Palau is officially named the Republic of Palau, and sometimes referred to as Belau. It is comprised of about 250 islands, and was first inhabited around 1000 BCE. The islands were also conquered by many nations in history, and was most recently part of the US’ Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. They gained sovereignty in 1994, and is now in free association with the US. It has an area of 459 sq km, a population of 21,000, and a high HDI of 0.782.