Fast Facts

Population:
21,000
Capital:
Melekeok
Area:
489 square kilometers (189 square miles)
Language:
English, Palauan, Japanese, 3 additional local languages
Religion:
Roman Catholic, Protestant, Modekngei (indigenous)
Currency:
U.S. dollar
Life Expectancy:
69
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $9,000
Literacy Percent:
92
Flag: Palau
Map: Palau

Located in the western Pacific, the more than 250 islands that constitute Palau—a Japanese stronghold during World War II—were assigned to U.S. administration by the United Nations in 1947. Economically tied to the U.S., the territory became an independent nation in October 1994. About 70 percent of Palauans live in the capital city of Koror on the island of Koror. Tourism is the country's main industry, with the rich marine environment inviting snorkeling and scuba diving.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Tourism, craft items, construction, garment making
  • Agriculture: Coconuts, copra, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes
  • Exports: Shellfish, tuna, copra, garments

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

Related Features

  • Photo: White sand beach

    The South Pacific

    Scattered about the world's largest ocean, the legendary islands of the South Pacific are a wonder to travelers, full of beautiful sights and fascinating cultures.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Travel Photos From Your Shot

  • Picture of Petra, Jordan, at night with lighted lanterns

    Night Pictures

    See Captivating Photos of Our Days' EndSubmitted by Members of the Your Shot Community

See More Your Shot Galleries »

Sponsored Content

  • TimFrame-orig.jpg

    Photo Impact

    Watch as Nat Geo photographers reveal what drives them to create iconic images.