is twenty to thirty meters above sea level. Only a small depression has been preserved, which is occupied by a lake - the Buada lagoon  .

This picture of the geological history of Naurus contains two contentious points:

The explanation given for the creation of the peculiar relief is somewhat doubtful. In addition to the assumption that there was strong karstification, that is, that the reef limestone has been loosened, another view can be taken: On the beach and in the stony shallow water, there are quite a few who have been preserved as "witnesses", especially on the east side of the island small stone pillars. They are strangely shaped and formed as a result of the destruction of the reef massif by the ocean waves. One can imagine that the entire shallow water part of the island's surface was subjected to intensive treatment by the waves during uplift periods. This space was not protected, at least there were very wide passages in the ring-shaped reef. The only consequence of the further uplift of the island was that the previous rinsing process was continued, with the rainwater smoothing the stone pillars and jagged stone that were left behind.

The second point of contention is the formation of phosphorites . In the opencast mines and in places where the so-called nauruit comes to light, you can see that the layer of phosphorite sediments is built in a complicated way. Most typical is the image of fragmented debris of different sizes: partly crusts and clods of one meter in diameter, mostly smaller angular debris, less often sanded-off phosphorite kidneys mixed with fine earth. All this material is not sorted and very diverse. According to this, the original accumulation of phosphorite, which usually forms in shallow water after the death of large masses of plankton , has been repeatedly remodeled through severe erosion and multiple rearrangements.

In the island's complex and long history there have undoubtedly been periods when strong typhoons passed over it. Then there was a very intensive washing out and relocation of the debris. Such catastrophic changes have also been described for present-day atolls. In any case, it is then pointed out that on the island and in the shallow water on the coast, huge masses of debris have been relocated and reshaped. The fine earth was carried out to the open sea, while the larger pieces, mainly phosphorite nodules and fragments of the crusts created by drops, remained on the island. Rubble and fragments were held in the hollow forms of the relief, and in a karstified relief they mainly filled the hollows and pockets between the jagged edges and pyramids made of reef limestone.

There is another version of the formation of the phosphate rock, which is considered more likely: In the easily soluble, weathered limestone, deep funnels and pointed cones formed on the surface, ideal nesting sites for seabirds. Over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, the excrement of millions upon millions of seabirds piled up in the funnels and eventually covered almost the entire island several meters high. The guano , as the deposits of bird excrement are called, changed over time under the influence of the weather to calcium phosphate of the highest purity. The rock sometimes contained more than 90% pure phosphate.


Population pyramid of Nauru (2005)
Population development Naurus
year population
1960 04,433
1970 06,493
1980 07,488
1990 09,157
2000 10,042
2010 10,025
2016 13,049

The 9945 residents (2011) Naurus consist of 93.6% from Nauruern . The extremely high proportion of foreigners in the population in earlier years (around 70% in 1992) has shrunk to a good 6% due to the phosphate mining crisis and the associated massive emigration of foreign miners.

Among the residents of other nationalities, the Kiribati form the largest population groups with 1.8% and the Chinese with 1.5%.

Average life expectancy is relatively low at 60.4 years (men 57.5 years, women 63.2 years). One reason for this is the high prevalence of diabetes (see Health ).

Of the population, 37.8% are under 15 years old, 60.9% between 15 and 64 years and 1.3% older than 64 years. The annual population growth is 1.8% after a phase of population decline in the years 2002-2006. Infant mortality is falling, but still high at 3.3%; child mortality is 0.4%. The fertility rate is 4.3 births per woman. The birth rate is 3.63% and the death rate 0.75% per year. The urbanization is 48%, the literacy rate above 99%, by far the highest rate in Oceania and one, which is the highest due to the investment of the government in education worldwide. There are around 700 residents for one doctor.


The original native religion on Nauru is a monotheistic belief system that includes a female deity named Eijebong and an island of spirits named Buitani . Believers say that the sky and ocean were created by a spider named Areop-Enap and that the first inhabitants of the island of Nauru were born from two rocks. These ideas were pushed back with the arrival of Western colonizers and missionaries and have largely disappeared in the decades after World War II .

Today (as of 2011) there are predominantly Christians living in Nauru . Most of the Nauru people are Protestants of various denominations (around 60% in total). The largest Protestant denomination on Nauru, to which 35.7% of the population belong, is the Nauru Congregational Church , a partner church of the Uniting Church in Australia , with the main church in Aiwo and chapels in Meneng , Buada , Anabar and Nibok . The Assembly of God consists of 13% of Nauruans, a further 9.5% profess to Nauru Independent Church , an evangelical community. The other Nauru people who are counted as Protestants are Baptists (1.5%) and followers of the Seventh-day Adventists (0.7%).

About 33% of the population of Naurus are Catholics . They have a church and a school in Yaren and the Kayser College in Ewa . The once significant religious minorities of Buddhists , Daoists and followers of the Baha'i religion have shrunk to insignificance as a result of the crisis-related emigration of foreign phosphate miners.


Naurus society is grappling with some of the most serious health problems in the world. The Nauru General Hospital covers basic medical care for the population free of charge; the Nauru Phosphate Corporation Hospital cares for the former employees of the phosphate company; both work well below international standards, which is why seriously ill people have to be flown to Australia. High proportions of the population suffer from tuberculosis , leprosy , vitamin deficiency and diabetes mellitus . Per capita, Nauru has one of the highest proportions of diabetes, kidney failure and heart disease in the world. The Australian government supports the Nauruan people with development aid, particularly in the medical field, including by sending doctors. Binge drinking and tobacco smoking are widespread, the basic diet is white rice , pasta and soft drinks , often in the form of ready meals and canned food , while vegetables are rarely found. According to the Global Nutrition Report published in 2015, the percentage of obese people in Nauru was 39.7 percent between 2010 and 2014, four times the global average.

The rate of diabetes patients is noteworthy . The first case of diabetes is dated 1925 and the problem was first identified in the 1970s. In 2003, 30.3 percent of adults had type II diabetes, in the 2010s 33 percent of adult men, which is the highest proportion worldwide. There are programs for nutritional advice and sports promotion in schools, which are largely unsuccessful due to the difficult economic and social situation.

The entire Pacific region is struggling with obesity. Experts see a main cause in the westernization of the diet and an increasing abandonment of traditional ways of living and eating.


Originally twelve tribes lived in Nauru: the Deiboe, Eamwidamit, Eamwidara, Eamwit, Eamgum, Eano, Emeo, Eoraru, Irutsi, Iruwa, Iwi and Ranibok. These are represented in the twelve-pointed star of today's state flag . Their descendants still live on Nauru, but no longer belong to a tribe, but to the district in which they live. A specialty is the Iruwa tribe, which is not originally Nauruan, but comes from the Gilbert Islands . Today there are no more descendants of the Irutsi and Iwi tribes. They are believed to have died out when around 1200 Nauru people were deported to the Micronesian island of Truk as forced laborers by the Japanese occupiers in 1942 , of which only 737 returned to Nauru. It was a coincidence that these two tribes became extinct.

After an agreement concluded between Germany and Great Britain in 1886 on the spheres of influence in the western Pacific, the island was annexed by Germany in 1888 , mainly for strategic reasons to consolidate its colonial holdings in the Pacific. After the significant phosphate deposits were discovered in 1900, Germany participated in the mining. After the First World War , the country went to Australia , Great Britain and New Zealand . Since then, the phosphate has been mined and sold by Australia, the native Nauruern only have a small share of the yield.

The phosphate loading facility on Nauru, damaged on December 27, 1940 by shelling of the German auxiliary cruiser Komet

German attacks on Nauru took place from December 6th to 8th and on December 27th 1940 during World War II by the German auxiliary cruisers Orion and Komet . On December 27, the Komet destroyed the phosphate loading station on Nauru by fire. This last German attack on Nauru had consequences for the Australian and New Zealand economies, as the phosphate loading could only be resumed ten weeks later. This attack is considered to be the greatest success of the German auxiliary cruisers operating in the Pacific Ocean during the Second World War. From August 1942 to September 1945 Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops .

Hammer DeRoburt (center) with Raymond Gadabu (left)

In 1968 Nauru became independent from Australia under the leadership of founding president Hammer DeRoburt and became a sovereign republic under international law . Active and passive women's suffrage was introduced on January 3, 1968. In 1970 the Australian Phosphate Mining Society was nationalized. Nauru now mined the phosphates itself, making it the second richest country in the world (per capita). The immense profits were on the one hand made freely available to the Nauruan population, on the other hand they were invested in various businesses, for example in their own airline and a shipping company , but also in the unsuccessful Leonardo musical in London.

Phosphate depletion has decreased since the 1990s and poverty began to spread. Corruption in connection with financial transactions and bad investments let Nauru fall back to the level of a developing country . Politically, the crisis reached its climax in 2003 and 2004, when Presidents Bernard Dowiyogo , René Harris and Ludwig Scotty took turns every few months by votes of no confidence . On October 1, 2004, the then incumbent President Scotty dissolved the Nauruan parliament and scheduled new elections for October 23, 2004. Scotty and his followers clearly won these elections and achieved a historic majority in parliament with 16 of the 18 seats. In January 2005, Nauru was named as a potential site for the final disposal of Australian nuclear waste . In October 2005, the island nation was removed from the FATF's blacklist of uncooperative states in relation to money laundering .

In July 2007, Scotty moved the October election two months forward. On August 25, 2007, the Nauruan people elected a new parliament; it was a huge election victory for Scotty. Three days later, Scotty was confirmed in office by the new parliament. On November 10, 2007, three Scotty government ministers resigned after falling out with Secretary of State David Adeang . He and President Scotty have been criticized for undermining the reform program and for not advancing it enough. On December 19, 2007 Scotty was finally deposed by a vote of no confidence with 10 to 7 votes from Parliament and replaced by Marcus Stephen , who immediately formed a new cabinet. After ongoing power struggles between Stephen's government and the Adeang opposition, President Stephen dissolved parliament in April 2008 and called for new elections on April 26, 2008. Stephen's government was able to gain three seats in the elections and thus had a solid majority in parliament, which ended the crisis for the time being. After Stephen's resignation, Frederick Pitcher (for only five days), Sprent Dabwido and the current President Baron Waqa followed .

On May 27, 2016, Nauru's Crimes Act 2016 abolished the death penalty , solitary confinement , forced labor and the prosecution of homosexuals at the same time . At the same time, rape in marriage was declared a criminal offense and attempted suicide was declared unpunished.

Origin of the word Nauru

The origin of the word "Nauru" is not clear. The Nauru people used to call their island "Naoero" as it does today. The German Paul Hambruch , who visited the island in May 1909 and from September to November 1910, gave the etymological explanation that “Naoero” must be interpreted as the contraction of the sentence “ã-nuau-aa-ororo” (today it would be “A nuaw ea arourõ ”), which means something like“ I'm going to the beach ”. In the German Colonial Lexicon (1920) , Hambruch's explanation with the word "Anáoero" or "Ānā́ọĕṙọ" was adopted. The Alsatian Catholic missionary Alois Kayser , MSC, who evangelized in Nauru for more than 30 years and studied the Nauru language intensively, rejected Hambruch's declaration because in Nauruan the word “beach”, as the target of a verb of movement, the trend-setting word “rodu ", Which means" downwards ", is needed and indicates the term" rodu aröüro "for" going to the beach ". The Nauru people consider the beach to be the lowest geographical point on the island - both in terms of land and sea. The fact that “rodu” is missing in Hambruch's word explanation makes his etymology of the word “Naoero” and thus also of “Nauru” untenable.

The island also had other names: the English colonialists before 1888 called the island Pleasant Island or Shank Island, the German colonial rulers Nawodo or Onawero. The word "Nauru" was later created from "Naoero" so that Europeans and Americans could pronounce the name of the island correctly.


Nauru is a parliamentary-democratic republic with a parliament-bound executive power as a system of government .

Political system

Nauruan separation of powers

The political system consists of:

  • the president and the government
  • the State Secretary (Chief Secretary)
  • the Parliament ( Parliament, the House; top member of the legislature )
  • a speaker of parliament and his / her deputy speaker
  • a parliamentary secretary (clerk)
  • the Supreme Court (Supreme Court)
  • the District Court

The Nauruan Parliament, also known as the House in Nauru, consists of 19 members in one chamber and is usually elected every three years. It elects a president from among its members . The president then usually appoints his cabinet from party comrades in parliament, which consists of five to six ministers.


There is a little multiparty system . The two formal parties are the opposition Naoero Amo and the also opposing Democratic Party of Nauru. There is also a conservative but informal party, the Center Party. Both opposition parties were formed to strengthen the role of parliament and to curb the power of previous presidents, who are often believed to be corrupt. Today the Naoero Amo plays an important role, while the DPN and the CP have little political power.


Electoral system

Nauru has a priority voting system in which voters choose candidates in their constituency in order of priority. A first priority vote counts a whole vote, a second priority vote counts half a vote, a third priority voice counts a third vote. For example, if there are 21 candidates in a constituency, the last vote counts one twenty-first.

There is compulsory voting. Anyone who has Nauruan citizenship and who is 20 years or older on election day must vote. In order to stand as a candidate, one must meet the conditions mentioned and submit his nomination with his signature and the signatures of two or more voters from his district at least 14 days before the election day.


The Nauruan constituencies

Election dates

Parliamentary elections took place:

Legal system

Nauruan law is based on English common law and decisions of the Nauruan parliament . Decisions are made by the Supreme Court of Nauru (Supreme Court of Nauru).

Chairman of the Supreme Court (Supreme Court) is the Chief Justice (Chief Justice), who is appointed by the President and consists of three judges from abroad. If appeals against judgments of the Supreme Court are possible, the Australian Supreme Court ( High Court of Australia ) has jurisdiction. However, such remedies are relatively rare. Parliament cannot revise judicial decisions. The District Court is presided over by a resident magistrate who is also the registrar of the Supreme Court. The local judge also presides over the family court , which consists of three judges .

The Constitution provides for two further panels, the Public Service Appeal Board and the Police Appeal Board. The chief judge presides over both two-headed chambers.

The death penalty has been abolished.

Military and police

Nauru has no military defense forces; Due to an informal agreement, Australia is responsible for the island's defense. Nevertheless, over 3000 Nauruers are available for recruitment and a little less than 2000 of them are health-wise suitable for military use.

Nauru's internal security is guaranteed by a small police facility under civil control. The most serious violations of the law that prevail are bicycle theft , speeding , trespassing, and causing disturbances.

Refugee camp

Between 2001 and 2008 there was a camp on Nauru for refugees (mainly from Afghanistan, but also Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan) who had been rejected by Australia. This was reopened in August 2012 with the reintroduction of the so-called Pacific solution . Rape and sexual abuse occurred there, according to a government report. The camp is funded by Australia and operated by a private company.

In August 2016, a total of 1200 refugees were housed on Nauru. The human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published a joint report on regular attacks against refugees, completely inadequate accommodation and medical care, as well as communication and access restrictions for refugees and journalists. They mainly blamed the Australian government and the private companies that are supposed to look after the refugees to be responsible. On August 10, 2016, The Guardian published leaked reports of numerous cases of abuse and self-harm. Director Eva Orner addressed the conditions in the Nauru refugee camp in her documentary film Chasing Asylum (2016). A little over 50 of the refugees on Nauru, who according to the UN Commissioner for Refugees have a particularly high protection status, are to be admitted to the United States according to an agreement with Australia.

Foreign policy

In 1982 the Nauru Agreement was signed on Nauru , which regulates fishing in the northern and western Pacific, especially for tuna .

The Republic of Nauru has closer diplomatic ties with Australia, Fiji , the United Kingdom , India , Japan , Cuba , New Zealand , the Philippines , South Korea , Taiwan , Thailand and the United States .

Nauru has a reputation for relying on checkbook diplomacy in its external relations, i.e. providing support for the concerns of other countries in return for financial support, for example in the recognition of controversial states, Japan's whaling or the issue of passports.

In August 1995, Nauru and Kiribati ceased diplomatic relations with France after French nuclear tests in the Pacific , but resumed them in full at the end of 1997. On the occasion of a state visit by Jacques Chirac to French Polynesia in July 2003, these relations were strengthened by a brief meeting between Chirac and President Ludwig Scotty .

On March 4, 2004, the Nauruan UN ambassador Vinci Clodumar and the Icelandic representative Hjálmar Hannesson signed an agreement on the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nauru and Iceland. Nauru hopes that Iceland will help establish its own fishing industry.

A Nauru consulate general was opened in Bangkok (Thailand) on January 21, 2006 , one year after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in January 2005. Nauru is currently the only oceanic state besides Australia and New Zealand to have a diplomatic mission in Thailand. The opening ceremony was attended by the respective Foreign Ministers David Adeang and Kantathi Suphamongkhon . A few days earlier, a Thai company had signed a contract with the Nauruan phosphate company to resume phosphate mining.

In October 2007, Nauru and Cuba set up a joint government commission to promote economic cooperation and general bilateral relations between the two countries.

In December 2009, Nauru became the fourth country in the world to recognize the independence of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after Russia , Nicaragua and Venezuela . Naurus Foreign Minister Kieren Keke visited the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali and received development aid from Russia amounting to an estimated 33 million euros. In 2009 , the Frankfurter Rundschau said that the main source of income for the country was the reception of asylum seekers from Australia for the duration of their asylum procedure.


On July 21, 2002, Nauru, which had previously officially recognized Taiwan , broke off diplomatic relations with Taipei and sided with the People's Republic of China . The then President René Harris signed a joint declaration in Hong Kong with China's then Deputy Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong . Nauru received tens of millions of euros in financial support from China . With the Naurus swing, the number of states recognizing Taiwan dropped to 27. In 2003, China agreed to pay 2.7 million Nauruan debts (purchase of a Boeing 737 ) to the Export-Import Bank of the United States Dollars to pay.

In March 2005, following a meeting with President Scotty , the incumbent Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi spoke out in favor of further diplomatic relations between China and Nauru. At the same time, Scotty said Nauru supported the Chinese program to reunite Taiwan with China. On May 9, 2005, however, Scotty and Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian met briefly in Majuro , whereupon on May 14, diplomatic relations between Nauru and Taiwan were officially resumed. Scotty justified the decision by saying that René Harris's break off of relations with Taiwan at the time was wrong and he was always against it. It can be assumed, however, that the switch back to Taiwan was made because China never kept its promise to pay the debts for the Boeing aircraft. In addition, Taiwan promised development assistance in the areas of education , agriculture , fisheries and tourism to be paid. In return, Nauru is helping Taiwan to join international organizations such as the WHO and the UN.


The Federal Republic of Germany has had diplomatic relations with Nauru since April 15, 1979, and the GDR established relations in 1984. However, due to the great distance and the small size of the Naurus, these are not intense. Germany therefore does not have its own embassy in Nauru; the German embassy in Australia is responsible. German missionaries are therefore still the only carriers of German culture who work in Nauru in the long term. They have made special merits through their efforts to preserve and fix the Nauruan language. Germany paid to Nauru under a program of the European Union until 2007 development aid in the order of 2.7 million euros.


Austria is in diplomatic contact with Nauru and signed a bilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters in London in 1980 , which has been in force since February 1, 1981. However, further diplomatic relations between the two republics are poor. Austria has not sent an ambassador to Nauru; the Austrian embassy in Canberra is responsible for Nauru.


The Switzerland has Nauru recognized under international law in 1969 and started in 2003 with the establishment of diplomatic relations. Switzerland does not have a diplomatic representation, as no Swiss citizen has a permanent residence in Nauru. Not least because of this, closer political, economic, commercial and cultural relationships are missing. The embassy in Canberra is responsible for Nauru, and it only works sporadically.

Membership in international organizations

Nauru is a member of the following organizations: Alliance of Small Island States , ACP countries , Asian Development Bank , Commonwealth , ICAO , International Criminal Court , Interpol , International Telecommunication Union , International Whaling Commission , International Monetary Fund , Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons , Pacific Islands Forum , Pacific Community , United Nations , UNESCO , Universal Postal Union , World Health Organization .


The Nauruan districts

Nauru is divided into 14 districts. The boundaries of the districts are the former boundaries of the former Gaue, which until 1968 consisted of a few villages.


Land transport

The road network covers a total of 41 kilometers; 29 kilometers are paved asphalt roads , 17 kilometers of which are on the coastal road around the island. Other unpaved roads are about 12 kilometers long; they lead to the central plateau and are mainly used for phosphate mining. There is left-hand traffic.

The only five kilometer long railway line is a narrow-gauge railway and serves the phosphate mining area. This narrow-gauge railway from Nauru runs from the collection point in the west of Anibare to the processing plant in Aiwo .

Local public transport is carried out by buses that stop at the hotels in Aiwo and Meneng, the airport in Yaren , the hospital in Denigomodu and the Nauru College in Ewa .

Sea and air transport

In addition to the international seaport ( Aiwo Harbor ), international travel is guaranteed by an international airport ( Nauru International Airport ; IATA code INU ). The dangerous coast forces larger ships to anchor some distance from the island.

Nauru Airlines is the only airline to fly to the island. The predecessor company Air Nauru was founded during the boom in the phosphate industry, but had to contend with economic problems for a long time. In December 2005, Air Nauru's only aircraft was reclaimed from its creditor, the Export-Import Bank of the United States . As a result, the airline had to cease operations. For several months, Nauru could only be reached by sea and to a certain extent isolated. With the help of Taiwanese funds, flight operations were resumed in September . In this context, the company was first renamed Our Airline and in 2014 Nauru Airlines .


There are no rivers in Nauru, but some canals have been created. The channels are mostly artificially built openings in the fringing reef that surround the entire island. Through these canals there are more opportunities to moor and disembark with boats and yachts.

  • Ganeno
  • Ganiamwe
  • Ganibawo, at Boe
  • Ganiwuro
  • Ganokwang
  • Gatoe
  • Gonge, at Ewa (also Onge)
  • Gonokwoy


Economic situation

The economy is still very dependent on phosphate mining .

Loading of phosphate onto ships in front of Aiwo

Nauru had the phosphate deposits with the highest phosphate content in the world. Around 75% of the gross national product was generated by exporting this raw material.

Most of the lush income from phosphate mining was made available to the population. Until 2001, medical treatment was free, with no taxes or fees for public services. The Nauru people lived quite carefree and often did not have a regular daily routine. A popular pastime was catching and breeding frigate birds. Each household owned an average of two to three cars (with only 18 miles of paved roads) and a motorboat. Many Nauru nationals flew frequently to Australia to stock up on the latest and most modern consumer goods. Numerous festivals and the general unhealthy diet led to major health problems (see health ).

From 2000, however, very little phosphate was mined due to the depletion of the deposits. Nevertheless, almost half of the workforce still work in phosphate mining. The workers at the former phosphate mine are almost exclusively foreign workers from Kiribati , Tuvalu , the Philippines , Hong Kong , Australia and New Zealand . The guest workers and their families make up around 40% of the island's inhabitants. With the discovery of new deposits, which should last until around 2035, the country's economy has increased significantly again since 2005.

Districts Denigomodu (above) with the accommodation of the guest workers, and Nibok (below)

The government tried several times to ensure the high standard of living without the income from the depleted phosphate deposits. For this purpose, a capital fund was set up that acquired real estate and shares in neighboring Pacific states and in the USA and Australia, such as a skyscraper in Melbourne , the Nauru House , which is disparagingly called the birdshit tower . In addition, the Nauru Finance Industry endeavored to turn the island nation into a tax haven for the international business world through considerable tax breaks. Soon, however, the Nauruan financial system came under suspicion of allowing money laundering and investment fraud on a large scale. As a result, sanctions were imposed on Nauru as the first country in history by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering ( FATF ) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ( OECD ) and Nauru was placed on the blacklist of money laundering oases. After all banking licenses were revoked in 2003 , the FATF and OECD also withdrew their measures.

However, because of serious bad investments and corrupt government business during the 1990s, the state lost almost all of its wealth and its high level of prosperity dwindled. For example, the state had financed an unsuccessful musical in London that was immediately canceled after the premiere, and an unprofitable offshoot of the University of the South Pacific was bought . In 1994 the state made a loan to an Australian football club, which soon had to cease playing. Wages are currently partially not paid, waste is piling up, the state has considerable debts to deal with and is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Nauru is currently hoping for compensation payments from Australia, which had exploited the phosphate deposits for free before independence. In addition, Australia pays Nauru to intern refugees; at times these payments made up almost all of the national income. Nauru also tries to convince his creditors and the UN of his plight and asks for debt relief and subsidies from the UN. Finally, in 2004 properties like the Nauru House and the Mercure Hotel in Sydney had to be sold to pay off some debts.

With wealth, free services also disappeared. The government could no longer provide medical treatment free of charge, and taxes are now being levied.

Fishing and fish processing remained almost the only economic sector , although fishing still plays a subordinate role today. The fishery is overseen by the Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority (NFMRA). The agriculture is limited due to the porous soil and irregular rainfall to the coastal zone, where coconut trees , bananas , pineapples and some vegetables are grown. Attempts are now being made to clear away the coral rocks on the mined phosphate fields and to apply humus in order to expand the agricultural areas. An estimated 20 percent of all residents now cultivate agriculture in their gardens.

In September 2004 soil investigations discovered that there is far more phosphate in the mining area than previously assumed; further tests were arranged. In December 2004, a larger amount of phosphate was exported for the first time in months. The shipments to South Korea amounted to about 10,000 tons. In October 2005, Scotty and Secretary of State David Adeang announced that the remaining phosphate discovered in September 2004 would increase Nauru's export rate by 300 percent within six months. In 2012, 167,600 t of phosphate (converted to the P 4 O 10 content) valued at around US $ 17 million were mined again on Nauru .

All the electricity for the island is generated in the Power House in Aiwo , however blackouts are very common. The drinking water , like most other foodstuffs, is mainly imported from Australia by ship. Since the chronic water shortage is a big problem, a seawater desalination plant was built.

The industrial sector plays only a minor role. The only major employer is the state phosphate refinery . The service sector, on the other hand, is an important pillar of the Nauruan economy with around 35% of employees . The main employers are the administration of the phosphate mines ( Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust ) and the state-owned shipping company ( Nauru Pacific Line ) and the national airline ( Nauru Airlines ), which occasionally cease operations if they cannot afford the fuel or repairs. Both the Nauru Pacific Line and the Nauru Airlines are largely subsidized by the state .

On January 28, 2016, the EU Commission presented a package of measures to combat tax evasion , including Nauru on the black list of tax havens .

State budget

The state budget in 2010 comprised expenditures equivalent to US $ 51.8 million , which was offset by revenues equivalent to US $ 57.8 million. This corresponds to a budget surplus of more than ten percent.


Early culture

Photograph of a house and a canoe on Nauru by Augustin Krämer , 1896

The early Naurus culture was based on the twelve tribes. There was no common head of all tribes. Each tribe had its own ancestry history. Each tribe was divided into several families, each of which had a special coat of arms-like identification. The members of the tribes were divided into four different classes called Temonibe, Emo, Amenengame and Engame; this was followed by two non- possessive classes, the Itsio and the Itiora. The class of the mother was always decisive for belonging to a class. Until the birth of a son who was in the same class as his mother, previously born daughters entered the same class, and the subsequent children belonged to the next following classes. Some Temonibe had rights over the reef and parts of the deep water and allowed fishing for a fee.

At that time, the settlements were already on the coast, only a few were at the Buada lagoon . The islanders lived in farmsteads consisting of two to three houses, several farmsteads joined together to form villages, some of which merged imperceptibly into one another. There were 168 villages in total. A number of villages formed a district, of which there were a total of 14. These former Gaue are today's districts .

Each homestead included a number of properties and, in some cases, ownership rights to the fish ponds in the Buada lagoon. Each property had a special name and could be given on a long lease . This personal possession was defined by landmarks and earth walls. Personal possessions also included equipment and tools, as well as jewelry , frigate birds , seagulls , dogs , pigs and palm trees , all of which had special identification tags on the outside.

Today's culture

The displacement of traditional culture by contemporary, western influences is very clearly visible on Nauru. Little of the old customs and traditions has been preserved. In place of the traditional music is popular music entered. In Radio Nauru to numerous recordings has collected of local folk music, which is not always understood even by the elderly.

The traditions of handicrafts have also been almost completely lost. Almost nothing traditional has survived in everyday life. The inhabitants wear the usual tropical clothing: shorts and light shirts. Most likely, fishing is practiced in the traditional way, sometimes with the help of trained frigate birds . As a national animal, these are under special protection in Nauru and are only kept for fishing and sometimes for the transmission of letters.

The little indigenous culture that remains is similar to that found on all the islands of Micronesia. Music and dance are among the most popular art forms. Rhythmic chants and traditional dance are performed on Aiue Boulevard , especially at festivals and on public holidays . Artisans use coconut fiber and the leaves of the screw tree to make clothes and fans, using geometric patterns that are similar to those of Indonesian culture. The wood of the coconut palm is also used to make handicrafts. The traditional carvings often decorate everyday objects such as bowls and food containers.

The ceremony of preparing and drinking kava is a traditional custom that was originally only allowed to be performed by men; today women are also allowed. The nightlife takes place mainly in restaurants and bars. The only cinema is in Aiwo.

The Naurus language is a mixture of the languages ​​of the neighboring islands. Nauruan is the national language , but English is widely understood and spoken, as is French . There is general compulsory schooling from six to sixteen years of age. Schools include Kayser College and Nauru College . For further university education, the Nauru people go abroad, mostly to Australia. The state radio broadcasts all day.


Press and radio

There is no daily newspaper on Nauru. The Nauru Bulletin was published as a weekly newspaper in Nauru and English and was published by the government. Central Star News and The Nauru Chronicle appeared every two weeks. However, both newspapers were shut down in 2014 due to financial problems. The only print publication that remains is the state magazine Mwinen Ko (meaning: let's talk about the topics ), which appears only monthly (for the first time in 2010) and is co-financed with funding from the Australian development organization Australian Aid . The Nauru Bulletin , which has been on the Internet since 2009, continues to appear twice a month as a newsletter.

The government maintains the Government Information Office , the state government information office and at the same time the successor to the former Nauru Broadcasting Service, since 2008 organizer of a radio program, a television program and since 2010 the magazine Mwinen Ko and the newsletter Nauru Bulletin . The former broadcaster began broadcasting Radio Nauru in 1968 and Nauru Television in 1991 . It will be broadcast in Nauruan with contributions in English.

Foreign journalists describe the population of Nauru as being very media-shy. The author Jenny Roller, who made a documentary about the islanders in 2013, complains that there is little reliable information about the island and that there is generally no media culture: “We actually didn't really know what to expect. […] They just don't know that, […] In this respect, we were dependent on approaching people because it was very rare that someone actively addressed us. "

Media freedom

Freedom House classified Nauru as free until 2013, since then as "partially free". Even state television is not free from control. In 2000, police confiscated a video from the general election. In 2013, the state broadcaster was censored at least twice, about a riot in the refugee camp and shortly afterwards when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd negotiated a new asylum seeker agreement with Australia and President David Adeang banned the media. He blocked interviews with opposition representatives, including Mathew Batsuia and former Foreign Minister Kieren Keke . There is no self-regulation for the press, no freedom of information law and defamation is a criminal offense.

Reports about the island abroad are also hampered. In 2001, Michael Field, a journalist for a French press agency, was denied entry when he tried to cover the annual Pacific Islands Forum . He previously reported regularly on Nauru's involvement in money laundering. Since the Guardian reported on conditions in the refugee camp, the government has been very effective in banning foreign journalists from the island, preventing the Australian public from knowing about the grievances in the camp. The journalist visa processing fee has been increased from $ 200 to $ 8,000, even if the visa is denied. The government formally justified the move with the intention of increasing income for the island; critics see it as an obstacle to freedom of the press.

Internet and telecommunications

There are two internet portals that provide information about the island. The Pacific Internet portal Loop, represented for the island at , provides up-to- date information on local topics, the Pacific region and globally in all relevant subject areas. Through a cooperation with the mobile operator Digicel, the portal can be used on Nauru and other islands without counting the data volume. The editorial part is supplemented by comment functions and blogs for texts and other user media, as well as classified ads. The portal is also available via mobile apps . is a government information portal through which official government information is disseminated. Both portals provide information only in English.

In addition to a post office, there is an internet café in the Aiwo district , operated by the island's only internet provider, CenpacNet . In 2008 there were 177 main phone lines per 1,000 people. At that time there was no cellular network on the island, only satellite telephones could be used. According to Internet World Stats, only six percent of the population had access to the Internet in 2013 due to the poorly developed infrastructure .


Sports and sports facilities on Nauru

Australian football is the national sport , followed by weightlifting , softball , basketball and tennis . Other sports practiced on Nauru include, to a lesser extent, cricket , golf , sailing , swimming, and soccer . The government supports weightlifting in particular, as this is the discipline that has achieved most international successes. In addition, Australian football and golf are still slightly supported. In the East End Club in Meneng there are some billiard tables for pool and snooker.

Australian football is of great importance to the population in Nauru. There are many youngsters to do, otherwise there are not many alternatives in their free time, and it allows thousands of people to participate, whether players or spectators. There are some Australian football teams that play in their own Nauruan league.

There are several sports fields in Nauru. The only stadium, the Linkbelt Oval, is in Aiwo , but it is outdated and does not meet international standards. A larger and more modern sports stadium in the Meneng district was planned, but was not completed due to lack of money. A larger stadium in Yaren and Boe was previously planned , the site of which had already been prepared. However, the decision was made for the location in Meneng because there were no space problems there. In addition to the Linkbelt Oval or Aida Oval in Aiwo, there is also the Denig Oval in Denigomodu .

Nauru at international sporting events

Nauru was and is nowhere more successful in sport than in weightlifting . The sensational win of a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1990 by the weightlifter Marcus Stephen initiated the establishment of the Nauruan National Olympic Committee . Weightlifter Reanna Solomon subsequently also won several medals at the Commonwealth Games.

In 1992, Marcus Stephen, at that time still for Samoa , started as the first Nauruer at the Olympic Games in Barcelona . Nauru has been officially represented at the Olympic Games since 1996. The official first athletes besides Stephen were his weightlifting colleagues Gerard Garabwan and Quincy Detenamo .

On October 2, 1994, a soccer game between Nauruan citizens and phosphate workers from the Solomon Islands took place in Denig Oval in Denigomodu , which won the Nauru selection 2-1.

In 1998 the World Weightlifting Federation ( IWF ) in Lahti decided to hold the 2001 World Championships in Nauru. This day has been dubbed “the greatest day in the history of our people” in Nauru. In the fight vote in Lahti, Nauru had pushed German competitor Riesa out of the field mainly because of his financial strength. The Nauru wanted to finance the spectacle along with the flight and stay of the sports officials. And for the first time in World Cup history, there should be money for the best: around 3330 euros per gold medal. However, these competitions were canceled at the last minute by Nauru due to the lack of funds. The venue was inevitably Antalya in Turkey .

Stephen competed for the third and final time at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney , with Sheeva Peo as the first woman to compete for Nauru. Weightlifters Yukio Peter , Itte Detenamo and Reanna Solomon were nominated for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens . Peter was able to win an Olympic diploma for Nauru for the first time . Itte Detenamo was the only Nauruan representative to take part in Beijing in 2008 and was 10th in weightlifting in its class. In addition to Itte Detenamo, the judoka Sled Dowabobo was part of the Nauruan team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London .

At the Commonwealth Games , Nauru was able to expand its successes after the first participation by Marcus Stephen in 1990. At all games since then, the island's athletes have won at least two medals - all in weightlifting. It could Nauru team will benefit from the fact that unlike not only a medal was awarded per weight class at the Olympics until 2002, but next to the duel and individual decisions in the sub-disciplines tearing (Snatch) and pushing gave (Clean and jerk). In 1994 in Victoria and in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur Marcus Stephen was able to win all three gold medals in his weight class, and in Manchester 2002 the Nauru team achieved a record of 15 medals, including two gold medals from Reanna Solomon. After only the duel has been evaluated since 2006, the weightlifters from Nauru each won two medals ( 2006 in Melbourne by Itte Detenamo and Sheba Deireragea ; 2010 in Delhi by Itte Detenamo and Yukio Peter).

public holidays

The official national holiday is Independence Day on January 31st, but Angam Day is another national holiday.

date Local name German translation Remarks
January 1st New Year's Day New Years Day
31 January Independence Day Independence day Anniversary of independence in 1968
March April Easter Easter
17th of May Constitution Day Constitution Day Anniversary of the Nauruan Constitution of 1968
October 26th Angam Day Homecoming Day Anniversary of reaching 1500 inhabitants for the first time
25./26. December Christmas Christmas

See also

Portal: Nauru  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the topic of Nauru


  • Paul Hambruch : Nauru. Results of the South Seas Expedition, 1908–1910. Part 2: Ethnography: B. Micronesia, Vol. 1: 1–2 . Friedrichsen, Hamburg 1914–1915 ( Online Volume 1 , Volume 2 )
  • Wilhelm Fabricius : Nauru 1888-1900. Shown on the basis of files from the colonial department of the Foreign Office from the holdings of the German Central Archives in Potsdam. Translated and edited by Dymphna Clark and Stewart Firth, published by: Division of Pacific and Asian History, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, Canberra 1992, ISBN 0-7315-1367-3 (PDF) .
  • Ferdinand Karl, Hermann Mückler : Oases of the South Seas. The largest "smallest states" in the world. Eastern Micronesia: Marshall Islands, Gilbert Islands, Nauru. Weishaupt, Gnas 2002, ISBN 3-7059-0121-4 .
  • KE Kretzschmar: Nauru on October 2, 1913. Festschrift. Printing house of the Evangelical Mission, Nauru 1913.
  • Luc Folliet: Nauru - the devastated island. How capitalism destroyed the richest country on earth. Klaus Wagenbach, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-8031-2654-2 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Nauru  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Nauru  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Nauru  travel guide
Wikimedia Atlas: Nauru  - geographical and historical maps


Individual evidence

  1. ^ ORF (Vienna): Lionel Aingimea elected as the new President of Nauru , August 27, 2019
  2. a b Population density , in: Republic of Nauru: National Report on Population and Housing: Census 2011 (PDF; 6.7 MB), Secretariat of the Pacific Community, page 11. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  3. Figure 1: Total population size, Nauru: 1921–2011 , in: Republic of Nauru: National Report on Population and Housing: Census 2011 (PDF; 6.7 MB), Secretariat of the Pacific Community, page 7. Retrieved on 3 July 2016.
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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 13, 2018 .

Coordinates: 0 ° 31 ′ 41 ″  S , 166 ° 56 ′ 13 ″  E