Nauru Islands II.
Three thousands years ago, the island started to be colonized with ancestors of contemporaneous Polynesians and Micronesians, crossing the ocean by means of their unstable canoes. The island was discovered in 1798 (by chance for the Europeans) by John Fern, British whaler during his trip from New Zealand towards Chinese coasts. He named it as „Pleasant Islands“, according to its attractive countryside and friendly character of aborigines. Nevertheless, the whalers, slave-dealers, wood-cutters and pirates were the only Europeans, visiting the island for the next fifty years.
In 1888, Nauru Island was, together with the other islands, occupied by Germany and the territory became a part of German Marshall Islands. Anyway, after Germany´s defeat during 1st World War, the island became a part of British Mandate Territory, and was handed over Australian Administration. Later, in 1942, the island was seized by Japanese. Local population (1200 persons) was moved to Truk Island (Caroline Islands), in order to do forced works there, and nearly 500 persons from these emogrants lost their life in concentration camps. After 2nd World War, Nauru Islands remained under Australian Administration, as protected area of United Nations, and the islands obtained its total independence early in 1968, when it was joined, under special conditions, to British Commonwealth.
After 1900, when great phosphate layers were discovered in the islands, foreign companies started to excavate it. Till 1970, when the excavation minings were nationalized, Nauru Islands became one of most wealthy states (inhabitant´s rate). The education, sanitary matters as well as the other services were granted for local inhabitants free of charge. However, as a consequence of phosphates excavations, which led to ecological devastation of great part of the islands, and extreme indebtness at the same time, there was being prepared a transfer of local inhabitants to one small island, situated at north coast of Australia.
On the area of Nauru Islands, there were to be found great guano finding places. Guano is a dung of sea-birds and bats, gathered there into immens layers within hundred of years. From ecological point of view, it is absolutely harmless material of nature origin, which is being used, owing to its high contents of phosporus and ammonia, for production of manure (dung). So, guano is very valuated raw material. The biggest finding places are situated in Nauru Islands and Chile.
The excavation of guano and phospates started at the beginning of 19th century. In the course of 20th century, Nauru Islands became one of the welthiest countries of the world in inhabitant´s rate. However, uncontrolled mining caused quick exhaustion of finding places. The nature and life environment were destroyed. Now, the islands remind „moon countryside“, with the exception of narrow coastal belt.
Text: Maxim Kucer
Translation: ing. Jan Jonáš
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