The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is about midway between Hawaii and Australia.
First settled by Micronesian navigators, they were subsequently controlled (some say exploited) by Spain and Germany, and finally by Japan.
Prior to the beginning of World War II, the Japanese fortified some of the atolls as a defensive measure. When that war ended with Japan's defeat, the United States was given total control.
For almost 40 years the islands were under U.S. administration as the easternmost part of the United Nation's Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
The United States used some of these isolated atolls for nuclear testing between 1947 and 1962. Long term affects are yet to be totally understood, and damage claims are still in the courts to this day.
In 1986 the islands gained independence under a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Under the terms of that agreement, the U.S would provide significant financial aid, that to date now exceeds $1 billion.
The Marshall Islands include the Ratak (sunrise chain) and Ralik (sunset chain), two parallel chains of 29 coral atolls, thousands of tiny islets, and hundreds of very small low-lying islands, all scattered over a wide area of the Pacific Ocean.
The Kwajalein Atoll, with a huge central lagoon, is the largest coral atoll on the planet. The U.S. maintains a strong military presence on Kwajalein, and from here controls a missile testing range.
The clear-blue waters surrounding the Marshall Islands boasts of over 800 species of fish and 160 species of coral. The numerous offshore World War II shipwrecks add another dimension to local scuba diving and snorkeling attractions.
For additional information regarding the history of the Marshall Islands, go here.
Facts and Figures
Official Name Republic of the Marshall Islands
Capital City Majuro (20,500)
Languages Marshallese, English
Official Currency US Dollar
Currency Converter here
Religions Protestant, others
Land Area 181 sq km (70 sq miles)
Latitude/Longitude 7º 12N, 171º 06E
Highest Point 32 ft. (10 m) on Likiep
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Marshall Islands Large Color Map here
Marshall Islands Map CIA version here
Marshall Islands Outline Map here
Marshall Islands Maps at UT here
Kwajalein Atoll Map here
Oceania Maps here
Marshall Islands (Complete) information on the (GDP) overall economy, imports and exports, resources, government, population, military, transportation, and more here
Marshall Islands Embassy here
Marshall Islands Diving here
Marshallese Phrasebook here
Marshall Islands Photos here
Kwajalein Atoll Photos here
Climate Weather is hot and humid throughout most of the year, with a consistent average daily high temperature right at 80º.
Rain falls throughout the year and is heaviest in the southern atolls where totals do approach 160 inches per year. In the north, 20 inches per year is the norm. The rainy season is from May to November.
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