Babeldaob

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Beach near Melekeok

Babeldaob (also Babelthuap) is the largest island in the island nation of Palau. Its area, 331 km² (128 mi²), makes up over 70% of the area of the entire country, and about 30% of the population, with about 6,000 people living there. Babeldoab is one of the most undeveloped populated islands in the Pacific, even though it is the second largest island in Micronesia, second only to Guam in area.

Geography[edit]

Babeldaob is located northeast of Koror and contains the site of the new national capital, Ngerulmud. Unlike most of the islands of Palau, Babeldaob is mountainous. It contains Palau's highest point, the 242 m (794 ft)-tall Mount Ngerchelchuus. Babeldaob's eastern coast has many sandy beaches, in particular north from Ngiwal to Ngaraard, and the island's western coast has a shoreline with many mangrove shrubs and trees.[1]

Palau's second-most populous state, Airai, makes up the southern end of the island. The Airai airport is the nation's principal airport. The Koror-Babeldaob Bridge links Airai to Koror.

Babeldaob encompasses 10 of the 16 states of Palau, which are:

History[edit]

First sighting of Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu recorded by Westerners was by the Spanish expedition of Ruy López de Villalobos at the end of January of 1543. They were then charted as Los Arrecifes (The Reefs in Spanish).[2] In November and December of 1710 these three islands were again visited and explored by the Spanish missionary expedition commanded by Sargento Mayor Francisco Padilla on board of the patache Santísima Trinidad. Two years later they were explored in detail by the expedition of Spanish naval officer Bernardo de Egoy.[3]

Babeldaob was the location to which 426 members of the Sokehs tribe were banished by the German Empire following the Sokehs Rebellion on Sokehs Island and Pohnpei. Japan as mandatory power after World War I administered the return of the Sokehs in stages between 1917 and 1927.[4]

During World War II the Japanese garrison was composed of 21,449 IJA men under the command of Lieutenant-General Sadae Inoue and 8,286 IJN men under the command of Vice-Admiral Kenmi Itoh.[5] Babeldaob was bypassed by the Allied forces during the war.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Babeldaob information from Lonely Planet. Retrieved June 2009.
  2. ^ Burney, James A chronological history fo the discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean, London, 1813, v.I, p.233.
  3. ^ Coello, Francisco "Conflicto hispano-alemán" Boletín de Sociedad Geográfica de Madrid, t.XIX. 2º semestre 1885, Madrid, p.296.
  4. ^ Micronesian Seminar: The Sokehs Rebellion
  5. ^ a b Takizawa, Akira; Alsleben, Allan (1999–2000). "Japanese garrisons on the by-passed Pacific Islands 1944-1945". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. 

References[edit]

Coordinates: 7°31′49″N 134°33′53″E / 7.53028°N 134.56472°E / 7.53028; 134.56472