Fast Facts

Population:
59,000
Capital:
Majuro; 25,000
Area:
181 square kilometers (70 square miles)
Language:
English, Marshallese, Japanese
Religion:
Christian (mostly Protestant)
Currency:
U.S. Dollar
Life Expectancy:
68
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $1,600
Literacy Percent:
94
Flag: Marshall Islands
Map: Marshall Islands

Tropical islands in the western Pacific, the Marshall Islands form two parallel island groups—the Ratak (sunrise) Chain and Ralik (sunset) Chain. These atolls, reefs, and islets include Kwajalein, test range for U.S. missiles and home to the world's largest lagoon, and Enewetak, where the United States exploded the first hydrogen bomb in 1952. Bikini Atoll is still uninhabitable because of past nuclear tests. In 1986 the former trust territory became self-governing in free association with the United States, which is responsible for its defense and foreign affairs.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Copra, fish, tourism, craft items from shell, wood, and pearls
  • Agriculture: Coconuts, tomatoes, melons, taro; pigs
  • Exports: Copra cake, coconut oil, handicrafts, fish

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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