Marshall Islands

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MARSHALL ISLANDS is an archipelago of over 1,000 atolls and islets in eastern Micronesia to the northwest of Kiribati in the western Pacific Ocean, which were almost uninhabited until the 1880s. The cli­mate is tropical maritime with little variation in temperature, and rainfall is at its heaviest from July to October.

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The islands have undergone numerous changes of sovereignty. Germany bought them from Spain, and then they fell under Japanese rule until the Second World War when the USA captured them. In 1947, they became a trusteeship of the USA, and they achieved full independence in 1979.

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The republic remains in free association with the USA, who have retained military bases on the islands (the Bikini Atoll used as a nuclear testing area in 1946). Payment of rent by the USA contributes to the country’s economy, which otherwise depends upon agriculture and fishing, with copra as the main export.

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