The first settlement on Palau probably took place some
2,500 years ago by the Indonesian archipelago. After the
Spaniards visited the islands in 1543, Palau came under
Spanish control. The formal annexation was made in 1886.
Germany bought the islands in 1899, and then they,
together with the Marshall Islands, were known as German
Micronesia. In 1914 occupied Japan territory and
administered it as a mandate under the League of Nations
after the First World War. US forces conquered Palau in
1944, and Japanese who had settled on the islands were
Islands was in 1947 a trust territory under UN, managed
by the United States. In 1982, an agreement was negotiated
to give Palau independence, but still close ties with the
United States. The agreement was submitted to the referendum
several times, but due to strong opposition against part of
the agreement that gave the US the right to storage and
transport of nuclear weapons, it was not achieved 3
/ 4 majority as the constitution required. After
the constitutional amendment, the agreement was passed in
1993, with a simple majority in the number eight referendum.
In 1994, the independence agreement was put into effect, and
Palau joined the UN.
Palau's foreign policy is strongly influenced by the
Compact of Free Association agreement with the United
States. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Palau. The agreement states that the United States will
take care of Palau's defense, and that the Americans, in
return, should be able to establish military bases on Palau.
However, the United States has promised not to use this
right in peacetime. Prior to the Iraq War of 2003, the
United States received an offer from Palau to establish an
airbase without this being realized.
In addition to the US, relations with Taiwan and Japan
are important. After establishing diplomatic relations with
the two in the year 2000, they have contributed with large
investments and substantial financial assistance to Palau.