Mount Ngerchelchuus (242 m) is the highest point in the Republic of Palau.
Palau is part of the Caroline Island chain in the Pacific Ocean.
The Republic of Palau belongs to an area in the Pacific known as Micronesia. (The islands of the Pacific are usually divided into three areas: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia).
Micronesia includes Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Micronesia means small islands.
It is thought that settlement in Palau dates back over four thousand years.
European explorers first sighted the Caroline Islands in 1500.
In 1783 Henry Wilson, an English captain, was shipwrecked on a reef off the coast of Palau. Wilson and his crew rebuilt their ship with the help of islanders.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century British and American whalers began visiting the Caroline Islands.
Spain claimed the Caroline Islands (Palau and FSM) in 1855.
Following the Spanish-American War, the islands were sold to Germany (1899).
Palau was occupied by the Japanese in the First World War.
Administration of Palau by the USA began in 1947 - the islands became part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, under United Nations authority.
In 1979 Palau, and the combined States of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap (the Federated States of Micronesia), gained separate status.
The Republic of Palau came into existence in 1981.
The first president of the Republic of Palau was assassinated in 1985.
Palau became independent under a 50-year Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the US in 1994: financial aid is received from the USA in return for US control over defence affairs and the right to establish military bases.
In 2020 Palau became the first country to ban sunscreen which is toxic to marine life and harmful to coral.
Paulau is affected by climate change; rising sea water, threat to low-lying coastal infrastructure and the increased strength of typhoons.