Palau History and Economy

By | December 14, 2021

Palau is a group of islands located in the Pacific Ocean, they belong to Oceania and have about 22,000 residents. They are about 500 km east of the Philippines and became independent from the United States in 1994. Palau comprehensive information can be found on simplyyellowpages.


The early history of the Palau (Belau) is largely veiled in mystery. Why, how and when people came to these beautiful islands is unknown, but some studies indicate that they are distant relatives of the Malays from Indonesia, Melanesians from New Guinea and the Polynesians. As for the date of their arrival, dating of remains of the oldest known, villages on the rock islands and the spectacular terraces on the Babeldaob civilization are calculated from the beginning of the 11th century.

First explorers

The first explorer to see the islands was the Spanish Ruy López de Villalobos in 1543 who took possession of them on behalf of Spain. After the conquest of the Philippines in 1565, the islands became part of the territory of the Captaincy General of the Philippines, created in 1574, dependent on the viceroyalty of New Spain (based in Mexico), but the evangelization of the archipelago did not begin until 1710 in charge of the missionary Padilla. However, European attempts to settle or trade with the islands did not begin until the 18th century, by the British.

The first contact was made in 1783 when the Antelope ship, under the command of the English captain Henry Wilson, was wrecked on a reef near Ulong, an islet located between Koror and Peleliu. With the assistance of High Chief Ibedul of Koror, Wilson and his men stayed for three months to rebuild their ship. Since then, many foreign explorers came to Palau and the islands were exposed to more contact with Europeans.

Spanish government

The Government of the islands officially began when Pope Leo XIII signed Spain’s rights to the Caroline Islands in 1885. Two churches were built and maintained by two Capuchin priests and two brothers, resulting in the introduction of the Latin alphabet and the elimination of inter-village wars. In 1899, after the defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain sold the Carolinas to Germany, which established an organized program to exploit the natural resources of the islands.

Japanese government

After the defeat of Germany in World War I, the islands formally passed the Japanese in the framework of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. The Japanese influence on the Palau culture was immense, the economy shifting from a subsistence level to a market economy and clan ownership to individuals. In 1922, Koror became the administrative center for all Japanese possessions in the South Pacific. The city of Koror was a stylish metropolis of factories, shops, public baths, restaurants and pharmacies.

In the autumn of 1944 the islands witnessed the Battle of Peleliu, between the forces of the Empire of Japan and the United States, the victory of the latter ended the Japanese mandate over the archipelago.

American Administration

Following the defeat of Japan in World War II, the Carolinas, Mariana Islands and Marshall Islands became United Nations Trust Territories under the US administration, they were named as one of the six districts of the island of Palau. As part of its mandate, the United States improved the infrastructure and education system to make it a self-sufficient nation.


The Palauans voted in 1979 not to join the Federated States of Micronesia, and elected independence in 1981, with Haruo I. Remeliik as their first president. After a long period of transition, including the violent deaths of two presidents (Haruo Remeliik in 1985 for murder and Lazarus Salii in 1988 for suicide), independence was officially declared in 1994, after the signing of the Treaty of Free Association with the United States. having as president Kuniwo Nakamura, in that year the nation is accepted in the UN.

In 2003 Palau signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The 7 of October of 2006 the national government moved from the former capital Koror to the new, Ngerulmud, a town located 20 km to the northwest in Babeldaob and 2 km to the northwest of the town of Melekeok itself. To this end, he built a group of government buildings, among which the Capitol stands out, at a cost of 23 million dollars.


The economy consists mainly of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. The government is the main employer of the workforce, relying heavily on financial aid from the United States. Business visits and tourism reached 50,000 in the financial year 2000 / 2001. The population enjoys a per capita income twice that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-term key proposals for the tourism sector have been highly encouraged by the expansion of air transport in the Pacific, the growing prosperity of the leading East Asian countries, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development.

In July 2004, Micronesia Air was launched with services from Palau to Yap, Guam, Micronesia, Saipan, Australia, and the Philippines.

Palau History