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Named Pleasant Island by its first European visitors, the former British colony of Nauru is the world’s smallest republic.

In recent years it has often been in the headlines over controversies surrounding the Australian-run asylum-seeker detention camp, with allegations of human rights abuses and overcrowding.

The detention camp is a major employer and source of income on the island. Since 2013 Australia has sent all asylum-seekers arriving by boat into detention on Nauru and Papua New Guinea, and denied them resettlement in Australia despite an outcry from rights groups.

Nauru is a speck in the Pacific about 3,000 km (1,800 miles) northeast of Australia with 10,000 citizens and little economy since the depletion of its rich phosphate mines in the 1980s.

Phosphate mining and exports resumed in 2005. The government estimates that the secondary phosphate deposits have a remaining life of about 30 years. The island has become heavily dependent upon aid.

  • Republic of Nauru
  • Capital: Yaren
  • Population 10,000
  • Area 21 sq km (8 sq miles)
  • Major languagesNauruan, English
  • Major religion Christianity
  • Life expectancy 55 years (men), 57 years (women)
  • Currency Australian dollar