Nauru - Country history and economic development

1798. British whaler Captain John Fearn is the first European to visit Nauru and names it "Pleasant Island."

1888. Nauru annexed by Germany.

1899. Phosphate deposits discovered.

1906. Phosphate mining started by a British-Australian company.

1914. Nauru occupied by Australia after World War I begins.

1920. Australia begins administration of Nauru on behalf of the 3 trustees: Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain.

1941. Nauru's industrial plant and housing facilities are completely destroyed by Japanese bombings.

1942. Nauru occupied by Japanese forces until 1945.

1951. A local government council set up to handle local affairs.

1968. Nauru achieves independence.

1994. Australia agrees to out-of-court settlement of US$73 million for environmental damage caused by phosphate mining during the Australian administration of the island.

1998. Russian mafia transfers an estimated US$70 billion to Nauru banks to evade taxes.

1999. Nauru bows to international pressures to control its banking industry; Nauru admitted as a member of the United Nations.

1999. Nauru government borrows US$100 million from General Electric Corporation; trust fund assets used as collateral.

2000. Fiji government seizes the Nauru-owned Grand Hotel in Fiji on the grounds that the Nauru government failed to develop the property as agreed.

2001. Nauru agrees to process more than 300 refugee "boat people" (mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan) originally bound for Australia. Australian government agrees to give Nauru US$10 million and pay all costs of housing and feeding refugees. A refugee camp is built in the center of the island.

2001. Australia grounds Air Nauru's 2 Boeing 737 aircraft, claiming that the airline did not have sound management and that the Nauru airport was unsafe.

2001. Bank of Nauru closes because of lack of cash. Economists warn that the value of the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust Fund may be approaching zero.

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