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  • Hey guys, so this episode is gonna be filmed in my office because I didn't have time to book that YouTube space.

  • Ah, there's gonna be a special one. It's not very often. We cover a place like Nauru.

  • Usually we get you guys, the Geograpeeps, to help out with these videos

  • But sadly not a single Nauruan was available to contact us. No surprise.

  • I mean, there's not many in the world and it's kind of hard to find them or visit them.

  • Like, literally, this is the least visited country in the world. So NAU we cover NAURU

  • [Good pun, no punching?]

  • Hi everybody, I'm host Barb's. Yes. It's pronounced "Now-roo", not "Nah-oo-roo"

  • The Pacific Islands are always so fun to research because they really are like the hidden gems concealed within the massive expanse of seemingly endless

  • ocean and with Nauru you find a new type of gem that nobody quite knows how to classify but it's shiny

  • Let's go treasure hunting on the map now. Shall we?

  • Linguist speculate that the name Nauru may be derived from the Nauruan word Anaoero

  • Which means "I go to the beach." Of course most island nations have beaches

  • But the ones on Nauru are sectioned off in a special way

  • First of all, the country is literally just one island located on the confluence of all three oceanic regions of Oceania: Melanesia, Micronesia

  • And Polynesia, however categorically they belong to the region of Micronesia (not to be confused with the Federated States of Micronesia

  • which is a country within Micronesia. We already talked about it)

  • Anyway

  • The country is the smallest country in Oceania and only about 8.1 square miles or 21 square kilometers

  • The entire perimeter of the country is only about 12 miles or 19 kilometers long

  • That means you could literally take a nice morning jog around the entire island and make it back in time for lunch

  • Just a few hours later. The country is divided into fourteen administrative districts

  • However when election time rolls around, the country is divided into eight constituencies to send representatives to the Parliament and this is where things get weird

  • Nauru is the only country in the world that doesn't have an official capital

  • Most sources will tell you that its Yaren simply because that's where the parliament and

  • administration buildings are as well as the only airport on the island "Nauru International".

  • However, it is only the de jure capital and only listed as a main district with only about 1300 people

  • Yaren is actually the third largest town on the island. The largest actually being Arijejen in Aiwo with a whopping

  • 2,400 people and Menen in the Meneng district with about 1,400. Aside from the airport coming into Nauru by boat is nearly impossible

  • For large commercial ships as the entire country is surrounded by jagged sharp coral reefs that have been known to puncture holes

  • Which is why they have no major seaport

  • There are only two small

  • harbors able to accommodate small or medium sized boats one at Anibare on the east side at Anibare Bay and another one

  • On the town of Aiwo on the west side of the island. Right below that harbor though

  • You see these strange long extending pier-looking things and think, "Oh, isn't that like a shipping port?" Well, no

  • Those are actually really long phosphate cantilever booms that were used to transport.

  • Phosphate minerals to large ships out to sea past the coral wall.

  • There's another one further south that is currently being disassembled as neither of them are being used much anymore

  • Otherwise getting around Nauru is pretty easy

  • I mean

  • It's just one island

  • unlike those confusing

  • disjointed atolls in Kiribati or Tuvalu. Having one solid chunk of land is quite advantageous in the Pacific because it keeps you stable

  • and strong. The country has a single paved road that goes around the entire nation known as the island Ring Road

  • It takes just about an hour to go around the entire country by car

  • And if you want to take public transport a community bus goes around once every hour or so for less than a dollar in fare

  • There is only one traffic light at the airport to allow planes to cross the road into the airport terminal

  • Otherwise, you can take the rugged unpaved gravel path road

  • Shortcuts through the interior of the island to get to the other sides if you prefer. Not very popular

  • but still possible. On these paths

  • You can pass the Nauru Detention Centers which are sites that cooperate with the Australian government to detain illegal immigrants

  • We'll explain more about this later

  • The country does have three miles of rail track reserved for phosphate

  • transport and sometimes people will cling on to this train to move back and forth from the coast of Aiwo to the inland mining areas

  • Yeah, they actually have a train and it's still kind of running. Nonetheless

  • Nauru is definitely not quite the tourist hotspot. Annually the country receives on average less than a thousand tourists a year

  • sometimes as low as

  • 200. Speaking of which if you are one of the lucky few that treks over here some spots of interest might include places like

  • Yaren's Parliament building. Buada Lagoon. The Moqua Well & Caves.

  • Frigate bird games. Anabare Bay. The central plateau known as Topside. The old World War II artillery

  • bunkers near Yaren. The Linkbelt oval sportsfield where you can play sports. And of course, there's scuba diving everywhere.

  • Alright, so that pretty much rounds up this segment. Let's see what type of landscape they have on this one little island, shall we?

  • Well, there's gonna be interesting because we only have about eight square miles of land to work with

  • How can we possibly extract a complex data analysis on such a limited surface area?

  • I've been doing this show for years guys. Watch me. First of all, Nauru

  • sits on the middle of the Southern Pacific Plate only about 34 miles (56 kilometers) away from the equator. Out of all the islands in

  • Oceania, Nauru sticks out as one of the three great phosphate rock islands.

  • The first one being Kiribati's Banaba Island right next door, and Makatea Island over

  • 3,000 miles away across the International Dateline on Makatea Island in French Polynesia

  • Why do they have so much phosphate? Simple: bird poop! Over thousands of years

  • Guano droppings in the inland areas from migrating birds have accumulated making these islands super rich in the limited resource. Going back to Nauru though

  • After we pass the jagged coral reef barrier

  • You see that the entire

  • Coastal ring around Nauru about 300 meters inland is the most fertile part of the country. If you look over here in the south

  • though you'll see Buada Lagoon, the largest inland body of water

  • Nauru has no rivers or streams which means the majority people depend on either rain collection

  • storage tanks on their roofs for water or 3d salinization plants located at the National Utilities

  • Agency if you move inland further from that though

  • You'll notice the green fertile strip ends and you reach the grassy shrubby central plateau

  • Composed of coral ridges and cliffs the highest point being command ridge at about 233 feet 720 meters high

  • This is the phosphate zone where all the phosphate was mined over the past few decades. Whoo. Yeah, I mean quite a backstory, right?

  • I mean at one point in 1968

  • They actually had the highest GDP in the world after they opened up the mines

  • But now after almost all the phosphate deposits have been depleted

  • Yeah, not so much. All right, and there's a part where no one usually comes in for the physical geography section

  • However, he's not here because I kind of forgot to tell him at the last minute that we're gonna fill my house

  • Which means Ken you're gonna have to be NOAA today. Nice. Wait, is this a promotion? Yeah, no, wait, really?

  • Yeah

  • You're promoting the information about Naru to our viewers and get to what they're waiting

  • Nauru Niue that they're finite phosphate deposits will eventually run thin

  • So in order to cushion their transition period from over-dependence, they decided to invest heavily into trust funds

  • The problem was many of these funds ended up mismanage and wasteful investments almost until they went bankrupt

  • They've tried to become a finance haven, but too many controversies ensued so they had to drop it since 2004

  • They have been a cash-only exclusive economy. This means you could only use cash on the island

  • So if you visit get your major ATM transactions in order before boarding the plane

  • Because none exists on the island. Resource-wise, other than the nearly depleted phosphate reserves,

  • all they really got going for them is fishing and minor crops that grow on the island,

  • Like coconuts and fruits, and the Buada lagoon, they do practice aquaculture by raising native mill fish.

  • It's a tradition that actually predates European contact.

  • Nonetheless nearly all basic and capital goods must be imported mostly from Australia and New Zealand.

  • Otherwise with food, it gets kind of...fatty.

  • Most grocery stores have to wait six weeks for every shipment.

  • People either have to get their food from what's available on the island or stock up on non-perishables

  • that might not have the highest nutritional content.

  • A typical traditional Nauruan meal would probably include grilled or fried fish.

  • Coconut milk is used very often and possibly some pandanus or pineapple use in some way.

  • However, the majority of the country prefers to eat Western or Eastern foods regularly.

  • There are over 130 Chinese restaurants on the island, burgers, pizza, and spam fried rice are typically seen in many houses.

  • Ah spam! America invented it but Asia glorified it.

  • This typical diet has been one of the many factors that has led to Nauru becoming what

  • the World Health Organization labels as

  • "the most obese country in the world" with over 70 percent of their inhabitants

  • being categorically obese and 94 percent overweight.

  • Some of the people here though need to be big because it works to their advantage.

  • But that's a topic later we will discuss.

  • In.... DEMOGRAPHICS

  • Thank you Ken! Follow him on Instagram. Off you go now.

  • [sound of door closing]

  • Now Nauru is kind of like... I don't know what's a good analogy.

  • It's like one of those shrines in the middle of the Patagonian desert in Argentina, you know

  • They're so far out and remote very few people stop by and visit them yet as small as they are

  • They're packed with fascinating backstories. Yeah, I think that works

  • First of all,

  • the country has about 11 300 people

  • and is the third least populated nation in the world after Tuvalu and Vatican City.

  • About 60% of the people in Nauru are ethnically Nauruan,

  • about a quarter are other Pacific Islanders, 8% are European

  • and about 8% are Han Chinese.

  • They use the Australian dollar as their currency.

  • They use a type I plug outlet

  • and they drive on the left side of the road.

  • Now. Here's the thing.

  • Let's talk about the largest ethnic group, the Nauruans.

  • If you include the entire global diaspora

  • It's estimated that there are about 15,000 Nauruans in the entire world.

  • Apart from the 6,000 or so Nauruans, about a thousand live in Australia,

  • and about 8,000 in the U.S.

  • Meaning that there are actually more Nauruans outside of Nauru than in it,

  • but what exactly is a Nauruan?

  • You know what?

  • Ken is usually like the island guy?

  • So, you know what? Ken, just explain what a Nauruan is.

  • All right, Nauruans are in themselves kind of a cultural anomaly.

  • They are genetically kind of a mix between Micronesia and Polynesia.

  • They don't even know exactly where they belong.

  • Although everyone on the island speaks English. The Nauruan mother tongue is Nauruan.

  • Obviously.

  • Linguists say it is technically classified as a Micronesian language,

  • but most Micronesians can't understand them.

  • Historically, the populace prior to outside immigrations was divided to these twelve tribes.

  • Each with a matrilineal inheritance.

  • Thank you, Ken. I'll take it from here.

  • Now, in terms of the tribes,

  • they each kind of had their own section of the island

  • and developed their own unique customs.

  • One of which being the Nauruan navigational system.

  • It's a unique way of expressing cardinal direction that can only be used on the island.

  • There are four main directions that cover a quadrant of the island

  • and a fifth and six direction that traverses the interior.

  • Sadly over time many of the traditions were lost to Western influence.

  • Pictures were taken of Nauruan warriors in the 1800s

  • with armour made of thick coconut fibers

  • and puffer fish helmets.

  • Similar to the ones we talked about in the Kiribati(?) episode.

  • The traditional music style called Teigen is usually performed at celebrations.

  • Finally every so often certain fishers still practice trained frigate bird fishing.

  • Otherwise Nauruans love AFL, rugby, weightlifting.

  • Sometimes weightlifting is considered the national sport.

  • Even women take part in it

  • Keep in mind in 2001 Nauru also signed the Pacific Solution agreement with Australia

  • Which opened up a detention center to hold people that were illegally trying to enter into Australia by sea for asylum.

  • This means in addition to the population that lives there permanently

  • Nauru has a temporary fluctuating population of detainees at any given moment.

  • The highest amount of people held at once was 1233 in 2014

  • and at the end of 2018, there are about 30.

  • And speaking of dates and times, History!

  • In the quickest way, I can put it:

  • Micronesian and Polynesians settle in and mix.

  • They have babies.

  • Boom! Nauruans are born.

  • Twelve tribes are set.

  • British whalers stop by and start trading.

  • Boom! Tribal war in 1878.

  • Germans come in and annex it.

  • They establish kings.

  • Phosphate discovered by this dude.

  • World War 1, Australia captures it.

  • Influenza epidemic. Japan takes over in World War 2.

  • They relocate a ton of Naurans to Chuuk Island.

  • Australia fights them off. About 800 Nauruans repatriate back to Nauru.

  • 1968 independence, they get super rich!

  • But then kind of lose it all.

  • Current dealings with Australia to move forward.

  • And here we are today!

  • Now this is kind of a part where I talk about notable famous people and it's interesting because

  • Almost all the famous people from Nauru have held a position in government. Yeah, it gets interesting!

  • So here we go King Aweida.

  • Hammer DeRoburt.

  • Marlene Moses. Keiren keke. David Adeang.

  • Itte Detenamo. Alopua Petoa. Yukio Peter.

  • Rianna Solomon

  • Yeah, and their former president was an Olympic athlete and he won seven gold medals at the Commonwealth Games

  • Then he resigned because of a scandal but look at him left!

  • Speaking of the Commonwealth and activities with other countries abroad

  • [jingle] Friendzone!

  • When it comes to diplomacy Nauru is kind of like in the middle of so many

  • Tug-of-wars and they don't really care who says what just as long as you can kind of invest in the nation

  • They'll be happy from one

  • They generally get along with their other ocean neighbors like Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Solomon Islands.

  • Fiji, however, kind of acts as like their hub and gateway to the world.

  • Most flights to Nauru operate through Fiji and most Nauruans travel to

  • Fiji to further invest in their schools and education.

  • When it comes to the big guys though Nauru has a bit of controversy

  • they are one of the only four nations that recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent nation states to which Russia in

  • appreciation gave over fifty million dollars in humanitarian aid in return 1981

  • They did once recognize the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic but that in 2000, they withdrew the tie in favor to signing Accords with Morocco

  • Who wanted to invest in there already depleting phosphate mines.

  • When they joined the UN they had first recognized and supported

  • Taiwan as a nation state, but then in 2002

  • They switched that up and signed an agreement to recognize the PRC instead which really pissed off Taiwan and they cut ties

  • One year later, though Nauru was like, oh shoot. I'm sorry

  • I changed my mind again and they closed their embassy in Beijing prompting a reestablishment of ties to Taiwan in 2005.

  • When it comes to their best friends, however