Ralik and Ratak Islands
|Common names (long)||The Kingdom of the Marshall Islands|
|Common names (short)||The Marshall Islands, the United Kingdom, the Marshalls, Ralik-Ratak|
|Official Languages||Marshallese, Japanese|
|Supranational Organizations||East Asian Federation|
|Major Subdivisions||25 inhabited islands and atolls (grouped into 2 chains, the Ralik Islands and the Ratak Islands)|
The United Kingdom of the Ralik and Ratak Islands came about from the union of the Ratak Islands with the former Kingdom of the Ralik Islands. The Kingdom of the Ralik Islands was declared on November 29, 1878, by Kabua, the iroijlaplap (supreme chief) of Jaluit. At the time, the entire Marshall Islands group was a Japanese protectorate. For much of the protectorate period, the Ratak Islands remained separate from the Kingdom of the Ralik Islands, forming a separate Confederation of the Ratak Islands. In 1943, taking advantage of the Japanese Civil War, the king of the Ralik Islands invaded the Confederation of the Ratak Islands, forcing them into a dependency relationship with the Ralik Islands, and then, in 1947, into full annexation by the Kingdom. At the same time, the name was changed to the Kingdom of the Marshall Islands. The kingdom was careful not to declare independence from the Empire of Japan, and Emperor Xòwa acknowledged the legitimacy of the Kingdom of the Marshall Islands in 1948. The official name was again changed to the United Kingdom of the Ralik and Ratak Islands in 1965, however, the old name is still commonly used outside of the islands. The rest of Micronesia often refers to it as simply Ralik-Ratak or just Ralik (to the dismay of the Ratak Islanders).
Ralik-Ratak considered secession from the Micronesian Confederation shortly after the latter's formation, but the people voted to remain within Micronesia. Secessionists periodically enjoyed resurgences, most particularly, after the recent amendments to the Micronesian Constitution, increasing the central authority of the Micronesian Confederation. The King and the Nitijela (parliament) have agreed on secession. By the Marshallese Constitution, the question went to the people, requiring a majority of both the Ralik Islanders and the Ratak Islanders to concur. The referendum was held on Itxigaçu 6, 2005 (February 5, 2005; the Marshallese use the Meidji Calendar for dates, but the Gregorian for years, except changing the year number at Itxigaçu 1). The referendum was passed. Shortly afterwards, Ralik-Ratak entered negotiations with Japan to form a new relationship, which was realized in a revitalization of the East Asian Federation.
The economy of the Marshall Islands is heavily dependant on foreign aid and tourism. Much of it is still at a sustinance level, but a growing urban economy is developing.
The king is both head of state and head of government. The legislature is divided between a democratically-elected Nitijela (parliament) and a non-democratically elected Council of Iroij. The Council of Iroij's power has been reduced to a largely consultive role, except in areas of traditional land rights, where they are the final arbitrer, in concurrence with His Royal Majesty. In other matters, the Council of Iroij has a purely consultive role.
The Current king succeeded his cousin, King Amata, after the latter's death in 1996.
|Banaba | Japan | Micronesian Confederation | Ralik and Ratak Islands | Henua (observer)|