Background: After four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (administered under a UN mandate), the Marshall Islands gained independence in 1986 under a free association agreement with the US. Claims remain for damages from US nuclear tests conducted on some of the islands from 1947 to 1962.
Location: Oceania, a group of atolls and reefs in the North Pacific Ocean, about halfway from Hawaii to Papua New Guinea. See franciscogardening.com to know more about Marshall Islands Geography.
Geographic coordinates: 9° 00′ N. latitude, 168° 00′ E
Reference map: Oceania.
Area: total: 181.3 km2; land surface area: 181.3 km2; water surface area: 0 km2; note: including Bikini, Eniwetok and Kwajolein atolls.
Comparative area: Approximately equal to the area of Washington, D.C.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 370.4 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: rainy season from May to November; hot and humid; the islands are on the border of the typhoon belt.
Terrain: low coral limestone and sandy islands.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m; highest point: unnamed point on Lykiep Island 10 m.
Natural resources: phosphate deposits, seafood, deep sea mineral deposits.
Land use: arable land: 0%; cultivated land: 60%; pasture: 0%; forests and plantations: 0%; others: 40%.
Irrigated land: no data.
Natural Hazards: Typhoons happen.
Actual environmental problems: insufficient supplies of drinking water.
International environmental agreements: member: Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Law of the sea, Protection of the ozone layer, Pollution from ships; signed but not ratified: Kyoto Protocol.
Geography note: two archipelagos of 30 atolls and 1,152 islands; Bikini and Eniwetok were formerly US nuclear test sites; Kwajolein, famous for fighting World War II, is now used as a US missile range.
Population: 70,822 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 49.29% (men 17,808; women 17,101); 15 to 64 years old: 48.61% (male 17,573; female 16,853); over 65: 2.1% (male 707; female 780) (2001 est.);
Population growth: 3.88% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 45.07 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 6.23 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.04 male/female; over 65: 0.91 male/female; for the general population: 1.04 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 39.82 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 65.84 years; men: 64.04 years; women: 67.73 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 6.55 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: no data available.
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
Mortality due to AIDS: no data available.
Nationality: noun: Marshallese; adjective: pertaining to the Marshall Islands.
Ethnic groups: Micronesians.
Believers: Christians (mostly Protestants).
Languages): English (general spoken and official language), two main dialects of the Marshallese language from the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages, Japanese.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 93%; men: 100%; women: 88% (1980 est.).
Common long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands;
conventional short form: Marshall Islands; former: Marshall Islands District (Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands)
Government: constitutional form of government in free association with the United States; Free Association Agreement entered into force on October 21, 1986.
Administrative division: 33 districts: Ailing-ginae, Ailintapalap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikar, Bikini, Bokak, Votje, Vofo, Jabat, Jaluit, Dzhemo, Kwadzholein, Kili, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Majuro, Namorik, Namu, Rongelap, Rongerik, Toke, Ujae, Ujelang, Utirik, Ebon, Enewetok, Erikub.
Independence: from October 21, 1986 (until 1986 – under the control of the United States under a UN mandate).
National holiday: Proclamation Day of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, May 1 (1979).
Constitution: May 1, 1979
Legal system: Based on adapted Trust Territory legislation, acts of the legislature, local, common and customary law.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Kessai Hesa NOTE (since 3 January 2000); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of government: President Kessai Hesa NOTE (since January 3, 2000) \ note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
Government: members of the cabinet are chosen by the president from among the members of Parliament; elections: the president is elected by the Parliament from among its members for 4 years; elections last held 15 November 1999 (next to be held in November 2003); election results: Kessai Hesa NOTE elected president; percentage of votes in Parliament: 100%.
Legislature: unicameral Parliament (Nitijela) (33 seats; members are elected by popular vote for 4 years); elections: last held in November 1999 (next to be held in November 2003); election results: distribution of votes between parties: no data; distribution of seats among parties: no data; note: A twelve-member council of chiefs advises on matters relating to customary law and custom.
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; High Court.
Political parties and leaders: no formally organized parties; parties are largely insular or interest groups with no headquarters, formal platforms or party structures, two factions have competed in legislative elections in recent years: the Kabua Party (Imata KABUA) and the United Democratic Party (UDP ) (Pitokwa TOM-LING [Litokwa TOMLING]).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ACP, AsDB, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFC, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, ITU, OPCW, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Barmy DE BRUM; office: 2433 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 234-5414; fax:  (202) 232-3236; consulates general: Honolulu.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Joan M. PLAISTED; embassy: Oceanside, Mejen Weto, Long Island, Majuro; mailing address: R. O. Box 1379, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands 96960-1379; phone:  247-4011; fax:  247-4012.
Flag Description: Blue with two stripes coming from the lower left corner (orange on top and white on bottom); on the left side above the stripes is a white star with 4 large rays and 20 small ones.