Marshall Islands

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Republic of the Marshall Islands)
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 9°N 168°E / 9°N 168°E / 9; 168

Republic of the Marshall Islands
Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ (Marshallese)
Motto: "Jepilpilin ke ejukaan"
"Accomplishment through joint effort"
Location of Marshall Islands
Status Sovereign state in free association with the United States
Capital
and largest city
Majuro[1]
7°7′N 171°4′E / 7.117°N 171.067°E / 7.117; 171.067
Official languages
Ethnic groups (2006[2])
  • 92.1% Marshallese
  • 5.9% mixed Marshallese
  • 2% others
Demonym Marshallese
Government Unitary parliamentary republic
Hilda Heine
Kenneth Kedi[3]
Legislature Nitijela
Independence from the United States
• Self-government
1979
October 21, 1986
Area
• Total
181.43 km2 (70.05 sq mi) (189th)
• Water (%)
n/a (negligible)
Population
• 2016 estimate
53,263 (United Nations) (203rd)
• 2011 census
53,158[4]
• Density
293.0/km2 (758.9/sq mi) (28th)
GDP (PPP) 2001 estimate
• Total
$115 million (220th)
• Per capita
$2,900a (195th)
Currency United States dollar (USD)
Time zone MHT (UTC+12)
Date format MM/DD/YYYY
Drives on the right
Calling code +692
ISO 3166 code MH
Internet TLD .mh
  1. 2005 estimate.

The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Marshallese: Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ),[note 1] is an island country located near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, slightly west of the International Date Line. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia, the country's population of 53,158 people (at the 2011 Census[4]) is spread out over 29 coral atolls,[2] comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets.

The islands share maritime boundaries with the Federated States of Micronesia to the west, Wake Island to the north,[note 2] Kiribati to the southeast, and Nauru to the south. About 27,797 of the islanders (at the 2011 Census) live on Majuro, which contains the capital.[2] Data from the United Nations indicates an estimated population in 2017 of 53,134; in 2016, 73.3% of the population were defined as being "urban". The UN also indicates a population density of 295 per km2 (765 people per mi2) and its estimated 2020 population is 53,263.[5]

Micronesian colonists reached the Marshall Islands using canoes circa 2nd millennium BC, with inter-island navigation made possible using traditional stick charts, they eventually settled here.[6] Islands in the archipelago were first explored by Europeans in the 1520s, starting with Ferdinand Magellan of Portugal and Miguel de Saavedra of Spain. Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar reported sighting an atoll in August 1526.[6] Other expeditions by Spanish and English ships followed, the islands derive their name from British explorer John Marshall, who visited in 1788. The islands were historically known by the inhabitants as "jolet jen Anij" (Gifts from God).[7]

Spain claimed the islands in 1592 and the European powers recognized its sovereignty over the islands in 1874, they had been part of the Spanish East Indies formally since 1528. Later, Spain sold the islands to the German Empire in 1885, and they became part of German New Guinea that year, run by the trading companies doing business in the islands, particularly the Jaluit Company;[6] in World War I the Empire of Japan occupied the Marshall Islands, which in 1920, the League of Nations combined with other former German territories to form the South Pacific Mandate. During World War II, the United States conquered the islands in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign in 1944. Nuclear testing began in 1946 on Bikini Atoll after residents were evacuated, over the years, 67 weapon tests were conducted, including the 15-megaton Bravo hydrogen bomb test that created significant fallout in the region. The testing concluded in 1958, over the years, some cleanup was completed by the US government.[8]

The US government formed the Congress of Micronesia in 1965, a plan for increased self-governance of Pacific islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1979 provided independence to the Marshall Islands, whose constitution and president (Amata Kabua) were formally recognized by the US. Full sovereignty or Self-government was achieved in a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Marshall Islands has been a United Nations member state since 1991.[6] Politically, the Marshall Islands is a presidential republic in free association with the United States, with the US providing defense, subsidies, and access to U.S. based agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the United States Postal Service. With few natural resources, the islands' wealth is based on a service economy, as well as some fishing and agriculture; aid from the United States represents a large percentage of the islands' gross domestic product. The country uses the United States dollar as its currency.

The majority of the citizens of the Republic of Marshall Islands, formed in 1982, are of Marshallese descent, though there are small numbers of immigrants from the United States, China, Philippines, and other Pacific islands, the two official languages are Marshallese, which is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, and English. Almost the entire population of the islands practises some religion, with three-quarters of the country either following the United Church of Christ – Congregational in the Marshall Islands (UCCCMI) or the Assemblies of God.

History[edit]

Marshall Islanders sailing in traditional costume, circa 1899–1900.

Micronesians settled the Marshall Islands in the 2nd millennium BC, but there are no historical or oral records of that period, over time, the Marshall Island people learned to navigate over long ocean distances by canoe using traditional stick charts.[9]

Spanish colony[edit]

Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar was the first European to see the islands in 1526, commanding the ship Santa Maria de la Victoria, the only surviving vessel of the Loaísa Expedition. On August 21, he sighted an island (probably Taongi) at 14°N that he named "San Bartolome".[10]

On September 21, 1529, Álvaro de Saavedra Cerón commanded the Spanish ship Florida, on his second attempt to recross the Pacific from the Maluku Islands, he stood off a group of islands from which local inhabitants hurled stones at his ship. These islands, which he named "Los Pintados", may have been Ujelang, on October 1, he found another group of islands where he went ashore for eight days, exchanged gifts with the local inhabitants and took on water. These islands, which he named "Los Jardines", may have been Enewetak or Bikini Atoll.[11][12]

The Spanish ship San Pedro and two other vessels in an expedition commanded by Miguel López de Legazpi discovered an island on January 9, 1530, possibly Mejit, at 10°N, which they named "Los Barbudos". The Spaniards went ashore and traded with the local inhabitants, on January 10, the Spaniards sighted another island that they named "Placeres", perhaps Ailuk; ten leagues away, they sighted another island that they called "Pajares" (perhaps Jemo). On January 12, they sighted another island at 10°N that they called "Corrales" (possibly Wotho), on January 15, the Spaniards sighted another low island, perhaps Ujelang, at 10°N, where they described the people on "Barbudos".[13][14] After that, ships including the San Jeronimo, Los Reyes and Todos los Santos also visited the islands in different years.

The islanders had no immunity to European diseases and many died as a result of contact with the Spanish.[15]

Other European contact[edit]

Captain John Charles Marshall and Thomas Gilbert visited the islands in 1788, the islands were named for Marshall on Western charts, although the natives have historically named their home "jolet jen Anij" (Gifts from God).[7] Around 1820, Russian explorer Adam Johann von Krusenstern and the French explorer Louis Isidore Duperrey named the islands after John Marshall, and drew maps of the islands. The designation was repeated later on British maps.[citation needed] In 1824 the crew of the American whaler Globe mutinied and some of the crew put ashore on Mulgrave Island. One year later, the American schooner Dolphin arrived and picked up two boys, the last survivors of a massacre by the natives due to their brutal treatment of the women.[16]:2

A number of vessels visiting the islands were attacked and their crews killed; in 1834, Captain DonSette and his crew were killed. Similarly, in 1845 the schooner Naiad punished a native for stealing with such violence that the natives attacked the ship. Later that year a whaler's boat crew were killed; in 1852 the San Francisco-based ships Glencoe and Sea Nymph were attacked and everyone aboard except for one crew member were killed. The violence was usually attributed as a response to the ill treatment of the natives in response to petty theft, which was a common practice; in 1857, two missionaries successfully settled on Ebon, living among the natives through at least 1870.[16]:3

The international community in 1874 recognized the Spanish Empire's claim of sovereignty over the islands as part of the Spanish East Indies.

German protectorate[edit]

German protectorate (Schutzgebiet) of the Marshall Islands 1897

Although the Spanish Empire had a residual claim on the Marshalls in 1874, when she began asserting her sovereignty over the Carolines, she made no effort to prevent the German Empire from gaining a foothold there. Britain also raised no objection to a German protectorate over the Marshalls in exchange for German recognition of Britain's rights in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands,[17] on October 13, 1885, the gunboat SMS Nautilus under Captain Fritz Rötger brought German emissaries to Jaluit. They signed a treaty with Kabua, whom the Germans had earlier recognized as "King of the Ralik Islands," on October 15.

Subsequently, seven other chiefs on seven other islands signed a treaty in German and Marshallese and a final copy witnessed by Rötger on November 1 was sent to the German Foreign Office,[18] the Germans erected a sign declaring an "Imperial German Protectorate" at Jaluit. It has been speculated that the crisis over the Carolines with Spain, which almost provoked a war, was in fact "a feint to cover the acquisition of the Marshall Islands", which went almost unnoticed at the time, despite the islands being the largest source of copra in Micronesia.[19] Spain sold the islands to Germany in 1884 through papal mediation.[dubious ]

A German trading company, the Jaluit Gesellschaft, administered the islands from 1887 until 1905, they conscripted the islanders as laborers.[15] After the German–Spanish Treaty of 1899, in which Germany acquired the Carolines, Palau, and the Marianas from Spain, Germany placed all of its Micronesian islands, including the Marshalls, under the governor of German New Guinea.

Catholic missionary Father A. Erdland, from the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart based in Hiltrup, Germany, lived on Jaluit from around 1904 to 1914. He was very interested in the islands and conducted considerable research on the Marshallese culture and language, he published a 376-page monograph on the islands in 1914. Father H. Linckens, another Missionary of the Sacred Heart visited the Marshall Islands in 1904 and 1911 for several weeks, he published a small work in 1912 about the Catholic mission activities and the people of the Marshall Islands.[20]

Japanese mandate[edit]

Under German control, and even before then, Japanese traders and fishermen from time to time visited the Marshall Islands, although contact with the islanders was irregular, after the Meiji Restoration (1868), the Japanese government adopted a policy of turning the Japanese Empire into a great economic and military power in East Asia.

In 1914, Japan joined the Entente during World War I and captured various German Empire colonies, including several in Micronesia. On September 29, 1914, Japanese troops occupied the Enewetak Atoll, and on September 30, 1914, the Jaluit Atoll, the administrative centre of the Marshall Islands,[21] after the war, on June 28, 1919, Germany signed (under protest) the Treaty of Versailles. It renounced all of its Pacific possessions,[22] including the Marshall Islands, on December 17, 1920, the Council of the League of Nations approved the South Pacific Mandate for Japan to take over all former German colonies in the Pacific Ocean located north of the Equator.[21] The Administrative Centre of the Marshall Islands archipelago remained Jaluit.

The German Empire had primarily economic interests in Micronesia, the Japanese interests were in land. Despite the Marshalls' small area and few resources, the absorption of the territory by Japan would to some extent alleviate Japan's problem of an increasing population with a diminishing amount of available land to house it,[23] during its years of colonial rule, Japan moved more than 1,000 Japanese to the Marshall Islands although they never outnumbered the indigenous peoples as they did in the Mariana Islands and Palau.

The Japanese enlarged administration and appointed local leaders, which weakened the authority of local traditional leaders. Japan also tried to change the social organization in the islands from matrilineality to the Japanese patriarchal system, but with no success.[23] Moreover, during the 1930s, one third of all land up to the high water level was declared the property of the Japanese government, before Japan banned foreign traders on the archipelago, the activities of Catholic and Protestant missionaries were allowed.[23]

Indigenous people were educated in Japanese schools, and studied the Japanese language and Japanese culture, this policy was the government strategy not only in the Marshall Islands, but on all the other mandated territories in Micronesia. On March 27, 1933, Japan gave notice of withdrawal from the League of Nations,[24][25] but continued to manage the islands, and in the late 1930s began building air bases on several atolls, the Marshall Islands were in an important geographic position, being the easternmost point in Japan's defensive ring at the beginning of World War II.[23][26]

World War II[edit]

US troops inspecting an enemy bunker, Kwajalein Atoll. 1944.

In the months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kwajalein Atoll was the administrative center of the Japanese 6th Fleet Forces Service, whose task was the defense of the Marshall Islands.[27]

In World War II, the United States, during the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign, invaded and occupied the islands in 1944, destroying or isolating the Japanese garrisons. In just one month in 1944, Americans captured Kwajalein Atoll, Majuro and Enewetak, and, in the next two months, the rest of the Marshall Islands, except for Wotje, Mili, Maloelap and Jaluit.

The battle in the Marshall Islands caused irreparable damage, especially on Japanese bases, during the American bombing, the islands' population suffered from lack of food and various injuries. Of the 5100-man Japanese garrison (2600 Imperial Japanese Navy and 2500 Imperial Japanese Army) on the Mili Atoll only half survived to the end of the war.[28]

Shipping Lane Patrol Kwajalein Island (Marshall Islands-April 1945)

Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands[edit]

Following capture and occupation by the United States during World War II, the Marshall Islands, along with several other island groups located in Micronesia, passed formally to the United States under United Nations auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 21.

Nuclear testing during the Cold War[edit]

Mushroom cloud from the largest atmospheric nuclear test the United States ever conducted, Castle Bravo.
American bunker located in Bikini Atoll
Rear of bunker

From 1946 to 1958, the early years of the Cold War, the United States tested 67 nuclear weapons at its Pacific Proving Grounds located in the Marshall Islands,[29] including the largest atmospheric nuclear test ever conducted by the U.S., code named Castle Bravo.[30] "The bombs had a total yield of 108,496 kilotons, over 7,200 times more powerful than the atomic weapons used during World War II."[31] With the 1952 test of the first U.S. hydrogen bomb, code named "Ivy Mike," the island of Elugelab in the Enewetak atoll was destroyed. In 1956, the United States Atomic Energy Commission regarded the Marshall Islands as "by far the most contaminated place in the world."[32]

Nuclear claims between the U.S. and the Marshall Islands are ongoing, and health effects from these nuclear tests linger.[30][33] Project 4.1 was a medical study conducted by the United States of those residents of the Bikini Atoll exposed to radioactive fallout. From 1956 to August 1998, at least $759 million was paid to the Marshallese Islanders in compensation for their exposure to U.S. nuclear weapon testing.[34][8]

Independence[edit]

In 1979, the Government of the Marshall Islands was officially established and the country became self-governing.

In 1986, the Compact of Free Association with the United States entered into force, granting the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) its sovereignty, the Compact provided for aid and U.S. defense of the islands in exchange for continued U.S. military use of the missile testing range at Kwajalein Atoll. The independence procedure was formally completed under international law in 1990, when the UN officially ended the Trusteeship status pursuant to Security Council Resolution 683. The Republic was admitted to the UN in 1991.

In 2003, the US created a new Compact of Free Association for the Republic Marshall Islands and Micronesia, with funding of $3.5 billion to be made over the next 20 years.[6]

21st century[edit]

In 2005, Aloha Airlines canceled its flight services to the Marshall Islands.

In 2008, extreme waves and high tides caused widespread flooding in the capital city of Majuro and other urban centres, 3 feet (0.91 m) above sea level. On Christmas morning in 2008, the government declared a state of emergency;[35] in 2013, heavy waves once again breached the city walls of Majuro.

In 2013, the northern atolls of the Marshall Islands experienced drought, the drought left 6,000 people surviving on less than 1 liter (0.26 U.S. gal) of water per day. This resulted in the failure of food crops and the spread of diseases such as diarrhea, pink eye, and influenza, these emergencies resulted in the United States President declaring an emergency in the islands. This declaration activated support from US government agencies under the Republic's "free association" status with the United States, which provides humanitarian and other vital support.[36][37]

Following the 2013 emergencies, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tony deBrum was encouraged by the Obama administration in the United States to turn the crises into an opportunity to promote action against climate change. DeBrum demanded new commitment and international leadership to stave off further climate disasters from battering his country and other similarly vulnerable countries; in September 2013, the Marshall Islands hosted the 44th Pacific Islands Forum summit. DeBrum proposed a Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership to galvanize concrete action on climate change.[38]

Rising sea levels are threatening the islands. Regardless of the cause, much of the area of the islands may become uninhabitable if the levels become excessive. Major flooding occurred in 2014 leading to a state of emergency for Majuro.[39] Thousands of islanders have already moved to the US over the past decades for medical treatment and for better education or employment, many settling in Arkansas; emigration is likely to increase as sea levels rise.[40] The right of residents to do so ends in 2023 unless the Compact with the US is renewed, the United States Geological Survey in 2014 warned that rising sea levels will salinize the fresh water on the islands, "thus likely forcing inhabitants to abandon their islands in decades, not centuries, as previously thought".[41][42][43][44]

A report in mid 2017 by Stanford University, some 70 years after 23 atomic bombs were detonated on Bikini Atoll, indicates abundant fish and plant life in the coral reefs, that area of the islands was still not inhabitable by humans, however, due to contamination by radioactivity. A 2012 report by the United Nations had indicated that the contamination was "near-irreversible".[45]

Geography[edit]

Map of the Marshall Islands
Aerial view of Majuro, one of the many atolls that makes up the Marshall Islands
Beach scenery at Laura, Majuro.
View of the coast of Bikini Atoll from above

The Marshall Islands sit atop ancient submerged volcanoes rising from the ocean floor, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia,[7] north of Nauru and Kiribati, east of the Federated States of Micronesia, and south of the disputed U.S. territory of Wake Island, to which it also lays claim.[46] The atolls and islands form two groups: the Ratak (sunrise) and the Ralik (sunset), the two island chains lie approximately parallel to one another, running northwest to southeast, comprising about 750,000 square miles (1,900,000 km2) of ocean but only about 70 square miles (180 km2) of land mass.[7] Each includes 15 to 18 islands and atolls,[16] the country consists of a total of 29 atolls and five isolated islands situated in about 180,000 square miles (470,000 km2) of the Pacific.[46] The largest atoll with a land area of 6 square miles (16 km2) is Kwajalein. It surrounds a 655-square-mile (1,700 km2) lagoon.[47]

Twenty-four of the atolls and islands are inhabited. Atolls are uninhabited due to poor living conditions, lack of rain, or nuclear contamination, the uninhabited atolls are:

The average altitude above sea level for the entire country is 7 feet (2.1 m).[46]

Shark sanctuary[edit]

In October 2011, the government declared that an area covering nearly 2,000,000 square kilometers (772,000 sq mi) of ocean shall be reserved as a shark sanctuary. This is the world's largest shark sanctuary, extending the worldwide ocean area in which sharks are protected from 2,700,000 to 4,600,000 square kilometers (1,042,000 to 1,776,000 sq mi). In protected waters, all shark fishing is banned and all by-catch must be released. However, some have questioned the ability of the Marshall Islands to enforce this zone.[48]

Territorial claim on Wake Island[edit]

The Marshall Islands also lays claim to Wake Island.[49] While Wake has been administered by the United States since 1899, the Marshallese government refers to it by the name Enen-kio.

Climate[edit]

Average monthly temperatures (red) and precipitation (blue) on Majuro.

The climate has a dry season from December to April and a wet season from May to November. Many Pacific typhoons begin as tropical storms in the Marshall Islands region, and grow stronger as they move west toward the Mariana Islands and the Philippines.

Due to its very low elevation, the Marshall Islands are threatened by the potential effects of sea level rise.[50][51] According to the president of Nauru, the Marshall Islands are the most endangered nation in the world due to flooding from climate change.[52]

Population has outstripped the supply of freshwater, usually from rainfall, the northern atolls get 50 inches (1,300 mm) of rainfall annually; the southern atolls about twice that. The threat of drought is commonplace throughout the island chains.[53]

Fauna[edit]

Crabs include hermit crabs, and coconut crabs.[54]

Birds

Most birds found in the Marshall Islands, with the exception of those few introduced by man, are either sea birds or a migratory species.[55] There are about 70 species of birds, including 31 seabirds. 15 of these species actually nest locally. Sea birds include the black noddy and the white tern,[56] the only land bird is the house sparrow, introduced by man.[54]

Marine

There are about 300 species of fish, 250 of which are reef fish.[56]

Insects

Demographics[edit]

Historical population figures are unknown; in 1862, the population was estimated at about 10,000.[16] In 1960, the entire population was about 15,000; in the 2011 Census, the number of island residents was 53,158. Over two-thirds of the population live in the capital, Majuro and Ebeye, the secondary urban center, located in Kwajalein Atoll, this excludes many who have relocated elsewhere, primarily to the United States. The Compact of Free Association allows them to freely relocate to the United States and obtain work there.[62] A large concentration of about 4,300 Marshall Islanders have relocated to Springdale, Arkansas, the largest population concentration of natives outside their island home.[63]

Most of the residents are Marshallese, who are of Micronesian origin and migrated from Asia several thousand years ago. A minority of Marshallese have some recent Asian ancestry, mainly Japanese. About one-half of the nation's population lives on Majuro, the capital, and Ebeye, a densely populated island.[64][65][66][67] The outer islands are sparsely populated due to lack of employment opportunities and economic development. Life on the outer atolls is generally traditional.

The official languages of the Marshall Islands are English and Marshallese. Both languages are widely spoken.[68]

Religion[edit]

Major religious groups in the Republic of the Marshall Islands include the United Church of Christ – Congregational in the Marshall Islands, with 51.5% of the population; the Assemblies of God, 24.2%; the Roman Catholic Church, 8.4%;[69] and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 8.3%.[69] Also represented are Bukot Nan Jesus (also known as Assembly of God Part Two), 2.2%; Baptist, 1.0%; Seventh-day Adventists, 0.9%; Full Gospel, 0.7%; and the Baha'i Faith, 0.6%.[69] Persons without any religious affiliation account for a very small percentage of the population.[69] There is also a small community of Ahmadiyya Muslims based in Majuro, with the first mosque opening in the capital in September 2012.[70]

Health[edit]

A 2007–2008 study revealed that the rate of type 2 diabetes is among the highest in the world; 28% over the age of 15; 50% over 35. Approximately 75% of women, and 50% of men are overweight or obese, this is mostly due to the adoption of an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. About 50% of all surgeries performed on the island are amputations due to complications from diabetes. There are no facilities for renal dialysis.[71]

According to a report by the BBC, life expectancy is 67 years for men and 71 years for women.[72]

Government[edit]

The Marshall Islands Capitol building

The government of the Marshall Islands operates under a mixed parliamentary-presidential system as set forth in its Constitution.[73] Elections are held every four years in universal suffrage (for all citizens above 18), with each of the twenty-four constituencies (see below) electing one or more representatives (senators) to the lower house of RMI's unicameral legislature, the Nitijela. (Majuro, the capital atoll, elects five senators.) The President, who is head of state as well as head of government, is elected by the 33 senators of the Nitijela. Four of the five Marshallese presidents who have been elected since the Constitution was adopted in 1979 have been traditional paramount chiefs.[74]

In January 2016, senator Hilda Heine was elected by Parliament as the first female president of the Marshall Islands; previous president Casten Nemra lost office after serving two weeks in a vote of no confidence.[6]

Legislative power lies with the Nitijela, the upper house of Parliament, called the Council of Iroij, is an advisory body comprising twelve tribal chiefs. The executive branch consists of the President and the Presidential Cabinet, which consists of ten ministers appointed by the President with the approval of the Nitijela, the twenty-four electoral districts into which the country is divided correspond to the inhabited islands and atolls. There are currently four political parties in the Marshall Islands: Aelon̄ Kein Ad (AKA), United People's Party (UPP), Kien Eo Am (KEA) and United Democratic Party (UDP). Rule is shared by the AKA and the UDP, the following senators are in the legislative body:

Foreign affairs and defense[edit]

The Compact of Free Association with the United States gives the U.S. sole responsibility for international defense of the Marshall Islands. It gives islanders the right to emigrate to the United States and to work there.[75]

The Marshall Islands was admitted to the United Nations based on the Security Council's recommendation on August 9, 1991, in Resolution 704 and the General Assembly's approval on September 17, 1991, in Resolution 46/3.[76] In international politics within the United Nations, the Marshall Islands has often voted consistently with the United States with respect to General Assembly resolutions.[77]

On 28 April 2015, the Iranian navy seized the Marshall Island-flagged MV Maersk Tigris near the Strait of Hormuz. The ship had been chartered by Germany's Rickmers Ship Management, which stated that the ship contained no special cargo and no military weapons, the ship was reported to be under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard according to the Pentagon. Tensions escallated in the region due to the intensifying of Saudi-led coalition attacks in Yemen. The Pentagon reported that the destroyer USS Farragut and a maritime reconnaissance aircraft were dispatched upon receiving a distress call from the ship Tigris and it was also reported that all 34 crew members were detained. US defense officials have said that they would review U.S. defense obligations to the Government of the Marshall Islands in the wake of recent events and also condemned the shots fired at the bridge as "inappropriate". It was reported in May 2015 that Tehran would release the ship after it paid a penalty.[78][79]

Culture[edit]

Marshallese fans

Although the ancient skills are now in decline, the Marshallese were once able navigators, using the stars and stick-and-shell charts.

Economy[edit]

Graphical depiction of Marshall Islands's product exports in 28 colour-coded categories.

The islands have few natural resources, and their imports far exceed exports. According to the CIA, the value of exports in 2013 was approximately $53.7 million while estimated imports were $133.7 million. Agricultural products include coconuts, tomatoes, melons, taro, breadfruit, fruits, pigs and chickens. Industry is made of the production of copra and craft items, tuna processing and tourism, the GDP in 2016 was an estimated $180 million, with a real growth rate of 1.7%. The GDP per capita was $3,300.[80]

The International Monetary Fund reported in mid 2016 that the economy of the Republic had expanded by about 0.5 percent in the Fiscal Year 2015 thanks to an improved fisheries sector. A surplus of 3% of GDP was recorded "owing to record-high fishing license fees. Growth is expected to rise to about 1.5 percent and inflation to about 0.5 percent in FY2016, as the effects of the drought in earlier 2016 are offset by the resumption of infrastructure projects."[81]

Labour[edit]

In 2007, the Marshall Islands joined the International Labour Organization, which means its labour laws will comply with international benchmarks. This may impact business conditions in the islands.[82]

Taxation[edit]

The income tax has two brackets, with rates of 8% and 12%,[83] the corporate tax is 3% of revenue.[83]

Foreign assistance[edit]

United States government assistance is the mainstay of the economy. Under terms of the Amended Compact of Free Association, the U.S. is committed to provide US$57.7 million per year in assistance to the Marshall Islands (RMI) through 2013, and then US$62.7 million through 2023, at which time a trust fund, made up of U.S. and RMI contributions, will begin perpetual annual payouts.[84]

The United States Army maintains the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll. Marshallese land owners receive rent for the base.

Agriculture[edit]

Agricultural production is concentrated on small farms.[citation needed] The most important commercial crops is Copra[85][86] followed by coconut, breadfruit, pandanus, banana, taro and arrowroot, the livestock consists primarily of pigs and chickens.[87][81]

Industry[edit]

Small-scale industry is limited to handicrafts, fish processing, and copra.

Fishing[edit]

Fishing has been critical to the economy of this island nation since its settlement.

In 1999, a private company built a tuna loining plant with more than 400 employees, mostly women, but the plant closed in 2005 after a failed attempt to convert it to produce tuna steaks, a process that requires half as many employees. Operating costs exceeded revenue, and the plant's owners tried to partner with the government to prevent closure, but government officials personally interested in an economic stake in the plant refused to help. After the plant closed, it was taken over by the government, which had been the guarantor of a $2 million loan to the business.[citation needed]

Fishing license fees (primarily for tuna) do provide noteworthy income for the government;[81] in 2015, for example, this source produced $197.8 million, in Australian dollars (AUD), although estimates for 2016 suggested that a significant decline was probable in 2016.[88][89]

Energy[edit]

On September 15, 2007, Witon Barry (of the Tobolar Copra processing plant in the Marshall Islands capital of Majuro) said power authorities, private companies, and entrepreneurs had been experimenting with coconut oil as alternative to diesel fuel for vehicles, power generators, and ships. Coconut trees abound in the Pacific's tropical islands. Copra, the meat of the coconut, yields coconut oil (1 liter for every 6 to 10 coconuts).[90] In 2009, a 57 kW solar power plant was installed, the largest in the Pacific at the time, including New Zealand.[91] It is estimated that 330 kW of solar and 450 kW of wind power would be required to make the College of the Marshall Islands energy self-sufficient.[92] Marshalls Energy Company (MEC), a government entity, provides the islands with electricity; in 2008, 420 solar home systems of 200 Wp each were installed on Ailinglaplap Atoll, sufficient for limited electricity use.[93]

Education[edit]

The Ministry of Education (Marshall Islands) operates the state schools in the Marshall Islands.[94] There are two tertiary institutions operating in the Marshall Islands, the College of the Marshall Islands[95] and the University of the South Pacific.

Transportation[edit]

The Marshall Islands are served by the Marshall Islands International Airport in Majuro, the Bucholz Army Airfield in Kwajalein, and other small airports and airstrips.[96]

Airlines include United Airlines, Our Airline, Air Marshall Islands, and Asia Pacific Airlines.[97]

Media and communications[edit]

The Marshall Islands have several AM and FM radio stations. AM stations are 1098 5 kW V7AB Majuro (Radio Marshalls, national coverage) and 1224 AFN Kwajalein (both public radio) as well as 1557 Micronesia Heatwave. The FM stations are 97.9 V7AD Majuro,[98] V7AA 96.3 FM Uliga[99] and 104.1 V7AA Majuro (Baptist religious). BBC World is broadcast on 98.5 FM Majuro.[72] The most recent station is Power 103.5 which started broadcasting in 2016.[100]

AFRTS stations include 99.9 AFN Kwajalein (country), 101.1 AFN (adult rock) and 102.1 AFN (hot AC).[101][102]

There is one broadcast television station, MBC-TV operated by the state.[103] Cable TV is available, on cable TV, most programs are shown two weeks later than in North America but news in real time can be viewed on CNN, CNBC and BBC.[104] American Forces Radio and Television also provides TV service to Kwajalein Atoll[105]

The Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority (NTA) provides telephone, cable TV (MHTV), FAX, cellular and Internet services,[106][107] the Authority is a private corporation with significant ownership by the national government.[108]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pronunciations:
    * English: Republic of the Marshall Islands /ˈmɑːrʃəl ˈləndz/
    * Marshallese: Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ ([ɑ̯ɑ͡ɒɔ̯ɔ͡ɛlʲɛbʲænʲ ɑ̯ɑ͡ɒo̯o͡ɤrˠɤɡɯ͡inʲ mˠɑɑ̯zʲɛ͡ʌɫ])
  2. ^ Wake Island is claimed as a territory of the Marshall Islands, but is also claimed as an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, with de facto control vested in the Office of Insular Affairs (and all military defenses managed by the United States military).

References[edit]

  1. ^ The largest cities in Marshall Islands, ranked by population. population.mongabay.com. Retrieved on May 25, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Marshall Islands Geography". CIA World Factbook. 
  3. ^ User, Super. "Members". rmiparliament.org. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Republic of the Marshall Islands 2011 Census Report" (PDF). Prism.spc.int. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Marshall Islands Population (2017) - Worldometers". Worldometers.info. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Marshall Islands profile - Timeline". Bbc.com. July 31, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Republic of the Marshall Islands". Pacific RISA. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b France-Press, Agence (March 1, 2014). "Bikini Atoll nuclear test: 60 years later and islands still unliveable". The Guardian. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  9. ^ The History of Mankind Archived September 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. by Professor Friedrich Ratzel, Book II, Section A, The Races of Oceania page 165, picture of a stick chart from the Marshall Islands. MacMillan and Co., published 1896.
  10. ^ Sharp, pp. 11–3
  11. ^ Wright 1951: 109–10
  12. ^ Sharp, pp. 19–23
  13. ^ Filipiniana Book Guild 1965: 46–8, 91, 240
  14. ^ Sharp, pp. 36–9
  15. ^ a b Minahan, James (2010). The Complete Guide to National Symbols and Emblems. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Press. p. 106. ISBN 9780313344978. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d Beardslee, L. A. (1870). Marshall Group. North Pacific Islands. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 33. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  17. ^ Hezel, Francis X. The First Taint of Civilization: A History of the Caroline and Marshall Islands in Pre-colonial Days, 1521–1885 University of Hawaii Press, 1994. pp. 304–06.
  18. ^ Dirk H. R. Spennemann, Marshall Islands History Sources No. 18: Treaty of friendship between the Marshallese chiefs and the German Empire (1885). marshall.csu.edu.au
  19. ^ Hezel, Francis X. (2003) Strangers in Their Own Land: A Century of Colonial Rule in the Caroline and Marshall Islands, University of Hawaii Press, pp. 45–46, ISBN 0824828046.
  20. ^ Spennemann, Dirk (1989). "Population control measures in traditional Marshallese Culture: a review of 19th century European observations". Digital Micronesia-An Electronic Library & Archive. Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, Albury New South Wales, Australia. Retrieved 1 November 2015. [permanent dead link]
  21. ^ a b "Marshall Islands. Geographic Background" (PDF). enenkio.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2009. 
  22. ^ Full text (German), Artikel 119
  23. ^ a b c d "Marshall Islands". Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance (PIAS-DG), University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. Retrieved June 11, 2010. [dead link]
  24. ^ League of Nations chronology, United Nations.
  25. ^ according to the rules of the league (article 1, section 3), the withdrawal became effective exactly two years later: pdf
  26. ^ "History". Marshall Islands Visitors Authority. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Marshall Islands". World Statesmen. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  28. ^ Dirk H.R. Spennemann. "Mili Island, Mili Atoll: a brief overview of its WWII sites". Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Nuclear Weapons Test Map", Public Broadcasting Service
  30. ^ a b "Islanders Want The Truth About Bikini Nuclear Test". Japanfocus.org. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Intro". Rmiembassyus.org. Retrieved 2017-08-22. 
  32. ^ Stephanie Cooke (2009). In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age, Black Inc., p. 168, ISBN 978-1-59691-617-3.
  33. ^ Yamada, Seiji; Akiyama, Matthew (2013-01-27). ""For the good of mankind": The legacy of nuclear testing in Micronesia". Social Medicine. 8 (2): 83–92. ISSN 1557-7112. 
  34. ^ "50 Facts About Nuclear Weapons". Brookings Institution. July 19, 2011. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Marshall atolls declare emergency ", BBC News, December 25, 2008.
  36. ^ President Obama Signs a Disaster Declaration for the Republic of the Marshall Islands | The White House. Whitehouse.gov (June 14, 2013). Retrieved on September 11, 2013.
  37. ^ Ahlgren, Ingrid; Yamada, Seiji; Wong, Allen (2014). "Rising oceans, climate change, food aid, and human rights in the Marshall Islands". Health and Human Rights. 16 (1): 69–80. ISSN 2150-4113. PMID 25618915. 
  38. ^ NEWS: Marshall Islands call for "New wave of climate leadership" at upcoming Pacific Islands Forum Climate & Development Knowledge Network. Downloaded July 31, 2013.
  39. ^ "Marshall Islands King Tide Floods – FloodList". floodlist.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  40. ^ Yamada, Seiji; Burkett, Maxine; Maskarinec, Gregory G. (2017-03-10). "Sea-Level Rise and the Marshallese Diaspora". Environmental Justice. ISSN 1939-4071. doi:10.1089/env.2016.0038. 
  41. ^ "Lives in the balance: climate change and the Marshall Islands". The Guardian. September 15, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  42. ^ "How climate change is forcing a nation to flee". Msnbc.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  43. ^ Letman, Jon (December 6, 2016). "Despite climate change exodus, some Marshall Islanders head back home". The Guardian. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  44. ^ Dept, International Monetary Fund Asia and Pacific (July 29, 2016). "Republic of the Marshall Islands: 2016 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Republic of the Marshall Islands". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved August 22, 2017 – via Google Books. 
  45. ^ Roy, Eleanor Ainge (July 15, 2017). "'Quite odd': coral and fish thrive on Bikini Atoll 70 years after nuclear tests". The Guardian. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  46. ^ a b c "Geography". Rmiembassyus.org. Retrieved 2017-08-22. 
  47. ^ Alcalay, Glenn; Fuchs, Andrew. "History of the Marshall Islands". atomicatolls.com. Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  48. ^ "Vast shark sanctuary created in Pacific". BBC News. October 3, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  49. ^ "Wake Island". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 
  50. ^ Julia Pyper, ClimateWire. "Storm Surges, Rising Seas Could Doom Pacific Islands This Century". Scientific American. 
  51. ^ "The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing". The New York Times. December 2, 2015. 
  52. ^ Stephen, Marcus (November 14, 2011). "A sinking feeling: why is the president of the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru so concerned about climate change?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  53. ^ Peter Meligard (December 28, 2015). "Perishing oO Thirst In A Pacific Paradise". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  54. ^ a b "Kwajalein Atoll Causeway Project, Marshall Islands, USA Permit Application, Discharge of Fill Material: Environmental Impact Statement". Google Books. August 22, 1986. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  55. ^ Bryan, E.H. (1965). Life in Micronesia: Birds of the Marshalls. Kwajalein, Marshall Islands: Kwajalein Hourglass. 
  56. ^ a b "Animals in Marshall Islands". Listofcountriesoftheworld.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  57. ^ MIMRA. 2008, 2009, 2010. Republic of the Marshall Islands Annual Report Part 1. Information of Fisheries, Statistics and Research. Annual Report to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Scientific Committee Fourth Regular Session. WCPFC-SC4-AR/CCM-12. Oceanic and Industrial Affairs Division, Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Majuro
  58. ^ Bromhead, D., Clarke, S., Hoyle, S., Muller, B., Sharples, P., Harley, S. 2012. Identification of factors influencing shark catch and mortality in the Marshall Islands tuna longline fishery and management implications. Journal of Fish Biology 80: 1870-1894
  59. ^ dos Reis, M.A.F. (2005). "Chondrichthyan Fauna from the Pirabas Formation, Miocene of Northern Brazil, with Comments on Paleobiogeography". Anuário do Instituto de Geociências. 28: 31–58. 
  60. ^ a b c d Bryan, E.H. (1965). Life in Micronesia: Marshall Island Insects, Part 1. Kwajalein, Marshall Islands: Kwajalein Hourglass. 
  61. ^ "Salticidae". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2017-04-10. 
  62. ^ Gwynne, S.C. (5 October 2012). "Paradise With an Asterisk". Outside Magazine. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  63. ^ Schulte, Bret (July 4, 2012). "For Pacific Islanders, Hopes and Troubles in Arkansas". The New York Times. 
  64. ^ David Vine (2006). "The Impoverishment of Displacement: Models for Documenting Human Rights Abuses and the People of Diego Garcia" (PDF). Human Rights Brief. 13 (2): 21–24. 
  65. ^ David Vine (January 7, 2004) Exile in the Indian Ocean: Documenting the Injuries of Involuntary Displacement. Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies. Web.gc.cuny.edu. Retrieved on September 11, 2013.
  66. ^ David Vine (2006). Empire's Footprint: Expulsion and the United States Military Base on Diego Garcia. ProQuest. p. 268. ISBN 978-0-542-85100-1. 
  67. ^ David Vine (2011). Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (New in Paper). Princeton University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-691-14983-7. 
  68. ^ "The World Factbook: Marshall Islands". cia.gov. Central Intelligence Agency. June 28, 2017. Retrieved July 10, 2017.  Look under tab for "People and Society".
  69. ^ a b c d International Religious Freedom Report 2009: Marshall Islands. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  70. ^ First Mosque opens up in Marshall Islands by Radio New Zealand International, September 21, 2012
  71. ^ "Defeating Diabetes: Lessons From the Marshall Islands". Todaysdietitian.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  72. ^ a b "Marshall Islands country profile". Bbc.com. July 31, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  73. ^ "Constitution of the Marshall Islands". Paclii.org. Archived from the original on January 2, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  74. ^ Giff Johnson (November 25, 2010). "Huge funeral recognizes late Majuro chief". Marianas Variety News & Views. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  75. ^ Davenport, Coral; Haner, Josh (December 1, 2015). "The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing". The New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  76. ^ United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/3, Admission of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to Membership in the United Nations, adopted 17 September 1991. Archived November 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  77. ^ General Assembly – Overall Votes – Comparison with U.S. vote lists the Marshall Islands as the country with the second highest incidence of votes. Micronesia has always been in the top two.
  78. ^ Armin Rosen (April 29, 2015). "Marshall Islands ship seized by Iran – Business Insider". Business Insider. 
  79. ^ "Iran to release cargo vessel after it pays fine – Business Insider". Business Insider. May 6, 2015. 
  80. ^ "Marshall Islands Economy 2017, CIA World Factbook". Theodora.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  81. ^ a b c "Republic of the Marshall Islands : 2016 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Republic of the Marshall Islands". Imf.org. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  82. ^ "Republic of the Marshall Islands becomes 181st ILO member State". Ilo.org. July 6, 2007. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. 
  83. ^ a b "Official Homepage of the NITIJELA (PARLIAMENT)". NITIJELA (PARLIAMENT) of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. July 2, 2014. 
  84. ^ "COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2003" (PDF). Public Law 108–188, 108th Congress. December 17, 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 26, 2007. 
  85. ^ "Copra Processing Plant • Marshall Islands Guide". Infomarshallislands.com. November 18, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  86. ^ "Copra production up on 2014 - The Marshall Islands Journal". Marshallislandsjournal.com. October 9, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  87. ^ Speedy, Andrew. "Marshall Islands". Fao.org. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  88. ^ "FISHING LICENSE REVENUES IN KIRIBATI : 2016 Report" (PDF). Mfed.gov.ki. Retrieved 2017-08-22. 
  89. ^ "Fisheries – Invest Marshall Islands". Investmarshallislands.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  90. ^ "Pacific Islands look to coconut power to fuel future growth". afp.google.com. September 13, 2007. Archived from the original on January 13, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  91. ^ College of the Marshall Islands. (PDF) . reidtechnology.co.nz. June 2009
  92. ^ College of the Marshall Islands: Reiher Returns from Japan Solar Training Program with New Ideas. Yokwe.net. Retrieved on September 11, 2013.
  93. ^ "Republic of the Marshall Islands". Rep5.eu. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  94. ^ Education. Office of the President, Republic of the Marshall Islands. rmigovernment.org. Retrieved on May 25, 2012.
  95. ^ College of the Marshall Islands (CMI). Cmi.edu. Retrieved on September 11, 2013.
  96. ^ "Republic of the Marshall Islands – Amata Kabua International Airport". Republic of the Marshall Islands Ports Authority. 
  97. ^ "Airlines Serving the Marshall Islands - RMIPA". Rmipa.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  98. ^ "Radio Majuro 979 - Listen Radio Majuro 979 online radio FM - Marshall Islands". Topradiofree.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  99. ^ "V7AA - 96.3 FM Uliga Radio Online". radio.gjoy24.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  100. ^ "Hot Radio Station • Marshall Islands Guide". Infomarshallislands.com. September 27, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  101. ^ "Marshall Islands: Radio Station Listings". Radiostationworld.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  102. ^ "Micronesia Heatwave 1557 - Listen Micronesia Heatwave 1557 online radio FM - Marshall Islands". Topradiofree.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  103. ^ "Marshall Islands profile - Media". Bbc.com. July 31, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  104. ^ "Marshall Islands facts, information, pictures - Encyclopedia.com articles about Marshall Islands". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  105. ^ "AUSTRALIA-OCEANIA : MARSHALL ISLANDS". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2017-08-22. 
  106. ^ "Internet Options • Marshall Islands Guide". Infomarshallislands.com. June 11, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  107. ^ Hasegawa. "MHTV". Ntamar.net. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  108. ^ Hasegawa. "About Us". Minta.mh. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Sharp, Andrew (1960). Early Spanish Discoveries in the Pacific. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Barker, H. M. (2004). Bravo for the Marshallese: Regaining Control in a Post-nuclear, Post-colonial World. Belmont, California: Thomson/Wadsworth.
  • Carucci, L. M. (1997). Nuclear Nativity: Rituals of Renewal and Empowerment in the Marshall Islands. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press.
  • Hein, J. R., F. L. Wong, and D. L. Mosier (2007). Bathymetry of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Vicinity. Miscellaneous Field Studies; Map-MF-2324. Reston, VA: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
  • Niedenthal, J. (2001). For the Good of Mankind: A History of the People of Bikini and Their Islands. Majuro, Marshall Islands: Bravo Publishers.
  • Rudiak-Gould, P. (2009). Surviving Paradise: One Year on a Disappearing Island. New York: Union Square Press.
  • Woodard, Colin (2000). Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas. New York: Basic Books. (Contains extended account of sea-level rise threat and the legacy of U.S. Atomic testing.)

External links[edit]

Government

General information

News media

Other