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Discovered by Captain John Fearn in 1798, the Republic of Nauru is north of the Solomon Islands and just south of the equator. With 9,500 people, the majority being nauruan, while the balance made up by pacific islanders, asian and european. Nauruan is the predominant language, however English is widely spoken.
Nauruan people originated from a mixture of people from Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. During the early 1800's, Nauru was a base for American whalers. In the late 1800's it came under German administration. In 1914 it was surrendered to Australia and eventually became independent in 1968, the world's smallest.
Nauru existed as an independent island society until it was annexed by Germany in 1888 as part of the Marshall Islands Protectorate. In 1900 a British company discovered phosphate on the island and negotiated with Germany for mining rights. In November 1914 Nauru was seized by Australian troops and remained in British control until 1921. At the end of the war, when the German colonies were detached, a League of Nations C Class Mandate was granted to Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. The three countries provided for an Administration and set up the British Phosphate Commissioners (BPC) to run the phosphate industry.
In 1940 Nauru was occupied by the Japanese and 1200 Nauruans were deported to Truk. Only 700 survivors returned. In 1947 the island was placed under United Nations Trusteeship and Australia resumed administration on behalf of the three partner governments: Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
Nauru became an independent republic on 31 January 1968. The blue on the flag symbolises the Pacific Ocean, the gold band the Equator and the 12 pointed star 12 tribes of the Nauruan people.
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