Title: The Republic of Palau

Population: 21,613

Population Change: 0.48

National Average Age:

Urban Percentage:

Christian Population: 16,000

Christian Percentage: 77.9

Introduction: Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. Koror Island is home to the former capital also named Koror and is the islands’ commercial center. The larger Babeldaob has the present capital Ngerulmud plus mountains and sandy beaches on its east coast. In its north ancient basalt monoliths known as Badrulchau lie in grassy fields surrounded by palm trees.

Overview: After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986 but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year when the islands gained independence.