Geography Now! MARSHALL ISLANDS


Oh, wow, what is that? we have Geography Now! t-shirts? Yeah, you can get them at geographynow.com . [Back to the episode] Guys, the only way we can open up this episode is with a fair use safe parody song. [Spongebob Squarepants parody intro song]
OHHHHHH! WHO LIVES IN A RADIOACTIVE ATOLL? INVERTEBRATES! AND COULD POSSIBLY CAUSED A BIG MONSTER TO GROW? IT’S GODZILLA! BUT SERIOUSLY THIS PLACE HAS SOME COOL STUFF! LIKE NO COPYRIGHT LAW! COME VISIT IF YOU THINK THAT IT IS A BLUFF! MARSHALL ISLANDS! MARSHALL ISLANDS! LITTLE CONTROVERSIAL! BUT STILL… COOL PLACEE!!! (Flute ending note immitation)
[Spongebob Squarepants parody intro song] Pandering much? You bet. Hi, Gen-Z. [Intro jingle] It’s time to learn Geography NOW!!! Everybody, I’m your host Barb’s and we are back in Oceania, WOOHOO! But one thing most people know about this place is the Bikini Atoll where Godzilla was basically born. No but seriously. Apart from that, this country actually has quite a unique history of seafaring culture that goes thousands of years in the past and it lives on today. Where are the Marshalls? Well, let’s find out. POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY Named after British explorer John Marshall in 1788, the Marshall Islands are known locally as “Jolet jen Anij” or “The gifts from God”. and they would been kind of like oases in a desert of water. First of all The Marshall Islands lie in the Pacific Ocean part of the larger island regional group known as Micronesia, with a maritime boundary with other states such as Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia. The country is made up of 29 coral atolls comprised of over 1,100 smaller islands and islets as well as five solid isolated islands: The country is divided into 24 municipalities corresponding to the twenty-four inhabited add tools and islands, including the capital Majuro which holds about half of the entire population in it. After the capital Majuro, the next largest towns would be Ebeye, on the Kwajalein atoll, the one with the most land area at a whopping 6mi² and Arno on the Arno atoll. Keep in mind though, The Kwajalein atoll has limited access usually only to Marshallese citizens and US military personnel as well as a few authorized contractors and journalists. The country has about 30 airports and airships amongst the atolls that people can get their supplies faster. The largest and main international one being: Majuro’s Marshall Islands or “Amata Kabua International”. Finally There is a somewhat kind of ongoing territorial dispute with the ownership of Wake Island that is currently administered by the US. Now if you watch the Kiribati episode, you’ll know exactly what living on land here is like. Ken, you take this one. Why? because you know, you kind of already did the Kiribati and Madagascar episodes so I think I’m just gonna kind of like designate you as the “Island explainer guy” from now on. Wait, is this a promotion? Yeah, it’s a promotion of the Marshall Islands to all those curious minds out there ………… The majority of the land are made up of atolls. Which are basically ring-shaped islands that are edges of unbreached underwater volcanoes and the Pacific has tons of them. This means that the people have to deal with life in extremely narrow land corridors that could only sometimes be a few meters wide. The main airport runway was literally built to be wider than the actual coral sandbank it sits on. Most people travel to other atolls either by charter boat or a small plane. Fortunately, the atolls are not too far from each other. On average about 15 to 50 miles. So day trips are not uncommon. Thank you, Ken. That was pleasantly adequate now. Here’s the interesting thing. As a former US territory, The Marshall Islands has been a fully sovereign state since 1986. However They are still kind of deeply intertwined with US affiliation on the administration level. Today they have a “Compact free association agreement”, which means something like this: Marshall Islands: “Okay look USA, we think we can handle things on our own now. Plus you kind of destroyed one of our islands and we had to relocate and now there’s a ton of radiation.” USA: “Yeah, you’re right. I mean, I’ll hold on to the other guys like Guam, American Samoa and the Marianas but yeah, yeah yeah… You guys could kind of take one for the team.” Marshall Islands: “More than just one for the team?” USA: “Okay, okay, okay, fine, fine, fine, You’re on your own.” Marshall Islands: “Wait, wait, wait, I know things got a little messy but you kind of already built a ton of bases and structures. You do have access to resources and global communications. I mean, maybe we can still kind of operate as one but with distinct sovereign status.” USA: “Oh Marshy, It’s like you’ve been reading my diary!” And today’s, citizens of both countries are able to move and live and work in each other’s countries with open status. The Marshall Islands get subsidies, business deals, access to the US FCC Postal Service and defense while the US gets to operate formerly built bases as if nothing changed from WWII times. And the same goes for Palau in the Federated States of Micronesia. We’ll get into that in another episode though. Stay tuned. But yeah, the people of the Bikini Atoll were effectively relocated to Kili island after Castle Bravo, the largest atmospheric nuclear test that was ever conducted by the USA. USSR: “Hehe, that’s cute!” If you look close from satellite images, you can actually see the craters caused by the bombs on these atolls. The Enewetak atoll still remains inhabited though as the US built a radioactive containment dome known as the Cactus dome. It’s really not recommended to visit this place because of all the radiation, but some people actually do like this crazy Kiwi guy. Anyway! If you visit some places of interest you might want to consider checking out might include places like: Any of the various churches Small quaint town of Jobor on the Jaluit atoll The coconut fields of Wotje And tourism of the Bikini atoll closed in 2008. However, some nuclear tourism enthusiasts are allowed to go in with special arrangements. Ya, nuclear tourism. That’s a thing. Just wait for the Ukraine episode. Anyway, moving on… PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY The Marshall Islands, the primary measure of wealth is found in land ownership. And with such limited space, you can imagine how much honor is at stake. First of all The country is divided into two main island chains: The eastern Ratak or “Sunrise Islands” and the western Ralik or “Sunset Islands”. Each of these are composed of coral limestone, a porous rock with little fertility. Although the total land area only encompasses about 70mi² of land mass (181km²), they claim about 750,000mi² of ocean territory in their exclusive economic zone. Likiep atoll has the highest point at only about 10m. There are no rivers and only a few ponds and lakes. The largest ones being the small ponds on Lib and Mejit Islands. The country has no national animal But the Meria is the national flower. Otherwise They have about 70 species of birds, 300 species of fish, hundreds of invertebrates like the coconut crabs and house scorpions, about 4 species of sea turtles and only one endemic land mammal: The Polynesian rat. Okay, once again, Noah’s not here to do the physical geography co-hosts segment because he’s travelling. So uhhhh… Keith I don’t know would you like to take on this segment? I’m sure, I’m normally like a one-liner type of guy and you know puns and stuff but Meh, just try it! [KEITH’S FIRST HOSTING SEGMENT!] Most people depend on rainwater collection for fresh water to drink and grow crops. In 2013, a state of emergency was declared as a drought was happening. The government distributed solar water purifiers and pumps to outlying communities for assistance. I got it! Yeah, keep going! Now economically speaking, the Marshall Islands is (no shocker) quite a small market. 60% of their yearly budget comes from direct US aid. This means for production, they use every last square inch of land to grow crops. Otherwise Fish is where most of the protein comes from which is why the atoll structure is so important as the ring shape keeps certain species confined in corralled while shock-absorbing turbulent outside waves This is why fishing on isolated islands like Kili are a bit more difficult. Otherwise some popular dishes might include: And who better to cook those dishes than the people of the Marshall Islands? Let’s meet them now. Shall we? (Barbs laughing) DEMOGRAPHICS Dude, Thank You Keith. That was amazing. Follow him on Instagram. Whenever we cover island nations, It’s very interesting to see how the people of these states learn how to adapt and survive on what are some of the most remote places on the planet. First of all The country is made up of about 54,000 people and about half live in Majuro. Out of the population, the vast majority at around 92% identifies, ethnically Marshallese. Otherwise about 6% are mixed Marshallese with other nationalities and the remaining population are mostly Americans with a few Asians like Filipinos, Chinese and Japanese. They use the American dollar as the currency. They use of types A,B American style plug outlets and they drive on the right side of the road with whatever little roads they have. They did however become the first country in the world to issue their own national Cryptocurrency as legal tender known as the sovereign passed in 2018 known as a Sovereign Currency act. The country has two official languages: Marshallese and English. Both are spoken by nearly everyone even in remote atolls. Now as for being Marshallese, what does it mean? Well, First of all The Marshallese are a subgroup of the broader Micronesian people group. This includes Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, their closest relatives. Traditionally, the Marshallese are a matrilineal society which land is passed down from the mother side. Populous was divided into clans or “Bwij”. There are three subgroups: The commoners or “Kajur”, The lower chiefs or the “Irooj Rik” and the high chiefs, the “Irooj Laplap”. Today the social structure still kind of lives on but the dependence on the US has kind of dwindled the traditional role of chiefs as they are now just kind of seen as like communal figureheads. Historically just as we studied in the Madagascar episode, The Marshallese come from the Austronesians, descended from thousands of years ago migrated from Southeast Asia. They were known for being expert sailors and navigators. They used a unique system of stick charts made from sticks and coconut fronds. The shells were represented of islands and they measured wave crests. These were actually used all the way up to WWII when the electronic navigation technology was introduced. Otherwise some other traditional items and customs might include things like: Woven Rito fans, Kemkem or the festivals and feasts, Taking a boat trip to visit friends and family is called Jambo, which also means “Hi” in Swahili, Jaki mats woven from pandanus leaves, and of course there are traditional dances for both women and men like the warrior stick dance. Most Marshallese identify as Christians, mostly Protestant About half belonging to the United Church of Christ. Speaking of which History time: Austronesians come in maybe about 4000 years ago, Chiefdoms and traditional societies, This guy comes in in 1526 He calls it a Los Pintados This Russian dude of German descent crosses the world and stops by, The Germans and Brits set up trading post, Tension starts with the Spanish, Germany just kind of buys the islands, WWI Japan comes in and takes over and just kind of plants a base, WWII the Americans push out the Japanese, UN Security Council concludes that the country should fall into the US administration, For 18 years, 67 bomb tests were launched, The residents of Bikini Atoll were evacuated, 1979 Independence, 1986 Compact Association Agreement, 1999 Kessai Note becomes the first commoner to overthrow the chief President tradition and here we are today. Some people of Marshallese descent or born in the Marshall Islands may include people like: Alright. Time to move on. Who do these Marshallese peeps hang with? Here we go, FRIENDZONE As a small nation, you think the Marshall Islands would have trouble with outreach but the complete opposite seems to be true. For one, India has been recently reaching out a lot as President Narendra Modi initiated the India Pacific Islands cooperation forum in 2014. Since then, high-level visits have taken place and trade started opening up. The Marshall Islands is also one of the few countries that recognizes Taiwan as a nation. And in 2005, former president Chen Shui-Bian became the first foreign head of state to make an official visit to the Marshall Islands. When it comes to their family, They are part of the Micronesian triplets along with Palau and Federated States of Micronesia. These 3 are the closest culturally. Their languages are pretty intelligible and they are all able to travel to each other’s countries without passports and stay indefinitely without visas. When it comes to their best friends, However, most likely it would be the USA. After signing the Compact free Association Agreement, things changed quite a bit. Through the US, relations and global outreach and business soared. A huge chunk of the economy is dependent on the US and citizens of both countries could now freely move and live in each other’s countries with no hassle. Springdale, Arkansas has the largest community of Marshallese people outside of the Marshall Islands with approximately 5,000 people. In conclusion: Godzilla and SpongeBob radiation jokes aside, The Marshall Islands is like the quietest little ocean nation that has seen the craziest things ever happen in the past few centuries. Still They just move on one canoe paddle at a time. Stay tuned, Mauritania is coming up next! *Geography Now! outro*

100 thoughts on “Geography Now! MARSHALL ISLANDS”

  1. Thumbs up if you are proud of Keith's first hosting segment. He should have a spinoff shouldn't he? What would you like to see him do? Also heads up, just in time for school, YOU GUYS ASKED FOR IT and we now have KID'S SIZE Geography now T-shirts on Geographynow.com. Check it out!

  2. I wish Guam and American samoa and the virgin islands would become a state. Maybe if we combined them all since you need I think 100,000 to try to be a state. Idk

  3. Fun fact: this is the only country in the world that doesn't have a national football/soccer team (yep, even Monaco and Vatican City have although they are not recognized neither by UEFA nor by FIFA)

  4. I’m from the Marshall Islands and aside from a few butchered pronunciations I gotta say u hit the nail right on the spot well done with your research.. gonna follow your videos from now on kommol tata(thank you very much)

  5. Ebeye…is pernounced ee bye

    Yes i was born in the marshall islands.

    But hey thanks for educating the world of marshall islands.

  6. In order to know about my culture be about out our culture! You can't document historical facts from our lifestyles? We all suffer from the U.S government. All Pacific islanders suffered from United States power! Native Americans, native Hawaiians the list goes on! How about you do parody songs of your culture?

  7. I really thought you'd mention that one mexican fisherman that washed up in the Ebon atoll after more than a year at sea. Some crazy stuff fit for these episodes!

  8. I’m from Springdale, Arkansas! I have a documentary on my page about Mayday, which is the Marshallese Independence Day filmed here in Springdale

  9. I’m Marshallese…born and raised in the Marshall Islands but Right now I’m here in Arizona, USA just came here for Better education. Much love to y’all!!

  10. Hey i'm one of the marshall lslands kids, I just love my people and i don't whan them to get hart and hey this is not nana bwe.

  11. High birthrate coming to america by these people. Most of them are on welfare and dont even work. The working class will take a beatimg from these freeloaders.

  12. Actually, Ebeye is pronounced like it's spelled (for English speakers). Ee-bye. But I thought the mention of Jaluit and Wotje was super cool. My mom was born and grew up in Jaluit, and I've spent a couple summers in Wotje (the airport is just a big clearing)

  13. Seemed to miss the bit where the people of the marshall islands were kicked off their islands, radiated and left in poverty. Dont hear any mention of the number of cancer deaths and birth defects or the fact that most now live in poverty. Strange that those bits were missed..

  14. guys, can you just clear out one thing. ITS PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA AND NOT PRESIDENT!!! EVERY SINGLE TIME…….AND KEN IS DOING A GREAT JOB WITH BARBS

  15. I believe that the United States Minor Outlying Islands which consists on Wake island and 7 other Islands ( 8 Islands In total) should be integrated to the state of Hawaii,making that state much bigger.

  16. Pedantry Alert: I've noticed that you usually say about one of the countries in question that, e.g. 'The Marshall Islands recognizes Taiwan as a nation'. But 'Taiwan' doesn't claim to be a nation. There are political forces that agitate for 'Taiwanese independence', but that's not the status quo of what the government claims. What these states are recognizing is the claim of the Republic of China to be what we might call 'the true China', the legitimate successor state to the Chinese empire and the one which should rightfully have soveignty over all of China, rather than the PRoC's claim to the same.

  17. Interesting and well thought out. My only question was/is…. why are many super yachts carrying a Marshall Island flag? Banking? Taxes? Thanks for the video.

  18. I’m marshallese I’m sierious I’m not crossing i swear my last name is topher joe/Christoper Jowe yogwe/welcome my grandma and dad and mom lived there look🙏🏽 see I’m not lying I know those people wait even my big brother was born there had you watch when solders make songs for marshallese

  19. My dad is from Fayetteville AR and I remember him telling me about the large Marshallese population in northwest Arkansas

  20. Israel
    Tansania
    Syria

    Tadschickistan
    India
    Mongolia
    Ecuador

    Tunesia
    Oman

    Litauenia
    Estonia
    Aserbaidschan
    Russia
    Norway

    Germany
    Eritrea
    O
    Greece
    Romania
    Albany
    Portugal
    Hungary
    Y

    Nigeria
    O
    W
    !

  21. Yep Marshall island is the beautiful place and im marshall island yokwe alope rimajuro to lale bwe kwon lale Majuro ke

  22. I know its an old video now, but just putting this out there: The John Marshall shown in the video was the USA Chief Justice of the Supreme Court not the British namesake of the Islands.

  23. Your saying some of the names wrong but that ok cause I’m was born in California but my family is from there

  24. I think my favorite part is when he concludes at the end of each episode, how that nations best friend is you.ass.hole who got them enslaved, used, abused, and even in this case, nuked. americanazis really have weird sense of friendship, and while no one likes them, they think they are everyone's best friend… how do you get to be this deluded, is beyond comprehension.

  25. I like your channel, but I really found this video to be leaving out way to many of the atrocities the US committed there. I mean they literally tested the effects of atomic weapons on live people…

  26. I expected this video to skip over a lot of the Cold War history, but you actually hit on all the points to the degree that a video like this should. Nice.

  27. Marshallese people are creative (im Marshallese) my mom is very creative she makes followers with wood, my house is full of creative stuff im glad to be Marshallese, but sadly i had to move to hawaii but im not mad at all hawaii is a beautiful island its very cool.

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