Nauru is a small island nation located in the South Pacific consisting of a mere 8 square miles of inhabitable land in Micronesia. Despite the small size of this nation, Nauru has played an important role in the history of modern society and is a popular topic for historians who have an interest in the effects of globalism on native societies. Nauru's beautiful blue waters and tropic environment make it a popular destination for travelers in search of the attractions that Micronesia has to offer with all of the modern facilities that today's travelers depend upon.
Nauru is perhaps best known for its exports of phosphate rocks during the 20th century. Phosphate is a sedimentary rock that is quite rare in most corners of the earth and is critical to a handful of crucial modern industries, most notably the phosphoric acid that is used in the production of fertilizers that are used all over the world. When it was discovered that the island of Nauru contained a great deal of natural phosphate rock during the middle of the 20th century, the British Phosphate Commission immediately began mining the resource. After Nauru gained national sovereignty, the newly independent government elected to continue allowing Western companies to mine the phosphate and passed on the profits to the citizens of Nauru. As a result, Nauru had the highest per-capita income of any nation on earth during the 1970s and 1980s.
However, the mining of phosphate rock on Nauru left a negative impact on both the natural ecosystem and the society of the island nation. By the turn of the century, the reserves of phosphate on Nauru had been depleted, and the organization that had been entrusted with managing the wealth generated by the mining had lost a great deal of the money that had been generated from phosphate exports. In order to maintain a high level of income, Nauru became a tax shelter for a wide range of unscrupulous businessmen who wished to keep their affairs away from the prying eyes of the authorities. Nauru also entered into an agreement with Australia to build a detention center that processes criminals seeking amnesty in Australia.
Despite its troubles, Nauru is a peaceful country that attracts travelers from all over the world. With a population of only around 10,000 people and a truly unique ecology, Nauru is one of the most unusual destinations in Micronesia. From deep sea fishing and diving to visiting the old phosphate mines, Nauru has something to offer just about everyone. Due to the heavy amount of trade that has gone through Nauru in recent decades, there are a number of modern facilities on the island, including luxury hotels and public transportation. When speaking with the people of Nauru about the nation's history, be aware that the topic of phosphate mining is a sensitive subject that can ignite heated debate very easily, so be sure to exercise proper discretion when breaching the topic.
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