Nauru is many things, most of which are related to its small size and population. Currently the smallest republic, the smallest island country, and with just over 9,300 residents, it is the second least-populated country in the world. A colony of the German Empire that was transferred to Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, it was briefly occupied by the Japanese in WWII. It declared independence in 1968. Due to its phosphate reserves, it once boasted the highest per-capita income of any independent nation. By the time the reserves ran out, though, Nauru's environment had become a wreck and its economy collapsed. The country is currently trying to pick its way from financial ruin by modernizing its infrastructure and other methods. The current president of Nauru is Baron Waqa. Australian Rules Football is Nauru's most popular sport, as well as soccer and softball. At last count, it also held the record for most obese nation (both sexes over 90%). Nauru is the Finnish word for laughter.
The Nauruan flag
The blue field symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, while the narrow yellow line the Equator. The star at the lower hoist reflects Nauru's position relative to the Equator; its white color represents phospate, and its 12 rays symbolize the island's 12 original tribes.