Nauru, historically known as Pleasant Island, is an island republic and microstate in Oceania's Central Pacific. Its official name is the Republic of Nauru (Nauruan: Repubrikin Naoero). Banaba Island in Kiribati lies 300 kilometers (190 miles) to the east. It is also 1,300 kilometers (810 miles) northeast of the Solomon Islands, east-northeast of Papua New Guinea, southeast of the Federated States of Micronesia, and south of the Marshall Islands. Nauru is the world's third-smallest country, behind Vatican City and Monaco, with a land area of about 21 km2 (8.1 sq mi), making it both the smallest republic and the smallest island nation. It has a population of roughly 10,000 people, making it the world's second-smallest (excluding colonies and overseas territories).
Nauru was acquired and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late nineteenth century after being settled by people from Micronesia about 1000 BCE. Nauru became a League of Nations mandate after World War I, managed by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. During World War II, Japanese soldiers seized Nauru, which was bypassed by the Allied push across the Pacific. After the war, the nation was placed under a United Nations trusteeship. Nauru attained independence in 1968 and joined the Pacific Community (SPC) in 1969.
Nauru is a phosphate rock island with abundant resources near the surface, allowing for simple strip mining operations. Its remaining phosphate deposits are unprofitable to extract. Since the phosphate deposits were depleted in the 1990s and the island's ecosystem was gravely impacted by mining, the value of the trust formed to manage the island's resources has declined. Nauru temporarily became a tax haven and criminal money-laundering center in order to gain money. It got Australian government subsidies from 2001 to 2008, and again in 2012, in return for hosting the Nauru Regional Processing Centre, a contentious offshore Australian immigration detention facility. Because of its reliance on Australia, some sources have labeled Nauru as an Australian client state. The sovereign state is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States.