Marshall Islands Flag

REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS

Republic of the Marshall Islands Web Forum

These beautiful islands are a collection of 1,225 islands and islets of which only five are single islands. The rest are grouped into 29 coral atolls which together make up more than one-tenth of all the atolls in the world resembling strings of pearls in a blue ocean backdrop. It is no wonder they are referred to as the 'Pearl of the Pacific'.

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They lie in two parallel chains known as sunrise and sunset (Ratak and Ralik) and in true atoll form, they are narrow and low and encircle large central lagoons. All the islands have glorious white sandy beaches, tall palms and are lapped by crystal clear waters.

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Marshall Islands Map

Click on the above map for a detailed map

Of the 29 atolls, 27 are accessible by small plane (Air Marshall Islands). Majuro and Kwajalein atolls, the two population centres are serviced by both Air Marshall Islands and Continental Air Micronesia Jet Aircraft. There are also regular flights to Guam, Hawaii and Fiji.

A Marshall Islands postcard created and made available by
David and Nancy Huskins.
http://www3.uakron.edu/majuro/Majuro.html
http://www3.uakron.edu/majuro/

               

               

Below are the main islands of the Marshalls:

Ailinginae, Ailinglaplap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikar, Bikini, Bokaak, Ebon, Enewetak, Erikub, Jabwot, Jaluit, Jemo, Kili, Knox, Kwajalein, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Majuro, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namorik, Namu, Rongelap, Rongerik, Taka, Ujae, Ujelang, Utrik, Wotho and Wotje as per excellent Web site: 

UN SYSTEM-WIDE EARTHWATCH
ISLAND DIRECTORY
Islands of Marshall Islands

For further information about the origin of the Marshall Islands, please visit:

Micronesia Mythology: Marshall Islands

HISTORY

The Republic of the Marshall Islands was first settled in about 1,000 BC by people of Mayo/Polynesian stock. It was visited by Spanish navigators in the 16th century seeking a westerly route to the Spice Islands. In 1788, British sea Captain John William Marshall sailed through these atolls and proclaimed them Marshall Islands, while en route from Australia to China. In the 1800s German traders, Missionaries from Hawaii and British and American whalers visited the islands.

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Marshall Islands canoe from the Robert Louis Stevenson collection
 
 
Japan governed the islands from WWI to WW2. Following WW2, the United States serves as an administrator under the United Nations Trust Territory created for all Micronesia. The Republic of the Marshall Islands came into being and declared its Independence in 1979.

THE PEOPLE

Marshallese is the official language but English is taught in the schools and is widely spoken.

The people are softly-spoken and good natured with a rich oral tradition of chants, songs and legends. The chiefs continue to wield a great deal of authority over land ownership and usage.

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Copra and a fisheries industry are the foundation of the island's economy. However, the Government which is a unique blend of the American and British system of Government, has given strong support for tourism development and seeking other economic basis.

MAJURO

Majuro atoll, capital of the Marshall Islands, is the most developed atoll with a thriving commercial and political centre and a population of nearly 30,000. It offers visitors, diving and fishing, a cultural museum, a variety of cuisine, entertaining nightlife and is the perfect "home base" while visiting the outer islands. You can relax on your garden furniture or arrange a day trip to neighbouring Arno atoll for diving or fishing.

KWAJALEIN ATOLL

Ebeye is the Marshellese population centre on Kwajalein atoll, the largest atoll in the world depending of course on how it is defined (compared to Kiritimati (Christmas Island), Republic of Kiribati). A U.S. military base occupies the largest island in the atoll and its airport accommodates both military and commercial air traffic. Ebeye has a population of about 11,000 and provides access to some of the world's best wreck diving. Kwajalein lagoon has numerous WW2 and earlier wrecks including the famous Prinz Eugen, the escort ship to Germany's Bismark. Fishing, too, is excellent here.   

boats      wreck

Comfortable tourist accommodation can be found in Majuro and Ebeye, with traditional thatched huts available in a few of the outer atolls such as Milli. Bikini atoll was opened recently to divers and sports fishermen. The Bikini Resort will accommodate sixteen visitors in air-conditioned comfort while they experience the best wreck diving in the world and fish in waters uninhabited for fifty years. Several specialised dive resorts are soon to be built in the outer islands.

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The Marshall's climate is tropical with the average temperature 27 degrees C. and there is less than a 12 degree daily variation. High temperatures are cooled by trade winds and frequent rainfalls. Primary leisure activities include world-class scuba diving on wrecks, walls and reefs, snorkelling and sports fishing for tuna, marlin, sailfish and more as well as WW2 wreck sightseeing. 

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Visitors can also enjoy shopping for local handicrafts with an array of beautiful baskets, jewellery and decorations. The islanders are known for their weaving using pandanus leaves.

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  Marshall Islands History: The Davis Diaries 

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       (E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 3rd December 2012)

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