Nauru how to bury your culture

nauru island

It would seem that Nauruans were fantastically lucky at one time: the island emerged as a rising sea volcano from the depths of a million years BC.

Corals grew on its cone and birds began nesting on this piece of land. The mountains of dung have accumulated over millennia. So the richest deposits of solid phosphate, which are widely used to significantly increase crop yields, were formed from coral and bird droppings.

Mining began on the island in the early 20th century. Until 1968, when Nauruans gained independence, phosphate mining was conducted within reasonable limits. But in the first year of independence, the export of valuable raw materials increased many times. The authorities of the young sovereign state did not think about the consequences, because with every ship with phosphates that left the country the welfare of local people grew exponentially.

Within a few years, Nauruans had become the richest people on the planet – the GDP per capita of this microscopic country was the highest in the world after Saudi Arabia. In the 1970s, the average salary of the islanders was four times (!) higher than the average American. Many people quit going to work. People from neighboring Tuvalu and Kiribati worked on phosphate mining here.

Another story of a small island nation is described in our article on Guam.

The collapse of the economy

However, the people of Nauru did not manage the treasure that had fallen on them well. The Government made no clear attempts to diversify the revenues. Now there are two or three years of phosphate reserves on the island.

Sadly, the islanders have never learned anything else to make a living. Fishing, agriculture, and services are underdeveloped in Nauru. That’s why Nauru has slipped to the bottom of all possible ratings.

There is a problem with tourists – no more than 300 people come here per year. Nauru is not suitable for a beach holiday – the equatorial sun is too powerful and there are no good hotels or restaurants. And there is no special entertainment – over the past few years, the Nauruan people have fully Europeanized and almost outgrown the folk flavor. The mining industry has ruined not only Nauru’s ecology but also its culture.

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