palau is a tiny island nation in the pacific, with a population of only about 20,000 people. it was colonized by various powers between the 1600s and late 20th century, including the Spanish, Germans, British, Japanese, and Americans. however, no foreign power really did anything to help or harm the region. a huge WWII battle occured here, and following the end of the war, the US was put in charge of the region. palau refused to join the country of micronesia when it was formed in the 1970s. after political chaos, it finally became independent in 1994.