Coordinates: 9°N 168°E / 9°N 168°E / 9; 168

Republic of the Marshall Islands

Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ  (Marshallese)
Motto: "Jepilpilin ke ejukaan"
"Accomplishment through joint effort"
Location of Marshall Islands
Location of Marshall Islands
StatusSovereign state in free association with the United States
Capital
and largest city
Majuro[1]
7°7′N 171°4′E / 7.117°N 171.067°E / 7.117; 171.067
Official languages
Ethnic groups
(2006[2])
  • 92.1% Marshallese
  • 5.9% Mixed Marshallese
  • 2% Others
Demonym(s)Marshallese
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
• President
Hilda Heine
• Speaker
Kenneth Kedi[3]
LegislatureNitijela
Independence 
from the United States
• Self-government
1979
October 21, 1986
Area
• Total
181.43 km2 (70.05 sq mi) (189th)
• Water (%)
n/a (negligible)
Population
• 2016 estimate
53,066[4] (203rd)
• 2011 census
53,158[5]
• Density
293.0/km2 (758.9/sq mi) (28th)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
• Total
$215 million
• Per capita
$3,789[6]
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
$220 million
• Per capita
$3,866[6]
CurrencyUnited States dollar (USD)
Time zoneUTC+12 (MHT)
Date formatMM/DD/YYYY
Driving sideright
Calling code+692
ISO 3166 codeMH
Internet TLD.mh
  1. 2005 estimate.

The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Marshallese: Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ),[note 1] is an island country and a United States associated state near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, slightly west of the International Date Line. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia. The country's population of 53,158 people (at the 2011 Census[5]) is spread out over 29 coral atolls,[2] comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The capital and largest city is Majuro.

The islands share maritime boundaries with the Federated States of Micronesia to the west, Wake Island to the north,[note 2] Kiribati to the southeast, and Nauru to the south. About 52.3% of Marshall Islanders (27,797 at the 2011 Census) live on Majuro.[2] Data from the United Nations indicates an estimated population in 2016 of 53,066. In 2016, 73.3% of the population were defined as being "urban". The UN also indicates a population density of 295 per km2 (765 people per mi2) and its projected 2020 population is 53,263.[7]

Micronesian colonists reached the Marshall Islands using canoes circa 2nd millennium BC, with interisland navigation made possible using traditional stick charts. They eventually settled here.[8] Islands in the archipelago were first explored by Europeans in the 1520s, starting with Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer in the service of Spain, Juan Sebastián Elcano and Miguel de Saavedra. Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar reported sighting an atoll in A