Palau consists of a group of islands in the western Pacific, and has only been an independent nation since 1994. Some of the outlying islands, uninhabited or with very small populations, lie a considerable distance away. For example Tobi Island is over three hundred miles from the main group, and has only about thirty inhabitants. The climate is tropical and the islands have few typhoons. The economy depends on subsistence farming, mainly coconuts and bananas, fishing and tourism. Diving on the coral reefs is a popular tourist activity. Divers also explore the wrecks of ships which were sunk in World War II during the battle of 1944. The largest island is Babeldaob, with an area of 180 square miles. The coasts consist of sandy beaches with some mangrove swamps where saltwater crocodiles are found. Ngerulmud, location of the government’s offices since 2006, is said to be the world’s smallest capital. The Palauan language claims to have 13,000 speakers. Palau has declared its waters to be a shark sanctuary and has called for a ban on fishing for sharks.
|Capital of Palau||Melekeok|
|Language||English, Palauan, Japanese|
|Time zone||UTC +9|
|Dialing code of Palau||+680|
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