Nauru (Nauruan: Naoero), officially known as the Republic of Nauru (Nauruan: Repubrikin Naoero), is many things, most of which are related to its small size and population. Currently it is the smallest republic, the smallest island country, and with just over 11,200 residents, the third least-populated country in the world (ahead of Tuvalu and Vatican City).
The island was originally populated by twelve Polynesian and Micronesian clans, who arrived on the island at around 1000 BC. Contact with Europeans and the importation of firearms and distilled liquor wreaked havoc on the island, culminating in the island-wide Nauruan Civil War of 1878. The war lasted (on and off) for ten years and killed one-third of the island's population. Exhausted by the fighting, Nauru quasi-"voluntarily" became a colony of the German Empire in 1887. After WWI, ownership of the island 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 vast abundance of phosphate reserves (basically, millions of years' worth of migratory seabirds' guano droppings), which originally covered 90% of the surface of the island, Nauru at one point boasted the highest per-capita income of any independent nation after Saudi Arabia. The wealth allowed Nauru to become one of the most comprehensive welfare states on Earth, with the government providing free (or practically free) everything, including medicare, education to the graduate level, housing, utilities, public transport, and telephone; even the national newspaper was free.
By the time the reserves ran out in the late 1980s, though, Nauru's environment had become a wreck and its economy collapsed. The country rapidly burned through its $1 billion cash and investment reserves and became one of the poorest on Earth. The fall was exacerbated by endemic political corruption and mismanagement (this included a hare-brained scheme to invest millions of public dollars into what would become the worst stage show in West End history: Leonardo the Musical). The country flirted briefly with becoming a foreign tax shelter and selling citizenship to gangsters wanting to avoid extradition, but that just made things worse as the international community imposed harsh sanctions for money laundering. The country is currently trying to pull its way out from financial ruin by modernizing its infrastructure and other methods, including hosting detained migrants Australia had caught trying to cross the sea in exchange for aid. However, this resulted in the country becoming a dumping ground for refugees trying to get into Australia, with refugees being held in a detention camp (now closed) riddled with alleged human rights violations.
The current president of Nauru is Lionel Aingimea.
Australian Rules Football is Nauru's most popular sport, as well as soccer and softball.
At last count, it also held the record for being the most diabetic and obese nation (over 90% of adults are overweight). The phosphate mining destroyed all of the farmland on the island, which means that the islanders are forced to subsist on canned and processed food. It also doesn't help that food shipments to the island come at scheduled intervals, which provides incentive for residents to stock up on said unhealthy foods when the markets are full.
At one point the .nr domain was used by a domain name provider by offering free .co.nr domains (in reality, subdomains that appear to be a standalone domain) from 2002 to 2018, in a similar vein to the free .tk TLD. Issues with the Nauru government concerning the use of their TLD forced the provider to discontinue the service.
The Nauruan flag
- In Madam Secretary, the island is hit by two Category Five typhoons in quick succession. The first wrecks the infrastructure, kills a tenth of the population and destroys the entire government, resulting in a part-time consular official working in the U.S. becoming President. It becomes clear that with climate change, rebuilding is pointless. A bankrupt film star is persuaded to "give" his private island to the U.S. in exchange for not being prosecuted and they give it to Nauru to serve as a new home for their people. Most of the remaining population is evacuated before the second typhoon breaks up the coral foundation, effectively destroying the island.