Palau History Infoplease

Spain held the islands for about 300 years before selling them to Germany in 1899. Japan seized them in 1914 and was given a mandate over them by the League of Nations in 1920. A major Japanese naval base in World War II, Palau was seized by U.S. forces in 1944 and made part of the U.S.-administered United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947. Palau's constitution, adopted in 1980, prohibits nuclear weapons, causing a conflict with the Free Association Compact proposed by the United States in 1985Ò86. Palau became self-governing in 1981. The islands voted in favor of the compact in 1987, but the referendum failed to garner the 75% of the votes then required. In a new plebiscite held in 1993 the compact was approved, opening the door to closer official linkage with the United States. The following year Palau became an independent nation in free association with the United States. Tommy Remengesau, Jr., was elected president in 2000, succeeding Kuniwo Nakamura, and reelected in 2004. The capital was moved from Oreor to Babeldoab in 2006.
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