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The exact origins of the Nauruans are unclear since their language does not resemble any other in the Pacific. Germany annexed the island in 1888. A German-British consortium began mining the island's phosphate deposits early in the 20th century. Australian forces occupied Nauru in World War I; it subsequently became a League of Nations mandate. After the Second World War - and a brutal occupation by Japan - Nauru became a UN trust territory. It achieved independence in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999 as the world's smallest independent republic.


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Geography

Location
Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands

Geographic coordinates
0 32 S, 166 55 E

Map references
Oceania

Area World Ranking: 239
Total 21 sq km
Land 21 sq km
Water 0 sq km

Area - comparative
About 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries
0 km

Coastline
30 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Contiguous zone 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm

Climate
Tropical with a monsoonal pattern; rainy season (November to February)

Terrain
Sandy beach rises to fertile ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point
Unnamed elevation along plateau rim 61 m

Natural resources
Phosphates, fish

Land use
Arable land 0%
Permanent crops 0%
Other 100% (2005)

Irrigated land
NA

Natural hazards
Periodic droughts

Environment - current issues
Limited natural freshwater resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater but mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant; intensive phosphate mining during the past 90 years - mainly by a UK, Australia, and NZ consortium - has left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia; only 53 km south of Equator


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Nauru (Yaren):




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