Palau History


Figure 1.-- This is a class at a Catholic missionary school on Koror, Palau, during 1910. This was during the German colonial period. We think that is the Kaiser's portrait over the map. We are not sure about the nationality of the missionaries.

Palau was settled fairly recently. There are no written records, but historians believe humans first reached Palau, probably from the Philippines (about 2000 BC). A pygmy population was reported on the island, but disappeared (about 1100 AD). Linguists trace the modern population to the Sunda Islands (Malay Archepeligo). The Spanish colonized the nearby Philippines (16th century), but showed little interest in Palau. British traders were active (18th century). The Spanish showed more interest (19th century.) Pope Leo XIII claimed Spainís rights over the entire Caroline Islands to preclude a German seizure (1885). Spanish missionaries (Capuchin priests) established two churches. The Spanish were able to finally end inter-village wars. The Spanish after being defeated by the Americans in the Spanish-American War (1898) sold Palau and most of the rest of the Caroline Islands to Germany which at the time was expanding its Pacific colonial empire (1899). The Germans began exploiting the islands' natural resources. They implemented a forced labor system which required native labor work the phosphate mines in Angaur. The Germans also organized plantation and planted coconuts rather than relying on natural coconut palms. The German colonial authorities also began reforming island culture. They banned the month-long traditional mur feast, seeing is as a waste of time and adversely affecting production at German-owned mines and plantations. The Japanese after joining the Btiish in World War I gained control of Palau and the islands became a League of Nations Trusteeship. Japan also worked on the islands' economic development, but in a more balanced way than the Germans. The Japanese established free public and vocational schools for the Palauans. The Japanese had a huge impct on Oalu. They developed a market economy for the first time. As part of this process, property was transferred from the ckanb to the individual. Palau became important in World War II because of its location off the Philippines. After the American victory in the Marianas (June-July 1944), it became clear that the next American offensive would be to retake the Philippines. The United States in preparation for the invasion of the Philippines wanted a secure logistical base. American forces attacked Peleliu (September 1944). What was anticipated to be a quick campaign turned into horendous, protracted battle (September-November 1944). The Japanese having anticipated an American invasion, heavily garrisoned the Islands and dug into the rugged terraine. The fighting continued for more than 2 months (November 1944). Many military historians judge the invasion to have been unecessary and a costly mistake. More than 2,000 Americans died in the fighting. The 10,000 Japanese garrison on Peleliu fought to the death. After the War, Japanese civilians were repatriated. The United States administerted Palau as a United Nations Trusteeship. Four of the U.N. Central Pacific Trust Territory districts formed a single federated Micronesian state (1979). The Marshall Islands and Palau declined to participate in the Federation. Palau as the the western-most cluster of the Caroline Islands (Kerabati) opted for independent status. (The rest of the Carolines and Gilbert islands became Kerabati.) The Republic of Palau was proclaimed (1981). Palau then signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States (1982). After eight referendums, the Compact was ratified (1993). The U.N. granted Palau independence (1994).

Early History

Palau was settled fairly recently. There are no written records, but historians believe humans first reached Palau, probably from the Philippines (about 2000 BC). A pygmy population was reported on the island, but disappeared (about 1100 AD). Linguists trace the modern population to the Sunda Islands (Malay Archepeligo).

Spanish Colonial Era

The Spanish colonized the nearby Philippines (16th century), but showed little interest in Palau. British traders were active (18th century). The Spanish showed more interest (19th century.) Pope Leo XIII claimed Spainís rights over the entire Caroline Islands to preclude a German seizure (1885). Spanish missionaries (Capuchin priests) established two churches. The Spanish were able to finally end inter-village wars.

German Colony

The Spanish after being defeated by the Americans in the Spanish-American War (1898) sold Palau and most of the rest of the Caroline Islands to Germany which at the time was expanding its Pacific colonial empire (1899). The Germans began exploiting the islands' natural resources. They implemented a forced labor system which required native labor work the phosphate mines in Angaur. The Germans also organized plantation and planted coconuts rather than relying on natural coconut palms. The German colonial authorities also began reforming island culture. They banned the month-long traditional mur feast, seeing is as a waste of time and adversely affecting production at German-owned mines and plantations.

Japanese Control

The Japanese after joining the Btiish in World War I gained control of Palau and the islands became a League of Nations Trusteeship. Japan also worked on the islands' economic development, but in a more balanced way than the Germans. The Japanese established free public and vocational schools for the Palauans. The Japanese had a huge impct on Oalu. They developed a market economy for the first time. As part of this process, property was transferred from the ckanb to the individual. The isolated territory once ruled by Chief Ibedul, Koror, became the administrative center of all Japanese possessions in the South Pacific (1922). The Japanese increased the population which reached a record level of 40,000 people. Fewer than 10 percent, however, were Palauans.

World War II

Palau became important in World War II because of its location off the Philippines. After the American victory in the Marianas (June-July 1944), it became clear that the next American offensive would be to retake the Philippines. The United States in preparation for the invasion of the Philippines wanted a secure logistical base. American forces attacked Peleliu (September 1944). What was anticipated to be a quick campaign turned into horendous, protracted battle (September-November 1944). The Japanese having anticipated an American invasion, heavily garrisoned the Islands and dug into the rugged terraine. The fighting continued for more than 2 months (November 1944). Many military historians judge the invasion to have been unecessary and a costly mistake. More than 2,000 Americans died in the fighting. The 10,000 Japanese garrison on Peleliu fought to the death.

U.N. Trust Territory

After the War, Japanese civilians were repatriated. The United States administerted Palau as a United Nations Trusteeship. Four of the U.N. Central Pacific Trust Territory districts formed a single federated Micronesian state (1979). The Marshall Islands and Palau declined to participate in the Federation. Palau as the the western-most cluster of the Caroline Islands (Kerabati) opted for independent status. (The rest of the Carolines and Gilbert islands became Kerabati.)

Republic of Palau (1981)

The Republic of Palau was proclaimed (1981). Palau then signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States (1982). After eight referendums, the Compact was ratified (1993). The U.N. granted Palau independence (1994).







HBC






Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Palau page]
[Return to the Main Oceania page]
[Return to the Oceania history]
[Return to the World War II campaign]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]





Created: 7:56 PM 2/27/2012
Last updated: 10:50 PM 9/20/2016