Nauru Facts

Nauru Facts and History


The small island state of Nauru in the Pacific is located northeast of Papua New Guinea, halfway between Australia and Hawaii and is the third smallest republic in the world at 21 km².

Nauru is one of the three phosphate islands in the Pacific, including Banaba in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia. Nauru is about 53 km south of the equator and is surrounded by a coral reef.

30 years ago, Nauru had the highest per capita income in the world after Saudi Arabia. But nothing remains of the former wealth. The state was even insolvent in 2004 and is now one of the poorest countries in the world.

Nauru does not necessarily correspond to the South Seas cliché of an untouched natural island. So is z. For example, one of the main attractions on Nauru is an artificial lunar landscape that was created as a result of phosphorus mining.

40% of the population is diabetic. That is the highest diabetic rate in the world.

Nauru is, followed by Tuvalu, with 610 residents/km² the most densely populated island in the South Pacific.

For comparison: Tuvalu has 423 people/km², Germany 225 people/km² and Hong Kong has 5,300 people/km².

Name of the country Republic of Nauru
Form of government Nauru is a parliamentary republic, which can also be called a presidential-parliamentary republic in the Commonwealth of Nations.
Geographical location In the Pacific, northeast of Papua New Guinea; 0 ° 32 ‘south latitude and 166 ° 55’ east longitude
National anthem “Nauru bwiema, ngaba ma auwe”
Population About 9,500 (Credit: Countryaah: Nauru Population)
Ethnicities 58% Nauruanians, 26% other Pacific islanders, 8% Chinese and 8% Europeans combined.
Religions The main religion is Christianity, which is distributed roughly as follows: Protestants 66%, Catholics 33%
Languages The official languages are Nauruan, which does not function as a written language, as well as English, the written language Naurus.
Capital Nauru has no official capital
Surface 21.3 km²
Highest mountain The highest point on the island is 61 m high and is called Command Ridge.
International license plate NAU
currency Australian dollar (AUD)
Time difference to CET + 10.5 h
International phone code + 674
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .no

Nauru: history

Early history

The first settlers arrived from New Guinea around 3,000 years ago. The island was traditionally settled by 12 tribes. Each of these tribes now holds one of the 14 governmental restrictions.

The Europeans are coming

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the first European to see Nuaru in 1798 was the British captain John Fearn (1768-1837), who was on the whaling ship “Hunter”. He named the island Friendly Island, “Pleasant Island”. However, the friendly island soon developed into a base for pirates.

In 1888 Nauru was added to the Protectorate of the German Empire.

The British geologist Albert Ellis discovered, like on Barnaba, part of the Marshall Islands, huge deposits of phosphate, known as Guana manure, which was made from the excrement remains of birds. The German Reich took part in mining the raw material.


The German Empire ordered the Christianization of the islanders and in 1899 sent the Protestant Pastor Delaporte and the Catholic Pastor Grundl as the first missionaries.

In 1905 the “Pacific Phosphate Company” was founded by German and British companies. The aim of the company was to promote the exploitation of the phosphate deposits.

The island was occupied by the Australians in 1914 and administered by the British until 1921 when it was placed under Australian administration as a mandate of the League of Nations.

The Japanese occupied the island in 1942, devastated it and deported 1,800 Nauruans, which corresponded to about two thirds of the population at the time, to labor camps on the island of Tuk, which is located in what is now the United States of Micronesia.

Of these, only a third of those displaced returned to Nauru in 1945.

In the same year the Australians took possession of the island again.

Two years later the island came under the trusteeship of the United Nations. However, it remained under Australian administration.

After the declaration of independence

On January 31, 1968 Nauru became independent and received the status of a republic within the Commonwealth. Hammer de Roburt was elected as the first president. He had already been elected chief in 1956.

Bernhard Dowiyogo (1946-2003) replaced him in 1976 after elections. However, after Dowiyogo’s resignation, Hammer de Roburt became president again. After 13 years, in 1989, he was forced to resign due to corruption.

Bernard Dowiyogo came to power again and won subsequent elections in 1992 and 1995.

Nauru sued Australia before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for damages in relation to the overexploitation of phosphate. A settlement was reached and Nauru received € 60 million in damages from Australia.

In 1999 René Harris (born 1947) became the new President and Nauru joined the United Nations on September 14 of the same year. Nauru also became a full member of the Commonwealth of Nations on May 1, 1999.

Bernard Dowiyogo was reappointed President by Parliament a year later. However, this was overthrown and replaced by its predecessor on March 31, 2001.

In the same year the OECD commented on the conditions on the island.

Nauru was entered on the “black list” of tax havens and had to put up with sanctions from the OECD’s “Financial Action Task Force” for accepting money laundering.

In 2002, Australia paid around 17 million euros to Nauru for taking in boat refugees. Two years later, Nauru was removed from the “black list” of tax havens.

After the death of President Dowiyogo in 2003, René Harris came back to power.

At the end of 2003 the state was insolvent. In the following year, all satellite communications for the state were therefore shut down. On October 2, 2004, Ludwig Scotty (born 1948) was appointed President.

Critical comments

In 1968-2002, Nauru earned $ 3.6 billion from the phosphate trade.

When this source of income dried up, Nauru began selling passports and laundering money in the late 1990s. In 1998 alone, the state is said to have laundered 70 billion US dollars for the Russian mafia.

Nevertheless, the state could no longer pay its officials at Christmas 2003. In March 2004 the country was switched off from international telecommunications. The debtors simply turned off the satellite.

The country has made itself insolvent through mismanagement, nepotism and over-administration. One still affords an unnecessary state apparatus. The island, which is only 21 km2 in size, has 14 governmental restrictions. The island also affords an expensive presence on all sorts of bodies in the world, which also devours large amounts of money.

Nauru Facts