May 17 – Constitution Day in Nauru

Posted on May 17, 2017

Recently, we discussed the small nation (small in land area and population - it's not small in "scattered over the surface of the Earth" measurements!) of the Federated States of Micronesia, which celebrated its Constitution Day.

Well, not all of the islands of Micronesia are gathered into that nation. Some examples of other Micronesian nations are Palau and Kiribati and today's constitution-celebrant, Nauru.

This island nation is waaayy small. It's just one island, with about 21 square km (8 square miles) in area. The island is surrounded by a coral reef - so much so that there is no good seaport on the island. (There are a few breaks in the reef that allow small boats to approach the island.)

Nauru is a phosphate rock island. Phosphate is useful in fertilizers and to make supplements in animal feed; phosphorous is also used in certain chemical industries. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the strip-mining of phosphates going full-tilt, Nauru was the wealthiest nation, per person, in the world.

Old cantilevers are rusting in the ocean
surrounding Nauru, part of the phosphate
mining-and-export operations of the past.
But now most of Nauru's phosphates are gone. The wealth is mostly gone, too. 

And the ugly mining operations devastated 80% of the land and killed off about 40% of the marine life! 

In its need for some source of income, Nauru has become a tax haven and money-laundering center. Also, Nauru has accepted money from the Australian government to host refugees and asylum-seekers in the Nauru Regional Processing Center. I am sad to report that the conditions there are horrific, and there have been riots, hunger-strikes, and human rights violations.  

The pinnacles in the water make for an unusual and quite lovely
beach...but it makes ENJOYING the beach and ocean unsafe. 

During World War II, Japan took over Nauru, and there is
still wreckage left from the war. Here you see artillery that was
used to shoot down Allied airplanes.


Also on this date:

Galician Literature Day

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