Marshall Islands history
1. European discovery
When the Spanish seafarer Álvaro de Saavedra sighted
the islands of what is now the Republic of the Marshall
Islands in 1529, they were probably already settled for
over 2000 years. In 1788, the British John Marshall,
after whom the islands were later named, began mapping
the region. From the beginning of the 19th century, the
islands were researched and populated.
From 1860, German merchants started trading in
coconut oil and copra from Jaluit (the main island of
the western island chain / Ralik Chain) after they had
concluded a contract for the economic use of the island
with the chief of the local people.
Although the islands were actually under Spanish
sovereignty, the Marshall Islands were declared a German
protectorate in 1899. In the same year, the German
Empire bought the west of the Caroline and Mariana
Islands and the island of Palau from the Spanish kingdom
for a total of around 18 million gold marks. German
trading companies had a lively relationship with all the
islands of Micronesia. The deposits and branches of the
companies were largely destroyed by a typhoon in 1905.
2. The two world wars and their consequences
When the First World War broke out, the Marshall
Islands were occupied by Japanese troops. After the end
of the war, they became the official trust area of the
League of Nations under Japanese administration.
During the Second World War there was fierce fighting
between Japanese and US troops for the islands in the
region, over which the USA could prevail. After the end
of the war, the islands, together with the Carolines and
Palau, became a trust area of the United Nations
(successor organization of the League of Nations), this
time under US administration.
The United States established several military bases
on each atoll. From 1946 to 1958, several nuclear
weapons tests were carried out on the Bikini and
Eniwetok Atolls, which resulted in considerable
radiation exposure. Despite ordered forced relocations,
people were injured. In the 1960s, the Kwajalein Atoll
was developed into a test area for interceptor and
intercontinental ballistic missiles and is still used
In the 1970s, compensation payments for the military
use and nuclear pollution of the islands were agreed
between the Marshall Islands and the United States.
3. Independent state
In 1979 the Marshall Islands received internal
autonomy and their own republican constitution.
According to AbbreviationFinder,
detached the islands from the UN trust area. Amata Kabua
was elected the first head of government of the republic
by parliament. In November 1986, the Marshall Islands
entered into a free association agreement with the
United States, giving them limited sovereignty. The
treaty granted the United States, who were also
responsible for the defense of the islands, military
rights of use on the islands. In return, the Marshall
Islands were guaranteed economic and development aid
within the contract period.
In 1991 the Republic of the Marshall Islands became a
member of the United Nations (UN). In 1992, Amata Kabua
was reaffirmed as head of state and government. Among
other things, he explained the expansion of tourism and
the reduction of public debt as his political goals. In
1993 Kabua entered into an economic contract with the
People's Republic of China for the expansion of the
fishing fleet and fish processing industry.
After the death of Amata Kabua in January 1997, his
cousin Imata Kabua took over the office of head of
state. He also announced the struggle against rising
foreign debt. In January 2000, Kessai H. Note took over
the office of Head of State and Government.
To reduce the Republic's high levels of debt and
dependence on US economic aid, the Marshall Islands
leadership tried to attract foreign investors into the
country through cheap taxes. In December 2000, the
island nation, like many other small states, appeared on
the so-called "black list" of the OECD (Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development) as one of those
countries that were accused of money laundering and / or
unfair taxation policies. In October 2001, the Marshall
Islands' free association agreement with the United
States expired in 1986 and was renegotiated. The
Republic is still economically dependent on the United
President Litokwa Tomeing was overthrown in October
2009 as part of a vote of no confidence. Jurelang
Zedkaia (former spokesman for the parliament) was
elected as the new president. Christopher Loeak replaced
him in 2012.