Nauru is the world’s third smallest country by land area, with only 21 square kilometers. With only 11,347 inhabitants, it is regarded as Oceania’s least populated nation. For a while, the economy of the island nation was nearly completely dependent on phosphate extraction from the droppings left by seabirds. However, once the deposits were severely depleted, the country experienced an economic downfall and large-scale emigration.
Christianity is the largest religion practiced in Nauru. The majority of Nauru’s Christians (two-thirds) are Protestants while Roman Catholics make up one-third of the Christian population.
The Largest Religion In Nauru
Nauru was initially inhabited by Polynesians and Micronesians about 3,000 years back. The first European to visit Nauru was John Fearn from Britain. He landed on the island in 1798. Gradually, Europeans started settling in Nauru. The locals traded food with them in exchange for firearms and alcohol. The former was used to fight the tribal wars. Gradually, the control of Nauru passed into the hands of the Europeans and Christianity became a popular religion on the island. The Nauru Congregational Church has the highest number of followers in the country. As of 2011, 35.71% of the country’s population are affiliated to this Church.
Nauruan Indigenous Religion
Prior to the introduction of Christianity in Nauru by Westerners, the people of the region practiced their indigenous beliefs. The Nauruan Indigenous Religion is a monotheistic belief system. Eijebong is the female deity worshipped by adherents of this religion. The indigenous believers follow their own traditional cosmology. Ancestral worship is an important part of the religion. Altars are built outside the homes where food is offered in honor of the family ancestors. According to the believers, Areop-Enap, a spider, created the earth and the sky. Today, only a few individuals in Nauru adhere to this religion.
Other Religions Practiced In Nauru
About 3 to 4% of the population of Nauru are ethnic Chinese. They primarily adhere to Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Other religions like Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism also have a small presence in the country. Only about 0.1% of the population, roughly about 10 individuals, adhere to each of these faiths.