Republic of the Marshall Islands

Political Status: Sovereign state in free association with the United States (which retains authority with regard to defense) since October 21, 1986.

Area: 70 sq. mi. (181 sq. km.).

Population: 50,848 (1999C); 65,000 (2006E).

Major Urban Center (2005E): DALAP-ULIGA-DARRIT (Majuro Atoll; 26,000).

Official Languages: English, Marshallese.

Monetary Unit: U.S. Dollar (see U.S. article for principal exchange rates).

President: Kessai H. NOTE (United Democratic Party); elected by the House of Representatives on January 3, 2000, to succeed Imata KABUA (Presidential Caucus); reelected on January 4, 2004, and inaugurated for a second four-year term on January 12.

The Country

The Marshalls consist of a double chain of coral atolls, encompassing 33 islands and more than 850 reefs, within the Pacific region known as Micronesia, some 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii. ...

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