Palau - Country history and economic development



1000 B.C. Migration to Palau Islands from other Pacific Ocean islands begins.

1525. Spanish navigator Alonso de Salasar is first European to sight the archipelago of the Caroline Islands, of which present-day Palau is a part.

1529. Alvaaro de Saavedra lands on the Caroline Islands, and claims them for Spain.

1783. British vessel, under Captain Henry Wilson is shipwrecked near Koror, and the crew stays 3 months rebuilding the ship.

1885. Pope Leo XIII, acting as a European mediator, confirms Spanish dominion over the Caroline Islands, while also allocating Germany trading rights.

1899. Spain sells islands to Germany, who begin phosphate mining in Anguar, plant coconuts and begin to reduce the impact of influenza and dysentery which were causing widespread loss of life.

1914. With the outbreak of World War I, Japan assumes control of the islands.

1920. Japan receives a UN mandate to administer the islands, establish schools and land property rights, and develop Koror.

1922. Japan establishes administration of all of its Micronesian territories from Koror.

1944. After fierce fighting between Japanese and American forces, the United States occupies the islands.

1945. Japanese settlers are repatriated .

1947. UN assigns the Caroline Islands, as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Ocean, to the United States. The U.S. Navy undertakes day-to-day administration.

1965. Congress of Micronesia formed by delegates from Pacific islands to press for independence.

1967. Commission established to make recommendations on the future government of the islands of Micronesia.

1970. Commission confirms that the peoples of Micronesia have a right to sovereignty, self-rule, and to terminate association with the United States.

1979. Referendum in Palau District approves constitution, which forbids presence of nuclear weapons, including those on visiting vessels.

1981. Constitution comes into effect, and the islands become the Republic of Palau, although not independent of the United States. Haruo Remeliik becomes first president.

1982. The United States signs Compact of Free Association which will allow an independent Palau to rely on the United States for defense and to receive U.S. aid.

1983. Referendum in Palau fails to endorse Compact of Free Association (which allows transit and storage of nuclear materials) by requisite 75 percent of votes cast.

1984. Referendum again fails to endorse Compact.

1985. President Remeliik assassinated. Lazarus Salii elected to succeed Remeliik.

1986. Despite the United States agreeing to observe ban on nuclear material, Compact again fails to be endorsed in 2 successive referenda.

1987. Fifth referendum on Compact fails. President suspends 70 percent of public sector employees on the grounds of financial crisis. Further referendum approves change in constitution to require only simple majority for the endorsement of the Compact. In December, Compact is approved by referendum on a simple majority.

1988. Supreme Court rules against approval of Compact by a simple majority. President Salii, under investigation for corruption by U.S. General Accounting Office, commits suicide. Ngiratkel Etpison elected president.

1990. Seventh referendum again fails to approve Compact by required 75 percent.

1992. Kuniwo Nakamura wins presidential election. Second referendum to allow simple majority for endorsement of Compact is approved by 62 percent of voters. Challenge to decision in courts is unsuccessful.

1993. Eighth referendum on the Compact is endorsed by 68 percent of voters, but the decision is challenged in the courts.

1994. Court challenges fail. Palau finally becomes independent on October 1, under the terms of the Compact of Free Association.

1996. During presidential election, bridge between the islands of Koror and Babeldoab collapses, killing 2. Nakamura re-elected president.

1997. Legal settlement for collapse of bridge between Koror and Babeldoab with payment of $13.8 million to Palau. New bridge approved at cost of $3.8 million.

1999. Palau is subject to an international banking transactions ban as a result of practices thought to facilitate money laundering.

2000. Tommy Remengesau elected president. New $100 million road around the island of Babeldoab is announced which will allow capital to be moved to Melekeok.

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