BELAU / PALAU
PALAU, OFFICIALLY THE REPUBLIC OF PALAU
(PALAUAN: BELUU ER A BELAU) emerged from United Nations trusteeship (administered by the United
States) in 1994. In English, the name is sometimes spelled Belau in
accordance with the native pronunciation. It was formerly also spelled Pelew.
In 1885 Palau
became part of the Spanish East Indies, along with the Mariana Islands, the
Caroline Islands and the Marshall Islands. They were all administered from
In 1914 Japan
incorporated the islands as an integral part of its empire, establishing the
Nanyo-cho government with Koror Island as the capital.
In 1947, the
United Nations decided the United States would administer Palau as part of
the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1979, Palauans voted against
joining the Federated States of Micronesia because of language and cultural
its own constitution in 1981, and the governments of the United States and
Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association in 1986, similar to compacts
that the United States had entered into with the Federated States of
Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The compact entered into
force on October 1, 1994, concluding Palau’s transition from trusteeship to
independence as the last portion of the Trust Territory of the Pacific
Islands to gain its independence.
The seal of state continues the seal for the district of Belau, adopted 1955. It shows the traditional Bai, a meeting-house used for the gatherings of the representatives of the people and for festivities. It stands on stones representing the 15 and actually 16 states of the country.
The Bai is surrounded by the name of the National Congress of Belau, known as Olbiil Era Kelulau which means “The House of the Whispered Decisions”. Below is the name of the republic.
There are different versions of the seal, the oldest being black and white and with 15 stones and with the name of the country spelled Belau. Later the name was changed in Palau and the number of stones augmented to 16.
A coloured version of the seal is in the Government House behind the presidential chair.
ð See illustration in the head of this essay
The seals of the President, the Vice-president and of the Supreme Court are adapted versions of the national seal.
· The seal of the President and the Vice-President shows the Bai with banner in a new rendering (and with 16 stones), surrounded by two palmbranches, the date of the adoption of the Constitution in roman cyphers: MCMLXXXI. The legend is changed accordingly into OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT / VICE-PRESIDENT Ê REPUBLIC OF PALAU Ê, like this:
· The seal of the Supreme Court shows the Bai and a balance, surrounded by the words OFFICIAL SEAL in chief and 16 blue five-pointed stars separated by the date 1981. On the bordure is the legend: SUPREME COURT REPUBLIC OF PALAU, like this:
All states of Palau have flags and seals. The seals are amongst others on the license plates of motorvehicles. The flags are as follows:
© Hubert de Vries 2009-11-20
) Hesmer, K.-H.: Flaggen und Wappen der Welt. Bertelsmann Lexicon-Verlag. Gütersloh, 1992. Other information: Internet