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Belu'uera Belau ( Palauian )
Republic of Palau (English)
Republic of Palau
Flag of Palau
Seal of Palau
flag seal
Motto : Rainbow's End
( Engl. , "End of the rainbow")
Official language Palaui and English
Japanese and Angaur in Angaur , Sonsorolese in the Sonsorol Islands and Tobian in Tobi
Capital Ngerulmud
Form of government republic
Head of state , also head of government President Tommy Remengesau
surface 459 km²
population 17,661 (2015 census)
Population density 38.7 inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 0.39% (2016)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
Human Development Index   0.788 ( 60th ) (2016)
currency US dollar (USD)
independence October 1, 1994
(by the USA or the UN Trust Council )
National anthem Belau loba klisiich he a kelulul
Time zone UTC + 9
License Plate PAL
ISO 3166 PW , PLW, 585
Internet TLD .pw
Telephone code +680
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Palau ([ ˈpaːla͜u ], officially the Republic of Palau , pal .: Belau ) is an island state in the Pacific Ocean . The state's around 17,700 inhabitants (as of 2015) populate eleven of the state's 356 islands. The capital is Ngerulmud on the island of Babeldaob ; The official languages ​​are Palaui and English . Until independence on October 1, 1994, Palau was a UN trust territory under administration by the United States . To date, the state has with the United States associated and strongly influenced by the former colonial power; Palau is a presidential republic based on the American model with sixteen states as administrative units.


The South Sea state, which is part of the Pacific island region of Micronesia , includes the Palau Islands , which are formed from the western archipelago of the Carolines and are located north of New Guinea , as well as some remote islands in the southwest (called the Southwest Islands ). The six archipelagos of the Palau Islands consist of 356 islands, the largest of which is by far Babelthuap with 396 km² . Only eleven of the islands are inhabited.

Originally, today's islands were a coral reef that was lifted out of the water by continental movements . Most of the islands are atolls made of coral limestone, which are only a few meters above sea level and are enclosed by a barrier reef.

The former capital Koror is located on the island of the same name Koror , which covers only 11 km². In 2006, the new capital Ngerulmud was built in the east of the main island of Babelthuap .


The climate is tropical . The average annual temperature is 27 ° C, the amount of precipitation per year is 3000 to 4000 mm.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Palau
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 30.6 30.6 30.9 31.3 31.4 31.0 30.6 30.7 30.9 31.1 31.4 31.1 O 31
Min. Temperature (° C) 23.9 23.9 24.1 24.4 24.5 24.2 24.1 24.3 24.5 24.4 24.4 24.2 O 24.2
Temperature (° C) 27.3 27.2 27.5 27.9 28.0 27.6 27.4 27.5 27.7 27.7 27.9 27.7 O 27.6
Precipitation ( mm ) 271.8 231.6 208.3 220.2 304.5 438.7 458.2 379.7 301.2 352.3 287.5 304.3 Σ 3,758.3
Rainy days ( d ) 19.0 15.9 16.7 14.8 20.0 21.9 21.0 19.8 16.8 20.1 18.7 19.9 Σ 224.6
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


The base of many islands was hollowed out, mainly by the tides , creating today's typical mushroom shape. Many islands are under nature protection, which prohibits building and on some islands entry.

The underwater world of the region counts over 1500 fish and 700 coral and anemone species . In Palau there are rare and endangered species such as dugongs , giant clams, and saltwater crocodiles and rarities; For example, in the “Jellyfishlake” Mastigias jellyfish have developed into a non-toxic subspecies in isolation.

There are 142 species of birds in Palau, 16 of which are endemic, including the Palau owl , the Palau ground pigeon and the Palau fan tail , as well as two endemic bat species ( fruit bat ). Of the approximately 1260 plant species, 109 are endemic, including wild orchids and the cicada palm .

In September 2003, then President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. signed a bill to protect sharks in the waters around Palau, creating the world's first shark sanctuary.

Due to the precarious location of Palau at only a few meters above sea level, its President Johnson Toribiong called on the UN General Assembly on September 22nd, 2011, that it obtain a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice in The Hague on the question of the responsibility of states for the consequences of ongoing climate change. A year later, there was discussion about whether the General Assembly should do this, and there was much to suggest that Palau's initiative could be successful.


The first inhabitants of Palau probably came from the Malay Archipelago or Melanesia and settled the islands between 2000 and 1000 BC. The Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos first sighted the islands in 1543 and took them over for Spain . In 1574 Palau was incorporated into the General Government of the Spanish East Indies , which later became the Viceroyalty of New Spain . In the late 19th century, the Spaniards colonized the islands and, after their defeat in the Spanish-American War , sold them together with most of the remaining Carolines in accordance with the German-Spanish Treaty of 1899 as part of German New Guinea to the German Empire . On August 15, 1914, Japan declared war on the German Reich, occupied the islands and later received them as a mandate of the League of Nations .

After the sometimes heavy fighting between the USA and Japan during the Second World War (→ Battle of the Palau Islands ), the islands came under the control of the United States in 1947 as a district of the UN Trust Area Pacific Islands. Active and passive women's suffrage was introduced on April 2, 1979, and confirmed upon independence in 1994.

In 1978, the citizens of Palau voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia, which was formed in 1979, and for independence. The chief of Koror Ibedul Gibbons fought for years for the right of his people to constitutionally prohibit the US as a protectorate power from stationing nuclear weapons . In 1983 the people of Palau received the Right Livelihood Award for asserting their democratic and sovereign rights to a nuclear weapon-free zone .

After a long transition period and the death of two presidents ( Haruo Remeliik was murdered in 1985; Lazarus Salii committed suicide in 1988), Palau officially became independent on October 1, 1994. The government had previously signed an association agreement with the US under pressure from the US . The passage about Palau as a nuclear weapon-free zone was deleted from the constitution. The United States remained responsible for the republic's defense and foreign policy. In return, the US pledged to invest approximately $ 480 million in the islands' economy over the next 15 years. In December 1994 Palau was admitted to the United Nations.

The then President Johnson Toribiong announced on June 10, 2009 that Palau was ready to accept 17 Uyghurs from the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base , whose extradition China had requested. In this context he spoke of a “humanitarian gesture”. At the end of 2009, 6 Uyghurs were finally admitted to Palau.

Palau does not officially recognize the People's Republic of China , but has maintained diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) since 1999 .



year population
1950 7,441
1960 9,642
1970 11,480
1980 12,194
1990 15,088
2000 19,129
2010 17,457
2015 17,661

Source: UN

Ethnic groups

The Palau - these are Micronesians with Malay and Melanesian mixtures - are titular nation and form the largest ethnic group with a share of 72.9% percent (as of 2015). Furthermore, 21.6 percent of the population is Asians; 2 percent are Carolinians and 1.2 percent are of European origin.


Palauian and English are the official languages ​​in Palau. Japanese , Tobian and Sonsorolese are also used as lingua franca .

Palaui, which has official status on most of the islands, is spoken by 77% of the population. English is spoken by almost 32 percent of the population. 11.7 percent speak Filipino , while 1.4% of the population speak Chinese . Carolinian is spoken by only 0.07% of the population.


According to the 2015 census, the population is primarily committed to Christianity : 45.3% Catholics , 26.4% Protestants and 6.9% Seventh-day Adventists . Modekngei , a syncretistic religion of Palau, is represented with 5.7%.



There is a strong identification with the traditional culture, and there is a noticeable close connection between humans and the sea . There was no written language until the late 19th century, so stories, legends and knowledge were passed down orally. Today this custom is still practiced by telling stories and stories at the end of the day by the fire. Women have a strong position in the matrilineal , traditional society.

Up until the 20th century, tattoos were a central component of culture and society in Palau and an indicator of the status and wealth of the wearer.

Palau became known in Germany through the pictures of Max Pechstein , which he depicted especially in art portraits after his trip to the South Seas in 1913/14.


There is a secondary school in Koror where a college degree can be obtained on the American model. Any further education requires leaving the country, mostly to the United States of America , where Palau residents enjoy unrestricted freedom of establishment.


The Republic of Palau is a presidential republic based on the American model and is divided into sixteen administrative units ("states").

The legislature of the Republic of Palau is the parliament called Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK), which means “House of Discussed Decisions”. It is a bicameral parliament and is directly elected by the people for four years. The House of Representatives consists of sixteen delegates, one for each administrative unit of Palau, while the Senate consists of nine senators who are elected according to the population of the individual member states.

The executive branch of the Republic of Palau consists of a president, a vice-president and the 16-member council of chiefs. These have the administration ministers to support them in their tasks. The chief council is formed from the chiefs of the sixteen administrative units. This body advises the President on customs related to the constitution and laws. The chiefs of Eoueldaob ( Koror ) and Babeldaob (Melekeok) have a traditionally prominent position.

The president is elected for a term of four years; after two consecutive terms in office, an incumbent must pause for one term before running again. In the election period 2017-2021 is Tommy Remengesau the President of Palau, there is already a fourth term.

See also: List of Presidents of Palau

The judiciary currently consists of a court of first instance, a national court and a supreme court, which also functions as an appellate court and constitutional court.

Since October 7, 2006 the capital is Ngerulmud . Before that, Koror , the country's largest city, had been the capital since independence in 1994. The reallocation was done with a view to a better distribution of political power in the individual states.


Palau is divided into 16 administrative "states" (i.e. administrative units):

Administrative division of Palau
Country flag Capital Area km²
(without lagoon)
North of Babeldaob
Kayangel Flag of Kayangel State.png Kayangel 1.41 54  
Aimeliik Flag of Aimeliik.svg Mongami 52 334  
Airai Flag of Airai State.png Airai (Ordomel) 44 2455  
Melekeok Flag of Melekeok.png Melekeok 28 277  
Ngaraard Flag of Ngaraard State.svg Ulimang 36 413  
Ngarchelong Flag of Ngarchelong.svg Lot long 10 316  
Ngardmau Flag of Ngardmau State.png Urdmang 47 185  
Ngatpang Flag of Ngatpang State.png Ngatpang (Nekkeng) 47 282  
Ngchesar Flag of Ngchesar State.png Ngchesar 41 291  
Ngeremlengui Flag of Ngeremlengui State.png Imeong 65 350  
Ngiwal Flag of Ngiwal State.png Ngercheluuk 26th 282  
Southwest of Babeldaob
Angaur Flag of Angaur State.svg Ngaramash 8th 119  
Koror Flag of Koror State.png Koror 65 11,444  
Peleliu Flag of Peleliu State.png Kloulklubed 13 484  
Southwest Islands
Hatohobei Flag of Hatohobei.svg Hatohobei (Tobi) 3 25  
Sonsorol Flag of Sonsorol.svg Dongosaru 3 40  
Palau Flag of Palau.svg Ngerulmud 491 17,661  


Palau courts still recognize the so-called "Krämer" volumes of the Hamburg South Sea Expedition (1908–1910) by the German marine doctor , anthropologist and ethnologist Augustin Krämer (1864–1941) as the only authentic source in land and tribal disputes . The records contained in five volumes are, in the absence of their own or other written records, the codified memory of the Palauan culture and identity threatened by the modern way of life. The German embassy sponsored an English translation of these records (Krämer Translation Project) with the participation of the Etpison Museum and the Belau National Museum , and the German ambassador presented the first volumes to the President in May 2014.



The dominant economic influence comes from overseas remittances from Palau residents working in the United States. Immigrating to and working in the United States is very easy for citizens of Palau. Businesses such as tourism companies are often run by Japanese and American investors. Palau has a high percentage of Filipinos who work primarily in tourism. Virtually all motor vehicles are imported from Japan as used cars. The economy is concentrated in Koror - the location of the new capital Ngerulmud still plays practically no role (as of 2008).

The country's only port is on Malakal , the international airport on Babelthuap . Agriculture is the most common form of economy on Palau and is mainly self-sufficient; the most important crops are manioc , coconuts, bananas and sweet potatoes . Natural resources are copra and fish .

The gross domestic product is over 178.4 million US dollars, per capita it is 8,941 US dollars. With foreign aid over US $ 200 million, per capita it is US $ 10,000. The industry accounts for 21%, public administration with 20%, construction activity with 15%, hotels and restaurants with 10% and the financial sector as well as transport and communication with 8%. (As of 2009)

The inflation rate of Palau is, according to the World Bank in 2010 2% a year. Household income in 2008 was $ 114.8 million and budget expenditure was $ 99.5 million.

In 2005 a total of 11,671 people were employed on Palau, 426 people were unemployed. The unemployment rate in 2015 was only 1.5%.

In 2015, Palau had the second highest economic growth in the world after Ethiopia with 9.38% .

Foreign trade

The export volume is approx. 5.9 million US dollars (as of 2004). The most important trading partners are the USA , Japan , Singapore , Taiwan and Korea . The main export goods are tuna , copra , shellfish , clothing, handicrafts and coconuts . The import volume is approx. 129.5 million US dollars (as of 2008). The main trading partners are the USA , Guam , Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea. The most important import goods are machines, oil, tobacco, animals, metal as well as food and spirits.

State budget

The state budget in 2008 comprised expenditures of 99.5 million US dollars, which were set against income of 114.8 million US dollars. This results in a budget surplus of 9.3% of GDP .

The national debt in 2004 was around 18 million (2006: 38 million) US dollars or around 13% of GDP.

In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:

Transport and tourism

Air traffic

The international airport has connections with Asiana Airlines to Seoul and Osaka , with Korean Air to Seoul, with China Airlines to Taipei and seasonal charter flights with Japan Airlines to Tokyo and Nagoya . Koror is also connected to the United Airlines hub in Guam , which provides connections to the region to Manila and Yap as well as intercontinental connections to North America and Europe. The Republic of Palau does not have its own airline. Air connections between the larger islands of Palau are operated by private charter organizations with small planes.


Shipping and ferry connections are essential. On the islands, the car, the moped and the ox cart are the main modes of transport in small parts.


Tourism in Palau is not yet very commercial. Most of the approximately 100,000 (as of 2011) tourists per year come from the USA, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. There are only smaller bungalow and apartment complexes and smaller hotels in Koror and on other islands. Diving and snorkeling are often used by tourists as sports opportunities in Palau. The diving magazine Forbes Traveler selected the Blue Corner in Palau as the “best diving area in the world”. Because of the currents , especially on the outer reef , diving in Palau requires advanced diving skills.

Legal holidays

January 1st New Year
March, 15 Youth day
5th of May Elderly Citizens Day
June 1st Presidents' Day
June 9th Constitution Day
first Monday in September Labor Day
October 1 independence Day
October 24th United Nations Day
last Thursday in November Thanksgiving
25 December Christmas


  • G. Deichman, K. Davidson, E. Daniels: Micronesia Palau, Dive Sites, History & Culture . Dream Time, Manila, Philippines 2007, ISBN 978-971-0490-00-4 .
  • Claudia Lauterbach: About women, power balance and modernization. The slightly different gender ratio on the Pacific island of Palau . In: Series Gender and Society . tape 27 . Leske & Budrich, Opladen 2001.
  • Arnold H. Leibowitz: Embattled Island. Palau's Struggle for Independence . Praeger, Westport / London 1996.
  • Hisashi Endo (Ed.): Collective Works of Hijikata Hisakatsu: Society and Life in Palau . tape 1 . The Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Tokyo 1993.
  • Hisashi Endo (Ed.): Collective Works of Hijikata Hisakatsu: Gods and Religion of Palau . tape 2 . The Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Tokyo 1995.
  • Sue Rabbitt Roff: Overreaching in Paradise. United States Policy in Palau since 1945 . The Denali Press, Juneau 1991.
  • Augustin Krämer: Palau . 5 volumes. Results of the South Sea Expedition 1908–1910 , Ed. G. Thilenius, II. Ethnography: B Micronesien , Hamburg 1917–1929: Friederichsen, de Gruyter. Available as a reprint from Fines Mundi, Saarbrücken
  • Karl Semper: On the Palau Islands. A South Seas idyll . In: Paths to Knowledge . tape 29 . Ullstein, Berlin.
  • George Keate : News from the Pelev Islands in the western part of the Pacific. From the diaries and verbal messages of Captain Heinrich Wilson and some officers who worked with him in August 1783 in the "Antelope", a mail ship of the English East Indian company ... Translated from the English v. Georg Forster . Süddeutsche Zeitung , Anna-Amalia-Bibliothek , Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-86615-413-1 (first: Benjamin Gottlob Hoffmann, Hamburg 1788. Series: Modern History of Sea and Land Travel, 1; again: VEB Brockhaus Leipzig , 1977; again 1981; again: new ed., Edited & with afterword by Jean Villain. BS-Verlag, Rostock 2003, ISBN 3-89954-024-7 )
  • The shipwreck of the "Antelope". News from the Pelev Islands in the western region of the Pacific. Selected sections based on the original from 1789. With an introduction. by RH Francé. Series: Nature Library No. 40/41. Thomas Verlag, Leipzig undated (around 1915)

See also

Portal: Palau  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of Palau

Web links

Commons : Palau  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Palau  - geographical and historical maps
Wiktionary: Palau  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. World Statistics Pocketbook 2011, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division, United Nations, New York, 2012, ISBN 978-92-1-161558-6 , p. 151.
  2. a b c d e 2015 Census of Population, Housing and Agriculture for the Republic of Palau. Office of Planning and Statistics, 2017.
  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. UNDP ( United Nations Development Program )
  6. ^ Climatological Information for Palau Islands, Pacific Islands, United States . Hong Kong Observatory. Period 1961–1990, accessed on December 16, 2013 (English).
  7. ^ Palau Conservation Society ( Memento of February 4, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Palau Marine Resources Profile (PDF file; 3.6 MB)
  9. ^ Avibase - The world bird database
  10. The Republic of Palau Statewide Assessment of Forest Resources and Resource Strategy A comprehensive analysis of forest-related conditions, trends, threats and opportunities, June 2010 ( Memento of September 9, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file; 2.4 MB )
  11. JA Donnegan, SL Butler, O. Kuegler, BJ Stroud, BA Hiserote, K. Rengulbai, Palau's Forest Resources, 2003 (PDF file; 1.3 MB)
  12. Palau Shark Sanctuary
  13. Micronesian Shark Foundation Palau
  14. Andreas Zimmermann , Jelena Bäumler : Who is to blame? In: FAZ , June 28, 2012, No. 148, p. 8.
  15. ^ Geoffrey Clark, Atholl Anderson, Duncan Wright: Human Colonization of the Palau Islands, Western Micronesia . In: Journal of Island & Coastal Archeology . 1, No. 1, 2006, pp. 215-232.
  16. - New Parline: the IPU's Open Data Platform (beta). In: April 2, 1979, accessed October 5, 2018 .
  17. ^ Mart Martin: The Almanac of Women and Minorities in World Politics. Westview Press Boulder, Colorado, 2000, p. 297.
  18. Dietrich Köster: 1565–1994 Micronesia - Forgotten Island World in the Pacific ( Memento of February 3, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (Dutch Portuguese Colonial History).
  19. ^ The Myth of the $ 12 Million Uighur
  20. WORLD: Pacific Ocean: Ex-Guantanamo prisoner disappeared from island . In: THE WORLD . February 14, 2013 ( [accessed on May 23, 2020]).
  22. World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 2, 2018 .
  23. ^ A b Palau: cultural and educational policy . In: Federal Foreign Office website , as of October 2011. Accessed on March 21, 2012.
  24. ^ Peter Probst: The Decorated Body, Museum Education Visitor Service, Berlin: Museum für Völkerkunde, 1992.
  25. ^ Palau Administration
  26. ^ The Constitution of the Republic of Palau. Retrieved May 23, 2020 (English).
  27. ^ Federal Foreign Office: Relations between Palau and Germany , accessed on November 28, 2014.
  28. Krämer Translation Project ( Memento of February 3, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) The volumes are available for download from the Belau National Museum website. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  29. ^ Kramer Translation Project on the Etpison Museum website. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  30. a b c d U.S. Department of State, Background Note: Palau .
  31. Inflation, GDP deflator (annual%) .
  32. Palau Economy Profile 2012 .
  33. Labor Market Statistics ( Memento of January 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  34. ^ The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed August 6, 2018 .
  35. Statista: The 20 countries with the greatest growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015 (compared to the previous year)
  36. a b c CIA World Fact Book: Palau
  37. ^ IMF : Executive Board Consultation with the Republic of Palau .
  38. ^ The Fischer World Almanac 2010: Figures Data Facts, Fischer, Frankfurt, September 8, 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-72910-4 .
  39. Top ten diving areas: Wonders of the world with depth. In: Spiegel Online . August 10, 2007, accessed January 6, 2017 .

Coordinates: 7 °  N , 135 °  E