The world’s smallest independent republic, and previously known as Pleasant Island, the tiny little republic of Nauru is a small island in the middle of the South Pacific, just south of the Marshall Islands, and northeast of Australia. The Republic was first put on the map due to the phosphate deposits discovered in the early 20th century. These deposits covered around 90% of the island, and during World War I were mined heavily by Australian forces, subsequently becoming a dependent territory until the Republic gained its independence in 1968. Unfortunately, these phosphate reserves have been being depleted at a rapid pace, and the economy of the island has slumped considerably in the 21st century. It is expected that the phosphate reserves will be completely exhausted sometime before 2050.
At first glance, it might appear to be much to see on Nauru. And while it’s true that the interior of the island is fairly bleak, with nothing more than mined-out land that will take decades—if not longer—to rehabilitate, the coastal regions still boast a wide variety of sea life, sandy beaches, beautiful green cliffs, and coastal reefs that make for idyllic diving conditions. World War II history fanatics will also find themselves pleasantly surprised at the variety of Japanese structures scattered around the island, and history buffs who enjoy the infrastructure of mining will find the skeletal remains dotting the landscape not only remarkable, but truly epic in scope.
There is no official capital, and the island is small enough that the road which encompasses the perimeter is 19 km in length. While the official language is Nauruan, English is not only widely understood and spoken, but used for almost all of their commercial dealings. Supplies are delivered from Australia every 6 to 8 weeks. As a result, medical facilities are basic at best, and there aren’t any luxury accommodations where you can sit down and order a surf and turf meal.