Well thanks GordieMay for keeping us all updated with the news. I do confess that I missed this talk event. Although it seems to have been very successful.
Here's link to the Oceans Conference web site
. (Yep Palau
is dot pw.)
Certainly good timing with the recent announcement that China
has closed a security
pact with the Soloman Islands, right under the noses, and seemingly a total surprise to the Govts of Australia
, NZ and the US.
Palau is a tiny country, less than 500 sq km of land but spread over a vast area of ocean. Population less than 20,000. I can't but wonder where the 500 plus delegates all stayed in the tiny capital of Koror, population 14,000.
A great destination
for cruisers, the little country has a fascinating history
. It was originally grabbed by the Spanish in the 1500s, along with the Philippines
, and what we know today as Palau (and the Carolines) was known for centuries as the Spanish East Indies.
Fun fact, Sonsorol, one of Palau's island chains was actually spotted and charted by Magellan
in 1522. He named them San Jaun.
But in 1899 the Spanish sold
it lock stock and smoking barrel to the Germans for 25 million pesetas (equivalent to 17 million Marks). Isn't it strange how countries aren't bought and sold
today. The US could have done well if they'd just sold Afghanistan, maybe they tried and couldn't find a buyer. Perhaps buying
and selling countries will come back in fashion?
On a more serious note it's obvious how poor little Palau was a victim of Great Power
Colonialism. I find it interesting to hear right wing US and now English
conservatives talk of 'Replacement Theory' being carried out (or planned to do so) by their opposition. For those living in countries that were all once colonies, Colonislisation was Replacement Theory in practice. And the local people were given Christianity. And whilst their eyes were closed as they prayed, they were given a Bible and the immigrants took everything they had. Happy days!
But as we all know the Germans lost
World War One and so all their toys were taken from them. The League of Nations stupidly gave the country as a gift to Japan
. And of course that didn't work
out so well. From Palau the Japanese were able to assemble their invasion forces for the Philippines
. The US forces invaded the country in 1944, effectively wresting away control.
But then Japan lost
World War Two and so the USA was able to keep the toys won in bloody battle. Finally, in 1994, Uncle Sam let the little country become an independent nation state.
It would be interesting to know why the country didn't become a US state and was the countries population (before independence) US citizens? And so have they given that up? Presumably many Palauans served in the US military?
But for the yacht cruiser the country holds some wonderful charms. Certainly on my Bucket List I'm determined to spend some time at Rock Islands.