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Tuesday 20th March
Marshall Islands Information - Page 2
The Marshall Islands were sighted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers in the early sixteenth century.

The first Europeans to administer the Marshall Islands were the Germans who annexed the islands in 1885. The Japanese colonized the Marshalls between the beginning of the First World War and the last years of the Second World War.

The US administration began in 1947 - the islands were part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, under United Nations authority. Other members of the Trust Territory were the Caroline Islands (FSM) including Palau, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

In 1979 the US recognized the Constitution of the Marshall Islands and in 1982 the country's name changed to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).

The Marshall Islands achieved independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association with the United States: financial aid is received from the USA in return for US control over defence affairs and the right to maintain military bases. The Compact was renegotiated in 2003 and runs until 2023.

The Compact of Free Association with the USA provides the RMI with financial aid.

Many of the Marshallese are engaged in subsistence farming. Agricultural products are coconuts, melons, taro, tomatoes, breadfruit and fruits. Pigs and chickens are reared.

Revenue is gained from the sale of fishing rights.

Industries include copra, tuna processing and handicrafts. Tourism provides some foreign exchange. (2011)

Arts and crafts in the Marshall Islands include weaving and carving. Tattooing is also an art form. Song and dance is an integral part of the culture. The Mashallese have an oral tradition of transmitting history.

Basketball is played and teams attend tournaments in other countries in Oceania. The RMI also has a Baseball Federation.

Water sports include swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, sailing and deep-sea fishing.

Easter and Christmas are celebrated. Other holidays include New Year's Day - 1 January, Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day - 1 March, Constitution Day - 1 May, and Kamolol Day (Thanksgiving Day) - 7 December.

News from the Marshall Islands is available from Newslink.

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