General Information


Facts of Palau

      Palau, the pearl of the west pacific, has enchanted many underwater adventurer. Nestled in the archipelago of Caroline Islands, it boast one of the richest most diverse ecosystems on Earth. To each who visit, Palau is personal, leaving lasting impressions and profound expriences with her guests.


Geographical and Geological Description

      7° 30' North Latitude, 133° 30' East Longitude. Palau (sometimes spelled Belau or Pelew), officially the Republic of Palau (Palauan: Beluu er a Belau), is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. Geographically part of the larger island group of Micronesia, forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands. The islands share maritime boundaries with Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

      The Palau Archipelago consists of over 200 islands that are generally uninhabited, like the Rock Islands. The nine inhabited are Koror, Babeldaob, Peleliu, Angaur, Kayangel, plus islands of Sonsorol, Puluana, Tobi and Helen's Reef. 

      Geologically varying terrain from the high, mountainous main island of Babeldaob to low, coral, limestone islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs. Mount Ngerchelchuus (242m) is Palau's highest point, located on the island of Babeldaob. 

      Palau is one of the world's smallest and youngest nations. The total land area is 459 sq km. But what it lacks in land, Palau makes up for in water. Its territorial waters span more than 600,000 sq km - an area about the size of France.


Palau National Anthem

      The Palau National Anthem "Belau re Kid" should be sang at the opening of every official ceremony, with the right hand crossed over one's heart while standing at attention facing the Palau National Flag.


History of Palau

      Palau's early history is still largely veiled in mystery. Why, how or when people arrived on our beautiful islands is unknown, but studies indicate that today's Palauans are distant relatives of the Malays of Indonesia, Melanesians of New Guinea and Polynesians. As for the date of their arrivals, carbon dating of artifacts from the oldest known village sites on the Rock Islands and the spectacular terraces on Babeldaob place civilization here as early as 1,000 BC.

      The most noteworthy first foreign contact took place in 1783 when the vessel Antelope, under the command of English Captain Henry Wilson, was shipwrecked on a reef near Ulong, a Rock Island located between Koror and Peleliu. With the assistance of Koror's High Chief Ibedul, Wilson and his men stayed for three months to rebuild his ship. Palau's Prince Lee Boo later went to England with Captain Wilson, where he fell to smallpox six months after their arrival and is burried at St. Mary's Rotherhihte.

      From that time onward, many foreign explorers called on Palau, and the islands were exposed to further European contact. Foreign governance of our islands officially began when Pope Leo XIII asserted Spain's rights over the Caroline Islands in 1885. Two churches were established and maintained by two Capuchin priests and two brothers, resulting in the introduction of the Roman alphabet and the elimination of inter-village wars. In 1899, Spain sold the Carolines to Germany, which established an organized program to exploit the islands' natural resources.

      Following Germany's defeat in WWI, the islands were formally passed to the Japanese under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. The Japanese influence on the Palauan culture was immense as it shifted the economy from a level of subsistence to a market economy and property ownership from the clan to individuals. In 1922, Koror became the administrative center for all Japanese possessions in the South Pacific. The town of Koror was a stylish metropolis with factories, shops, public baths, restaurants and pharmacies.

      Following Japan's defeat in WWII, the Carolines, Marianas and Marshall Islands became United Nations Trust Territories under U.S. administration, with Palau being named as one of six island districts. As part of its mandate, the U.S. was to improve Palau's infrastructure and educational system in order for it to become a self-sufficient nation. This finally came about on October 1, 1994, when Palau gained its independence upon the signing of the Compact of Free Association with the United States                                                                                                                             

Flag Description

    The flag of the Republic of Palau is easily identified with a golden yellow full moon slightly off-centered on a field of sky blue. 

                                                                                 The Palau National Flag                                                                                  

State Flags

      The flags of the 16 states exhibit each state's history as well as variety of different styles and design principals. Most of the state flags were designed and adopted by each state and should follow the flag etiquette described in the above section. The following, in alphabetical order, is the order of the state flags that should be followed when state flags are displayed in any event. 



The Official Seals

      The Official Seal of the Executive Branch, the Official Seal of the Legislative Branch, and the Official Seal of the Judiciary Branch are displayed and used by each respective branch for their own purposes; no person or office may utilize each seal without the express approval of each branch. The Seal of the President should always be displayed on the front of the podium when the President speaks from that podium. 


                       Seal of the Executive Branch        Seal of the Legislative Branch           Seal of the Judiciary Branch


Executive Branch

The Executive Branch consist of the government of Palau consists of the President, Vice-President, and the Council of Chiefs. Assisting the top executives are the cabinet ministers and their supporting staff. The Vice President serves as one of the ministers.


Legislative Branch

The Republic of Palau's National Congress is known as the Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK), which means "House of Whispered Decisions." The Congress consist of two houses which sit for four-year terms. The House of Delegates has 16 members, one from each state. The Senate has 9 members selected in a nationwide election. 


Judiciary Branch

The Judiciary applies laws of the Republic of Palau and administers justice when deciding disputes. It strives to provide high quality customer service and improve workforce conditions. The Judiciary also seeks to improve the quality of its decisions, judicial efficiency and the effectiveness of its procedures and policy by automating the whole judicial system including the Court of Common Pleas, the Trial Division, the Appellate Division, Disciplinary Proceedings, Special Proceedings, and the Land Court.





                            Capital:  Ngerulmud (Melekeok)                                                Commercial Capital:  Koror


                 Official Languages:                                  Independence COFA:                                   Population:

                      Palauan, English                                      1 October 1994                                            21,000 (2014)
                      Other languages: Sonsorolese