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PalauIn Palauan, the name of the country is Belau, which gets its name either from the Palauan word beluu, which means "village," or aibebelau, which refers to the historic people's creation story of the islands.



The people of Palau have always relied on the lands and seas for survival, but over time nearly everything else has changed. Numerous waves of immigrants over time have altered the culture and lifestyle multiple times, but the arrival of the Europeans, and Christianity, as well as modern technology, communication, and transportation have also made significant impacts.

Being fairly close to the Philippines, the lands of Palau were settled early and it seems the islands were home to numerous immigration waves. However, all these people were similar in that they relied on the land and seas to make a living and the lifestyle was heavily dependent on this. Over time the culture became more uniform, defined, and organized as these ethnically Micronesian people were a matrilineal society.

The Europeans made a number of huge changes to the people and culture of Palau. The Spanish converted most of the people to Catholicism, then the Germans took over and made the islands a thriving economic source focused on phosphate. While Catholicism vastly changed a large number of things, the Europeans as a whole slowly changed the culture and political scene due to economic progress. Many local leaders teamed with foreign powers for greater influence, money, or goods. This changed not only the political structure, but also the social structure as the matrilineal past was gone and reliance on foreign goods and a new lifestyle had begun.

Despite the changes to Palau over time, many aspects of the traditional culture and lifestyle have survived. The people remain heavily tied to the lands and remain tied to their local islands and communities. However, Christianity changed many parts of life, such as dress, and the outside influences, including technology, have stayed and are in no threat of disappearing any time in the near future.

The blue background of Palau's flag is for the surrounding Pacific Ocean, while the yellow circle represents the full moon, which is a symbol of peace, love, and tranquility.

Name: Republic of Palau
Independence: October 1, 1994
Capital: Melekeok
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Population: 21,108 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Palauan & Others
Language: Palauan & English
Religion: Catholic & Modekngei

Information for Palau was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks