Source: US State Department
The island was allocated to Germany under the 1886 Anglo-German Convention. Phosphate was discovered a decade later and the Pacific Phosphate Company started to exploit the reserves in 1906, by agreement with Germany. Following the outbreak of World War I, the island was captured by Australian forces in 1914. After the war the League of Nations assigned a joint trustee mandate over the island to Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. The three governments established the British Phosphate Commissioners, who exercised the rights to phosphate mining.
During World War II Japan occupied Nauru in August 1942 and deported 1,200 Nauruans to work as laborers in the Caroline Islands, where 463 died. The survivors returned to Nauru in January 1946.
After the war the island became a UN Trust Territory under Australia, in line with the previous League of Nations mandate, and it remained one until it became an independent republic in 1968. A plan by the partner governments to resettle the Nauruans (due to dwindling phosphate reserves and damage to the island from extensive mining) on Curtis Island off the north coast of Queensland, Australia, was abandoned in 1964 when the islanders decided to stay put. In 1967, the Nauruans purchased the assets of the British Phosphate Commissioners, and in June 1970 control passed to the Nauru Phosphate Corporation.
In 1989 Nauru filed suit against Australia in the International Court of Justice in The Hague for damages caused by mining while the island was under Australian jurisdiction. Australia settled the case out of court in 1993, agreeing to pay a lump sum settlement of A$107 million (U.S.$85.6 million) and an annual stipend of the equivalent of A$2.5 million in 1993 dollars toward environmental rehabilitation.
NOTE: The information regarding Nauru on this page is re-published from the US State Department. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Nauru History information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Nauru History should be addressed to the State Department.