Marshall Islands Overview
|Republic of the Marshall
|Form of government
||UTC + 12h
|Telephone area code
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is located in
the western Pacific and consists of 34 atolls with a
total of around 1,200 islands. In two roughly parallel
rows, the islands extend over a length of around 1,200
km in a northwest-southeast direction. The state's land
area is 181 km², including the sea area it is around 1.5
million square kilometers. The Marshall Islands border
Kiribati in the south and the Federated States of
Micronesia in the west.
The eastern chain of islands (Ratak = sunrise)
consists of 16 partially large atolls (Mili, Majuro,
Maloelap, Wotje, Likiep), the western row of islands
(Ralik = sunset) has 18 atolls (including Kwajalein,
Bikini, Eniwetok, Jaluit, Ailinglapalap, Rongelap). The
largest of the atolls is the Kwajalein Atoll with 97
islands. All islands protrude just a few meters above
sea level. They were created from corals that were built
on a volcanic cone sunken in the sea. Global warming,
which has led to a steady rise in sea levels, predicts
that experts will flood some of the Marshall Islands by
the middle of this century.
Three small islands of the Majuro Atoll, which are
connected by dams, form the capital Dalap-Uliga-Darrit,
which extends over a length of about 5 km, but is only
about 200 m wide.
The Marshall Islands have a tropical climate with
high temperatures all year round. The average is 26 ˇăC
on the north atolls and about 28 ˇăC on the south. The
annual rainfall is regionally different due to the
north-south expansion and is between 2 500 and 3 400 m.
Much of the rainfall falls from April to November, while
it is drier from December to March. Tropical cyclones
occur between September and November.
Flora and fauna
Due to the nutrient-poor soil, the vegetation in the
Marshall Islands is poor in species. Especially coconut
palms, screw (pandanus) and breadfruit trees grow here,
mangroves occur on the coasts.
The only native mammals are bats. Numerous seabirds
such as shearwater, albatross, gannets, seagulls,
frigate and tropical birds inhabit the coastal regions.
The underwater world in the coral reefs is also rich in
Around 65,000 people live in the Marshall Islands,
two-thirds of them on the Majuro and Kwajalein atolls.
25 of the 34 atolls are inhabited. The Bikini and
Eniwetok Atoll were heavily exposed to radiation due to
the nuclear weapons tests carried out by the United
States in the years 1946 to 1958 and were uninhabitable
for decades. After disinfection measures, both islands
have been declared habitable again since 1998, but no
official investigation results are available on any
remaining radiation hazard.
Despite a tendency to emigrate, population growth is
3.3%; the residents of the islands live to average 70
years. They are 97% Micronesian descent. Descendants of
American, German and Japanese immigrants form
minorities. Almost all residents of the islands are
committed to Christianity (over half of the population
is Protestant), and traditional religions are sometimes
associated with it. The official languages are English
and "Marshallese" or Kajin-Majol, which is one of the
Micronesian languages. According to COUNTRYAAH,
the literacy of the population is
given as 93%.
According to the 1979 constitution, the Marshall
Islands are a sovereign presidential republic. The head
of state is the President, who is also head of the
government (Christopher Loeak since January 2012). He is
elected by Parliament for a four-year term and appoints
his own cabinet.
The parliament consists of a chamber (Nitijela) with
33 deputies who are elected directly by the people for
four years. The Council of Oriij with twelve members has
an advisory function. There are no political parties,
but there are several interest groups that influence the
Through a free association agreement (since 1983),
the United States represents the republic's defense
interests and maintain military bases on the islands. In
return, the Marshall Islands receive extensive financial
The Marshall Islands are divided into 34
The Marshall Islands are heavily dependent on US
financial assistance, which is provided on the basis of
a free association contract. Its own economic strength
is low. About a third of the population is unemployed.
The most important economic sectors are agriculture
and fishing. Coconut oil, copra and fish are the main
export items of the Republic. For their own use,
tomatoes, melons, breadfruit and bananas are grown. Food
has to be imported.
With the exception of phosphate deposits, the islands
have no significant raw materials. The industry is
poorly developed and focuses on the processing of
agricultural products and the production of textiles.
High quality handicrafts are made on a small scale.
The tourism industry, which is currently being
developed, currently generates almost 70% of gross
domestic product (GDP). Diving tourism is a focus due to
the large number of coral reefs and lagoons and the
numerous shipwrecks from the Second World War. With the
establishment of the world's largest sanctuary for
sharks, the government is trying to further emphasize
this aspect. Sport fishermen have also discovered the
Marshall Islands as an area with good conditions.
The USA, Japan and Australia are the most important
trading partners for both exports and imports (mineral
fuels, food, consumer goods, machinery, vehicles).
The currency is the US dollar.