Palau, located about 7° north of the equator between Guam and the Philippines, is an archipelago with more than 300 islands, some volcanic in origin and others of porous limestone, stretching for about 325 miles. Only nine of these islands are currently inhabited.
The origin of Palauan civilization dates as far back as 3000 years. Ancient ruins of stone monoliths and terraces scattered throughout Palau stand as a reminder of this mysterious past. It is believed that Palau’s ancestors were seafaring people originating from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. While Melanesian and European influences can be seen in Palauan art and culture, Palau's more recent past from Spain, Germany, Japan and the United States can also be seen. In fact, one of the bloodiest battles of WWII took place on Peleliu. The thousands of lives lost during those long months are still remembered by many on both sides of the war.
In recent years, Palau has adapted to an international economy. Yet most Palauans still identify with their traditional roots. The most noticeable of which is the people’s connection with the sea. The waters surrounding Palau are teeming with sealife, from the smallest and most delicate nudibranch to reef sharks and manta rays, its no wonder Palauans have developed such a strong connection with the sea.
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