In the western Pacific Ocean lies Palau, one of the largest countries in the island group of Micronesia. Twenty-one thousand people live on Palau's 250 islands. Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Federated States of Micronesia share maritime borders with Palau.
People from the Philippines migrated to Palau around 3,000 years ago. Europeans first visited the country in the 18th century and it became a part of the Spanish East Indies in 1885. The islands were later sold to Imperial Germany in 1899 after Spain was defeated in the Spanish-American War. Later, during World War I, Japan conquered the nation until the United States governed the area in 1947 after World War II. Palau became a sovereign nation in 1994 and is now a presidential republic with support from the United States to provide funding, defense, and social services assistance.
The population is culturally diverse as it is comprised of Japanese, Micronesian, Melanesian, and Austronesian descendants. The country has two official languages, Paluauan and English, with Japanese Sonsorolese and Tobian being classified as regional languages.