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Tlo historyczne (2008)

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Informacje o Tlo historyczne w 2008 rok

AfganistanAfganistan Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afganistan w 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Rosjan empires until it won independence from notional British control w 1919. A brief experiment w democracy ended w a 1973 coup and a 1978 Communist counter-coup. The Soviet Union invaded w 1979 to support the tottering Afghan Communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew w 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-Communist mujahedin rebels. Subsequently, a series of civil wars saw Kabul finally fall w 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged w 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 wrzesien 2001 terrorist attacks w New York City, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban dla sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference w 2001 established a process dla political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution and a presidential election w 2004, and National Assembly elections w 2005. On 7 grudzien 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afganistan. The National Assembly was inaugurated on 19 grudzien 2005.
AkrotiriAkrotiri By terms of the 1960 Treaty of Establishment that created the independent Republic of Cypr, the UK retained full sovereignty and jurisdiction over two areas of almost 254 square kilometers - Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The southernmost and smallest of these is the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Terytorium, which is also referred to as the Western Sovereign Base Terytorium.
AlbaniaAlbania Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire w 1912, but was conquered by Wlochy w 1939. Communist partizans took over the country w 1944. Albania allied itself first z the USSR (until 1960), and then z Chiny (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal z high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress w its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections w 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes w 1997. In the 2005 general elections, the Democratic Party and its allies won a decisive victory on pledges of reducing crime and corruption, promoting economic growth, and decreasing the size of government. The election, and particularly the orderly transition of power, was considered an important step forward. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest w Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure. Albania has played a largely helpful role w managing inter-ethnic tensions w southeastern Europe, and is continuing to work toward joining NATO and the EU. Albania, z troops w Irak and Afganistan, has been a strong supporter of the global war on terrorism.
AlgieriaAlgieria After more than a century of rule by Francja, Algierians fought through much of the 1950s to achieve independence w 1962. Algieria's primary political party, the National Liberation Front (FLN), has dominated politics ever since. Many Algierians w the subsequent generation were not satisfied, however, and moved to counter the FLN's centrality w Algierian politics. The surprising first round success of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) w the grudzien 1991 balloting spurred the Algierian army to intervene and postpone the second round of elections to prevent what the secular elite feared would be an extremist-led government from assuming power. The army began a crackdown on the FIS that spurred FIS supporters to begin attacking government targets. The government later allowed elections featuring pro-government and moderate religious-based parties, but did not appease the activists who progressively widened their attacks. The fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense fighting between 1992-98 and which resulted w over 100,000 deaths - many attributed to indiscriminate massacres of villagers by extremists. The government gained the upper hand by the late-1990s and FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded w styczen 2000. However, small numbers of armed militants persist w confronting government forces and conducting ambushes and occasional attacks on villages. The army placed Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA w the presidency w 1999 w a fraudulent election but claimed neutrality w his 2004 landslide reelection victory. Longstanding problems continue to face BOUTEFLIKA w his second term, including the ethnic minority Berbers' ongoing autonomy campaign, large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, unreliable electrical and water supplies, government inefficiencies and corruption, and the continuing activities of extremist militants. The 2006 merger of the Salafist Group dla Preaching and Combat (GSPC) z al-Qaida (followed by a change of name to al-Qaida w the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb) signaled an increase w bombings, including high-profile, mass-casualty suicide attacks targeted against the Algierian government and Western interests. Algieria must also diversify its petroleum-based economy, which has yielded a large cash reserve but which has not been used to redress Algieria's many social and infrastructure problems.
Samoa AmerykanskieSamoa Amerykanskie Settled as early as 1000 B.C., Samoa was "discovered" by European explorers w the 18th century. International rivalries w the latter half of the 19th century were settled by an 1899 treaty w which Niemcy and the US divided the Samoan archipelago. The US formally occupied its portion - a smaller group of eastern islands z the excellent harbor of Pago Pago - the following year.
AndoraAndora For 715 years, from 1278 to 1993, Andorans lived under a unique co-principality, ruled by French and Spanish leaders (from 1607 onward, the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgel). In 1993, this feudal system was modified z the titular heads of state retained, but the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy. Long isolated and impoverished, mountainous Andora achieved considerable prosperity since Swiat War II through its tourist industry. Many immigrants (legal and illegal) are attracted to the thriving economy z its lack of income taxes.
AngolaAngola Angola is rebuilding its country after the end of a 27-year civil war w 2002. Fighting between the Popular Movement dla the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), led by Jose Eduardo DOS SANTOS, and the National Union dla the Total Niepodleglosc of Angola (UNITA), led by Jonas SAVIMBI, followed independence from Portugalia w 1975. Peace seemed imminent w 1992 when Angola held national elections, but UNITA renewed fighting after being beaten by the MPLA at the polls. Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost - and 4 million people displaced - w the quarter century of fighting. SAVIMBI's death w 2002 ended UNITA's insurgency and strengthened the MPLA's hold on power. President DOS SANTOS has announced legislative elections will be held on wrzesien 5 and 6, 2008, z Presidential elections planned dla sometime w 2009.
AnguillaAnguilla Colonized by English settlers from Saint Kitts w 1650, Anguilla was administered by Great Britain until the early 19th century, when the island - against the wishes of the inhabitants - was incorporated into a single British dependency, along z Saint Kitts i Nevis. Several attempts at separation failed. In 1971, two years after a revolt, Anguilla was finally allowed to secede; this arrangement was formally recognized w 1980, z Anguilla becoming a separate British dependency.
AntarktydaAntarktyda Speculation over the existence of a "southern land" was not confirmed until the early 1820s when British and American commercial operators and British and Rosjan national expeditions began exploring the Antarctic Peninsula region and other areas south of the Antarctic Circle. Not until 1840 was it established that Antarktyda was indeed a continent and not just a group of islands. Several exploration "firsts" were achieved w the early 20th century. Following Swiat War II, there was an upsurge w scientific research on the continent. A number of countries have set up year-round research stations on Antarktyda. Seven have made territorial claims, but not all countries recognize these claims. In order to form a legal framework dla the activities of nations on the continent, an Antarctic Treaty was negotiated that neither denies nor gives recognition to existing territorial claims; signed w 1959, it entered into force w 1961.
Antigua i BarbudaAntigua i Barbuda The Siboney were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua i Barbuda w 2400 B.C., but Arawak Indiens populated the islands when COLUMBUS landed on his second voyage w 1493. Early settlements by the Spanish and French were succeeded by the English who formed a colony w 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished w 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations w 1981.
Ocean ArktycznyOcean Arktyczny The Ocean Arktyczny is the smallest of the world's five oceans (after the Ocean Spokojny, Ocean Atlantycki, Ocean Indyjski, and the recently delimited Ocean Poludniowy). The Northwest Passage (US and Kanada) and Northern Sea Route (Norwegia and Rosja) are two important seasonal waterways. A sparse network of air, ocean, river, and land routes circumscribes the Ocean Arktyczny.
ArgentynaArgentyna In 1816, the United Provinces of the Rio Plata declared their independence from Hiszpania. After Boliwia, Paragwaj, and Urugwaj went their separate ways, the area that remained became Argentyna. The country's population and culture were heavily shaped by immigrants from throughout Europe, but most particularly Wlochy and Hiszpania, which provided the largest percentage of newcomers from 1860 to 1930. Up until about the mid-20th century, much of Argentyna's history was dominated by periods of internal political conflict between Federalists and Unitarians and between civilian and military factions. After Swiat War II, an era of Peronist authoritarian rule and interference w subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power w 1976. Democracy returned w 1983, and has persisted despite numerous challenges, the most formidable of which was a severe economic crisis w 2001-02 that led to violent public protests and the resignation of several interim presidents. The economy has recovered strongly since bottoming out w 2002.
ArmeniaArmenia Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman. During Swiat War I w the western portion of Armenia, Ottoman Turcja instituted a policy of forced resettlement coupled z other harsh practices that resulted w an estimated 1 million Armenian deaths. The eastern area of Armenia was ceded by the Ottomans to Rosja w 1828; this portion declared its independence w 1918, but was conquered by the Soviet Red Army w 1920. Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by the long conflict z Muslim Azerbejdzan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily Armenian-populated region, assigned to Soviet Azerbejdzan w the 1920s by Moscow. Armenia and Azerbejdzan began fighting over the area w 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union w 1991. By maj 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a significant portion of Azerbejdzan proper. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their inability to make substantial progress toward a peaceful resolution. Turcja imposed an economic blockade on Armenia and closed the common border because of the Armenian separatists' control of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.
ArubaAruba Discovered and claimed dla Hiszpania w 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch w 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening w 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom w the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Antyle Holenderskie w 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Holandia. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request w 1990.
Wyspy Ashmore i CartieraWyspy Ashmore i Cartiera These uninhabited islands came under Australian authority w 1931; formal administration began two years later. Ashmore Reef supports a rich and diverse avian and marine habitat; w 1983, it became a National Nature Reserve. Cartier Island, a former bombing range, is now a marine reserve.
Ocean AtlantyckiOcean Atlantycki The Ocean Atlantycki is the second largest of the world's five oceans (after the Ocean Spokojny, but larger than the Ocean Indyjski, Ocean Poludniowy, and Ocean Arktyczny). The Kiel Canal (Niemcy), Oresund (Dania-Szwecja), Bosporus (Turcja), Strait of Gibraltar (Maroko-Hiszpania), and the Saint Lawrence Seaway (Kanada-US) are important strategic access waterways. The decision by the International Hydrographic Organization w the spring of 2000 to delimit a fifth world ocean, the Ocean Poludniowy, removed the portion of the Ocean Atlantycki south of 60 degrees south latitude.
AustraliaAustralia Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration w the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession w the name of Great Britain. Six colonies were created w the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia w 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort w Swiat Wars I and II. In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. It boasted one of the OECD's fastest growing economies during the 1990s, a performance due w large part to economic reforms adopted w the 1980s. Long-term concerns include climate-change issues such as the depletion of the ozone layer and more frequest droughts, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef.
AustriaAustria Once the center of power dla the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was reduced to a small republic after its defeat w Swiat War I. Following annexation by Nazi Niemcy w 1938 and subsequent occupation by the victorious Allies w 1945, Austria's status remained unclear dla a decade. A State Treaty signed w 1955 ended the occupation, recognized Austria's independence, and forbade unification z Niemcy. A constitutional law that same year declared the country's "perpetual neutrality" as a condition dla Soviet military withdrawal. The Soviet Union's collapse w 1991 and Austria's entry into the Unia Europejska w 1995 have altered the meaning of this neutrality. A prosperous, democratic country, Austria entered the EU Economic Monetary Union w 1999.
AzerbejdzanAzerbejdzan Azerbejdzan - a nation z a majority-Turkic and majority-Muslim population - was briefly independent from 1918 to 1920; it regained its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union w 1991. Despite a 1994 cease-fire, Azerbejdzan has yet to resolve its conflict z Armenia over the Azerbejdzani Nagorno-Karabakh enclave (largely Armenian populated). Azerbejdzan has lost 16% of its territory and must support some 600,000 internally displaced persons as a result of the conflict. Corruption is ubiquitous, and the government has been accused of authoritarianism. Although the poverty rate has been reduced w recent years, the promise of widespread wealth from development of Azerbejdzan's energy sector remains largely unfulfilled.
BahamyBahamy Lucayan Indiens inhabited the islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot w the New Swiat on San Salvador w 1492. British settlement of the islands began w 1647; the islands became a colony w 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK w 1973, The Bahamas have prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management. Because of its geography, the country is a major transshipment point dla illegal drugs, particularly shipments to the US and Europe, and its territory is used dla smuggling illegal migrants into the US.
BahrajnBahrajn In 1783, the al-Khalifa family captured Bahrajn from the Persians. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties z the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrajn a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence w 1971. Bahrajn's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act w foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrajn has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. King HAMAD bin Isa al-Khalifa, after coming to power w 1999, pushed economic and political reforms to improve relations z the Shi'a community and Shi'a political societies participated w 2006 parliamentary and municipal elections. Al Wifaq, the largest Shi'a political society, won the largest number of seats w the elected chamber of the legislature. However, Shi'a discontent has resurfaced w recent years z street demonstrations and occasional low-level violence.
Wyspa BakerWyspa Baker The US took possession of the island w 1857, and its guano deposits were mined by US and British companies during the second half of the 19th century. In 1935, a short-lived attempt at colonization was begun on this island - as well as on nearby Howland - but was disrupted by Swiat War II and thereafter abandoned. Presently the island is a National Wildlife Refuge run by the US Department of the Interior; a day beacon is situated near the middle of the west coast.
BangladeszBangladesz Europeans began to set up trading posts w the area of Bangladesz w the 16th century; eventually the British came to dominate the region and it became part of British Indie. In 1947, West Pakistan and East Bengal (both primarily Muslim) separated from Indie (largely Hindu) and jointly became the new country of Pakistan. East Bengal became East Pakistan w 1955, but the awkward arrangement of a two-part country z its territorial units separated by 1,600 km left the Bengalis marginalized and dissatisfied. East Pakistan seceded from its union z West Pakistan w 1971 and was renamed Bangladesz. A military-backed caretaker regime suspended planned parliamentary elections w styczen 2007 w an effort to reform the political system and root out corruption; the regime has pledged new democratic elections by the end of 2008. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.
BarbadosBarbados The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British w 1627. Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when slavery was abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms w the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK w 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry w economic importance.
BialorusBialorus After seven decades as a constituent republic of the USSR, Bialorus attained its independence w 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Rosja than any of the other former Soviet republics. Bialorus and Rosja signed a treaty on a two-state union on 8 grudzien 1999 envisioning greater political and economic integration. Although Bialorus agreed to a framework to carry out the accord, serious implementation has yet to take place. Since his election w lipiec 1994 as the country's first president, Alexandr LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion continue.
BelgiaBelgia Belgia became independent from the Holandia w 1830; it was occupied by Niemcy during Swiat Wars I and II. The country prospered w the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led w recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy.
BelizeBelize Belize was the site of several majan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region w the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras w 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Gwatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Gwatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include an unsustainable foreign debt, high unemployment, growing involvement w the South American drug trade, growing urban crime, and increasing incidences of HIV/AIDS.
BeninBenin Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose w the 15th century. The territory became a French Colony w 1872 and achieved independence on 1 sierpien 1960, as the Republic of Benin. A succession of military governments ended w 1972 z the rise to power of Mathieu KEREKOU and the establishment of a government based on Marxist-Leninist principles. A move to representative government began w 1989. Two years later, free elections ushered w former Prime Minister Nicephore SOGLO as president, marking the first successful transfer of power w Africa from a dictatorship to a democracy. KEREKOU was returned to power by elections held w 1996 and 2001, though some irregularities were alleged. KEREKOU stepped down at the end of his second term w 2006 and was succeeded by Thomas YAYI Boni, a political outsider and independent. YAYI has begun a high profile fight against corruption and has strongly promoted accelerating Benin's economic growth.
BermudyBermudy Bermudy was first settled w 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists headed dla Virginia. Tourism to the island to escape North American winters first developed w Victorian times. Tourism continues to be important to the island's economy, although international business has overtaken it w recent years. Bermudy has developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. Although a referendum on independence from the UK was soundly defeated w 1995, the present government has reopened debate on the issue.
BhutanBhutan In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy w exchange dla ceding some border land to British Indie. Under British influence, a monarchy was set up w 1907; three years later, a treaty was signed whereby the British agreed not to interfere w Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role was assumed by independent Indie after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned the areas of Bhutan annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined Indie's responsibilities w defense and foreign relations. A refugee issue of some 100,000 Bhutanese w Nepal remains unresolved; 90% of the refugees are housed w seven United Nations Office of the High Commissioner dla Refugees (UNHCR) camps. In marzec 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the government's draft constitution - which would introduce major democratic reforms - and pledged to hold a national referendum dla its approval. In grudzien 2006, the King abdicated the throne to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK, w order to give him experience as head of state before the democratic transition. In early 2007, Indie and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty to allow Bhutan greater autonomy w conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate policy decisions w this area z New Delhi. In lipiec 2007, seven ministers of Bhutan's ten-member cabinet resigned to join the political process, leaving the remaining cabinet to act as a caretaker regime until a new government assumes power following parliamentary elections. Bhutan will complete its transition to full democracy w 2008, when its first fully democratic elections to a new parliament - expected to be completed by marzec 2008 - and a concomitant referendum on the draft constitution will take place.
BoliwiaBoliwia Boliwia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule w 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and countercoups. Democratic civilian rule was established w 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production. In grudzien 2005, Boliwians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president - by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule w 1982 - after he ran on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the nation's poor majority. However, since taking office, his controversial strategies have exacerbated racial and economic tensions between the Amerindian populations of the Andean west and the non-indigenous communities of the eastern lowlands.
Bosnia i HercegowinaBosnia i Hercegowina Bosnia i Hercegowina's declaration of sovereignty w pazdziernik 1991 was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Jugoslawia on 3 marzec 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Federalna Republika Jugoslawii - responded z armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a "Greater Serbia." In marzec 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia i Hercegowina. On 21 listopad 1995, w Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties initialed a peace agreement that brought to a halt three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed w Paris on 14 grudzien 1995). The Dayton Peace Accords retained Bosnia i Hercegowina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government charged z conducting foreign, diplomatic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal w size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia i Hercegowina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments were charged z overseeing most government functions. The Office of the High Representative (OHR) was established to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspects of the agreement. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served w Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission was to deter renewed hostilities. Unia Europejska peacekeeping troops (EUFOR) replaced SFOR w grudzien 2004; their mission is to maintain peace and stability throughout the country. EUFOR's mission changed from peacekeeping to civil policing w pazdziernik 2007, z its presence reduced from nearly 7,000 to 2,500 troops.
BotswanaBotswana Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence w 1966. Four decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, progressive social policies, and significant capital investment have created one of the most dynamic economies w Africa. Mineral extraction, principally diamond mining, dominates economic activity, though tourism is a growing sector due to the country's conservation practices and extensive nature preserves. Botswana has one of the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection, but also one of Africa's most progressive and comprehensive programs dla dealing z the disease.
Wyspa BouvetaWyspa Bouveta This uninhabited volcanic island is almost entirely covered by glaciers and is difficult to approach. It was discovered w 1739 by a French naval officer after whom the island was named. No claim was made until 1825, when the British flag was raised. In 1928, the UK waived its claim w favor of Norwegia, which had occupied the island the previous year. In 1971, Norwegia designated Wyspa Bouveta and the adjacent territorial waters a nature reserve. Since 1977, it has run an automated meteorological station on the island.
BrazyliaBrazylia Following three centuries under the rule of Portugalia, Brazylia became an independent nation w 1822 and a republic w 1889. By far the largest and most populous country w South America, Brazylia overcame more than half a century of military intervention w the governance of the country when w 1985 the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazylia continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.
Brytyjskie Terytorium Oceanu IndyjskiegoBrytyjskie Terytorium Oceanu Indyjskiego Established as a territory of the UK w 1965, a number of the Brytyjskie Terytorium Oceanu Indyjskiego (BIOT) islands were transferred to the Seszele when it attained independence w 1976. Subsequently, BIOT has consisted only of the six main island groups comprising the Chagos Archipelago. The largest and most southerly of the islands, Diego Garcia, contains a joint UK-US naval support facility. All of the remaining islands are uninhabited. Former agricultural workers, earlier residents w the islands, were relocated primarily to Mauritius but also to the Seszele, between 1967 and 1973. In 2000, a British High Court ruling invalidated the local immigration order that had excluded them from the archipelago, but upheld the special military status of Diego Garcia.
Brytyjskie Wyspy DziewiczeBrytyjskie Wyspy Dziewicze First inhabited by Arawak and later by Carib Indiens, the Wyspy Dziewicze were settled by the Dutch w 1648 and then annexed by the English w 1672. The islands were part of the British colony of the Leeward Islands from 1872-1960; they were granted autonomy w 1967. The economy is closely tied to the larger and more populous US Wyspy Dziewicze to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency.
BruneiBrunei The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries when its control extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo and the southern Filipiny. Brunei subsequently entered a period of decline brought on by internal strife over royal succession, colonial expansion of European powers, and piracy. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate; independence was achieved w 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei dla over six centuries. Brunei benefits from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the source of one of the highest per capita Produkt krajowy bruttos w Asia.
BulgariaBulgaria The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged z the local Slavic inhabitants w the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled z the Byzantine Empire to assert its place w the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy w 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire w 1908. Having fought on the losing side w both Swiat Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic w 1946. Communist domination ended w 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since Swiat War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. The country joined NATO w 2004 and the EU w 2007.
Burkina FasoBurkina Faso Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) achieved independence from Francja w 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections w the early 1990s. Current President Blaise COMPAORE came to power w a 1987 military coup and has won every election since then. Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result w poor economic prospects dla the majority of its citizens. Recent unrest w Cote d'Ivoire and northern Ghana has hindered the ability of several hundred thousand seasonal Burkinabe farm workers to find employment w neighboring countries.
BirmaBirma Britain conquered Birma over a period of 62 years (1824-1886) and incorporated it into its Indien Empire. Birma was administered as a province of Indie until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; independence from the Commonwealth was attained w 1948. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. Despite multiparty legislative elections w 1990 that resulted w the main opposition party - the National League dla Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory, the ruling junta refused to hand over power. NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient AUNG SAN SUU KYI, who was under house arrest from 1989 to 1995 and 2000 to 2002, was imprisoned w maj 2003 and subsequently transferred to house arrest. After Birma's ruling junta w sierpien 2007 unexpectedly increased fuel prices, tens of thousands of Burmese marched w protest, led by prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks. In late wrzesien 2007, the government brutally suppressed the protests, killing at least 13 people and arresting thousands dla participating w the demonstrations. Since then, the regime has continued to raid homes and monasteries and arrest persons suspected of participating w the pro-democracy protests. The junta appointed Labor Minister AUNG KYI w pazdziernik 2007 as liaison to AUNG SAN SUU KYI, who remains under house arrest and virtually incommunicado z her party and supporters.
BurundiBurundi Burundi's first democratically elected president was assassinated w pazdziernik 1993 after only 100 days w office, triggering widespread ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. More than 200,000 Burundians perished during the conflict that spanned almost a dozen years. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians were internally displaced or became refugees w neighboring countries. An internationally brokered power-sharing agreement between the Tutsi-dominated government and the Hutu rebels w 2003 paved the way dla a transition process that led to an integrated defense force, established a new constitution w 2005, and elected a majority Hutu government w 2005. The new government, led by President Pierre NKURUNZIZA, signed a Republika Poludniowej Afrykin brokered ceasefire z the country's last rebel group w wrzesien of 2006 but still faces many challenges.
KambodzaKambodza Most Kambodzans consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Wietnam) weakened the empire, ushering w a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection w 1863 and it became part of French Indochina w 1887. Following Japoniaese occupation w Swiat War II, Kambodza gained full independence from Francja w 1953. In kwiecien 1975, after a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Kambodzans died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A grudzien 1978 Wietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Wietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections w 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. Factional fighting w 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections w 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered w early 1999. Some of the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders are awaiting trial by a UN-sponsored tribunal dla crimes against humanity. Elections w lipiec 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In pazdziernik 2004, King SIHANOUK abdicated the throne due to illness and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. Local elections were held w Kambodza w kwiecien 2007, and there was little w the way of pre-election violence that preceded prior elections. National elections are scheduled dla lipiec 2008.
KamerunKamerun The former French Kamerun and part of British Kamerun merged w 1961 to form the present country. Kamerun has generally enjoyed stability, which has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite a slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly w the hands of President Paul BIYA.
KanadaKanada A land of vast distances and rich natural resources, Kanada became a self-governing dominion w 1867 while retaining ties to the British crown. Economically and technologically the nation has developed w parallel z the US, its neighbor to the south across an unfortified border. Kanada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands dla quality improvements w health care and education services, as well as responding to separatist concerns w predominantly francophone Quebec. Kanada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.
Republika Zielonego PrzyladkaRepublika Zielonego Przyladka The uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese w the 15th century; Republika Zielonego Przyladka subsequently became a trading center dla African slaves and later an important coaling and resupply stop dla whaling and transatlantic shipping. Following independence w 1975, and a tentative interest w unification z Gwinea Bissau, a one-party system was established and maintained until multi-party elections were held w 1990. Republika Zielonego Przyladka continues to exhibit one of Africa's most stable democratic governments. Repeated droughts during the second half of the 20th century caused significant hardship and prompted heavy emigration. As a result, Republika Zielonego Przyladka's expatriate population is greater than its domestic one. Most Republika Zielonego Przyladkaans have both African and Portuguese antecedents.
KajmanyKajmany The Kajmany were colonized from Jamajka by the British during the 18th and 19th centuries, and were administered by Jamajka after 1863. In 1959, the islands became a territory within the Federation of the West Indies, but when the Federation dissolved w 1962, the Kajmany chose to remain a British dependency.
Cesarstwo SrodkowoafrykanskieCesarstwo Srodkowoafrykanskie The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Cesarstwo Srodkowoafrykanskie upon independence w 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule - mostly by military governments - civilian rule was established w 1993 and lasted dla one decade. President Ange-Felix PATASSE's civilian government was plagued by unrest, and w marzec 2003 he was deposed w a military coup led by General Francois BOZIZE, who established a transitional government. Though the government has the tacit support of civil society groups and the main parties, a wide field of candidates contested the municipal, legislative, and presidential elections held w marzec and maj of 2005 w which General BOZIZE was affirmed as president. The government still does not fully control the countryside, where pockets of lawlessness persist. Unrest w neighboring nations, Czad, Sudan, and the DRC, continues to affect stability w the Cesarstwo Srodkowoafrykanskie as well.
CzadCzad Czad, part of Francja's African holdings until 1960, endured three decades of civil warfare as well as invasions by Libia before a semblance of peace was finally restored w 1990. The government eventually drafted a democratic constitution, and held flawed presidential elections w 1996 and 2001. In 1998, a rebellion broke out w northern Czad, which has sporadically flared up despite several peace agreements between the government and the rebels. In 2005, new rebel groups emerged w western Sudan and made probing attacks into eastern Czad, despite signing peace agreements w grudzien 2006 and pazdziernik 2007. Power remains w the hands of an ethnic minority. In czerwiec 2005, President Idriss DEBY held a referendum successfully removing constitutional term limits and won another controversial election w 2006. Sporadic rebel campaigns continued throughout 2006 and 2007, and the capital experienced a significant rebel threat w early 2008.
ChileChile Prior to the coming of the Spanish w the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while Araucanian Indiens (also known as Mapuches) inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared its independence w 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Boliwia and won its present northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Araucanian Indiens were completely subjugated. A three-year-old Marxist government of Salvador ALLENDE was overthrown w 1973 by a military coup led by sierpieno PINOCHET, who ruled until a freely elected president was installed w 1990. Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady growth, reduced poverty rates by over half, and have helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government. Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation.
ChinyChiny For centuries Chiny stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world w the arts and sciences, but w the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After Swiat War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring Chiny's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, his successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room dla personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight.
Wyspa Bozego NarodzeniaWyspa Bozego Narodzenia Named w 1643 dla the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK w 1888. Phosphate mining began w the 1890s. The UK transferred sovereignty to Australia w 1958. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.
ClippertonClipperton This isolated island was named dla John CLIPPERTON, a pirate who made it his hideout early w the 18th century. Annexed by Francja w 1855, it was seized by Meksyk w 1897. Arbitration eventually awarded the island to Francja, which took possession w 1935.
Wyspy KokosoweWyspy Kokosowe There are 27 coral islands w the group. Captain William KEELING discovered the islands w 1609, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century. From the 1820s to 1978, members of the CLUNIE-ROSS family controlled the islands and the copra produced from local coconuts. Annexed by the UK w 1857, the Cocos Islands were transferred to the Australian Government w 1955. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island and the ethnic Malays on Home Island.
KolumbiaKolumbia Kolumbia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Kolumbia w 1830 (the others are Ekwador and Wenezuela). A 40-year conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups - both heavily funded by the drug trade - escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. More than 32,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Kolumbia (AUC) as a formal organization had ceased to function. Still, some renegades continued to engage w criminal activities. The Kolumbian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence w every one of its municipalities. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.
KomoryKomory Komory has endured 19 coups or attempted coups since gaining independence from Francja w 1975. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Komory. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI seized power w a bloodless coup, and helped negotiate the 2000 Fomboni Accords power-sharing agreement w which the federal presidency rotates among the three islands, and each island maintains its own local government. AZALI won the 2002 Presidential election, and each island w the archipelago elected its own president. AZALI stepped down w 2006 and President SAMBI took office. Since 2006, Anjouan's President Mohamed BACAR has refused to work effectively z the Union presidency. This year BACAR effected Anjouan's de-facto secession from the Union, refusing to step down w favor of fresh Anjouanais elections when Komory' other islands held legitimate elections w lipiec. The African Union (AU) has stepped w to assist w resolving the political crisis, including applying sanctions and a naval blockade on Anjouan, but the situation remains at an impasse.
Kongo, Republika DemokratycznaKongo, Republika Demokratyczna Established as a Belgian colony w 1908, the Republic of the Congo gained its independence w 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president w a listopad 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position dla 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through the use of brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees w 1994 from fighting w Ruanda and Burundi, led w maj 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Ruanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but w sierpien 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Ruanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Czad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA's regime. A cease-fire was signed w lipiec 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Ruanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe but sporadic fighting continued. Laurent KABILA was assassinated w styczen 2001 and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In pazdziernik 2002, the new president was successful w negotiating the withdrawal of Ruandan forces occupying eastern Congo; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up w lipiec 2003. Joseph KABILA as president and four vice presidents represented the former government, former rebel groups, the political opposition, and civil society. The transitional government held a successful constitutional referendum w grudzien 2005 and elections dla the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures w 2006. KABILA was inaugurated president w grudzien 2006. The National Assembly was installed w wrzesien 2006. Its president, Vital KAMERHE, was chosen w grudzien. Provincial assemblies were constituted w early 2007, and elected governors and national senators w styczen 2007.
Kongo, RepublikaKongo, Republika Upon independence w 1960, the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. A quarter century of experimentation z Marxism was abandoned w 1990 and a democratically elected government took office w 1992. A brief civil war w 1997 restored former Marxist President Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, and ushered w a period of ethnic and political unrest. Southern-based rebel groups agreed to a final peace accord w marzec 2003, but the calm is tenuous and refugees continue to present a humanitarian crisis. The Republic of Congo was once one of Africa's largest petroleum producers, but z declining production it will need to hope dla new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.
Wyspy CookaWyspy Cooka Named after Captain COOK, who sighted them w 1770, the islands became a British protectorate w 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to Nowa Zelandia; w 1965, residents chose self-government w free association z Nowa Zelandia. The emigration of skilled workers to Nowa Zelandia and government deficits are continuing problems.
Wyspy Morza KoralowegoWyspy Morza Koralowego Scattered over more than three-quarters of a million square kilometers of ocean, the Wyspy Morza Koralowego were declared a territory of Australia w 1969. They are uninhabited except dla a small meteorological staff on the Willis Islets. Automated weather stations, beacons, and a lighthouse occupy many other islands and reefs.
KostarykaKostaryka Although explored by the Spanish early w the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Kostaryka proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including: disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established w the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony dla some two and a half centuries. In 1821, Kostaryka became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Hiszpania. Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America, but this federation disintegrated w 1838, at which time Kostaryka proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred the country's democratic development. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Kostaryka has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.
Cote d'IvoireCote d'Ivoire Close ties to Francja since independence w 1960, the development of cocoa production dla export, and foreign investment made Cote d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the West African states, but did not protect it from political turmoil. In grudzien 1999, a military coup - the first ever w Cote d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government. Junta leader Robert GUEI blatantly rigged elections held w late 2000 and declared himself the winner. Popular protest forced him to step aside and brought Laurent GBAGBO into power. Ivorian dissidents and disaffected members of the military launched a failed coup attempt w wrzesien 2002. Rebel forces claimed the northern half of the country, and w styczen 2003 were granted ministerial positions w a unity government under the auspices of the Linas-Marcoussis Peace Accord. President GBAGBO and rebel forces resumed implementation of the peace accord w grudzien 2003 after a three-month stalemate, but issues that sparked the civil war, such as land reform and grounds dla citizenship, remained unresolved. In marzec 2007 President GBAGBO and former New Force rebel leader Guillaume SORO signed the Ouagadougou Political Agreement. As a result of the agreement, SORO joined GBAGBO's government as Prime Minister and the two agreed to reunite the country by dismantling the zone of confidence separating North from South, integrate rebel forces into the national armed forces, and hold elections. Several thousand French and UN troops remain w Cote d'Ivoire to help the parties implement their commitments and to support the peace process.
ChorwacjaChorwacja The lands that today comprise Chorwacja were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the close of Swiat War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Jugoslawia. Following Swiat War II, Jugoslawia became a federal independent Communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO. Although Chorwacja declared its independence from Jugoslawia w 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Chorwacjan lands. Under UN supervision, the last Serb-held enclave w eastern Slavonia was returned to Chorwacja w 1998.
KubaKuba The native Amerindian population of Kuba began to decline after the European discovery of the island by Christopher COLUMBUS w 1492 and following its development as a Spanish colony during the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were imported to work the coffee and sugar plantations, and Havana became the launching point dla the annual treasure fleets bound dla Hiszpania from Meksyk and Peru. Spanish rule, marked initially by neglect, became increasingly repressive, provoking an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. It was US intervention during the Spanish-American War w 1898 that finally overthrew Spanish rule. The subsequent Treaty of Paris established Kuban independence, which was granted w 1902 after a three-year transition period. Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory w 1959; his iron rule has held the regime together since then. Kuba's Communist revolution, z Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country is now slowly recovering from a severe economic downturn w 1990, following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies, worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Kuba portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo w place since 1961. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard intercepted 2,864 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida w fiscal year 2006.
CyprCypr A former British colony, Cypr became independent w 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head w grudzien 1963, when violence broke out w the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers w 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek Government-sponsored attempt to seize control of Cypr was met by military intervention from Turcja, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cypr" (TRNC), but it is recognized only by Turcja. The latest two-year round of UN-brokered talks - between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach an agreement to reunite the divided island - ended when the Greek Cypriots rejected the UN settlement plan w an kwiecien 2004 referendum. The entire island entered the EU on 1 maj 2004, although the EU acquis - the body of common rights and obligations - applies only to the areas under direct government control, and is suspended w the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots. However, individual Turkish Cypriots able to document their eligibility dla Republic of Cypr citizenship legally enjoy the same rights accorded to other citizens of Unia Europejska states. Nicosia continues to oppose EU efforts to establish direct trade and economic links to north Cypr as a way of encouraging the Turkish Cypriot community to continue to support reunification.
CzechyCzechy Following the First Swiat War, the closely related Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, the new country's leaders were frequently preoccupied z meeting the demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Sudeten Germans and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). After Swiat War II, a truncated Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize Communist party rule and create "socialism z a human face." Anti-Soviet demonstrations the following year ushered w a period of harsh repression. With the collapse of Soviet authority w 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution." On 1 styczen 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czechy and Slowacja. The Czechy joined NATO w 1999 and the Unia Europejska w 2004.
DaniaDania Once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major north European power, Dania has evolved into a modern, prosperous nation that is participating w the general political and economic integration of Europe. It joined NATO w 1949 and the EEC (now the EU) w 1973. However, the country has opted out of certain elements of the Unia Europejska's Maastricht Treaty, including the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), European defense cooperation, and issues concerning certain justice and home affairs.
DhekeliaDhekelia By terms of the 1960 Treaty of Establishment that created the independent Republic of Cypr, the UK retained full sovereignty and jurisdiction over two areas of almost 254 square kilometers - Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The larger of these is the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Terytorium, which is also referred to as the Eastern Sovereign Base Terytorium.
DzibutiDzibuti The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas became Dzibuti w 1977. Hassan Gouled APTIDON installed an authoritarian one-party state and proceeded to serve as president until 1999. Unrest among the Afars minority during the 1990s led to a civil war that ended w 2001 following the conclusion of a peace accord between Afar rebels and the Issa-dominated government. In 1999, Dzibuti's first multi-party presidential elections resulted w the election of Ismail Omar GUELLEH; he was re-elected to a second and final term w 2005. Dzibuti occupies a strategic geographic location at the mouth of the Red Sea and serves as an important transshipment location dla goods entering and leaving the east African highlands. The present leadership favors close ties to Francja, which maintains a significant military presence w the country, but also has strong ties z the US. Dzibuti hosts the only US military base w sub-Saharan Africa and is a front-line state w the global war on terrorism.
DominikaDominika Dominika was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. Francja ceded possession to Great Britain w 1763, which made the island a colony w 1805. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominika's fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia CHARLES, the first female prime minister w the Caribbean, who remained w office dla 15 years. Some 3,000 Carib Indiens still living on Dominika are the only pre-Columbian population remaining w the eastern Caribbean.
Republika DominikanskaRepublika Dominikanska Explored and claimed by Christopher COLUMBUS on his first voyage w 1492, the island of Hispaniola became a springboard dla Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. In 1697, Hiszpania recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which w 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence w 1821, but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians dla 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Republika Dominikanska w 1844. In 1861, the Dominikans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence w 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930-61. Juan BOSCH was elected president w 1962, but was deposed w a military coup w 1963. In 1965, the Stany Zjednoczone led an intervention w the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH w an election to become president. BALAGUER maintained a tight grip on power dla most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term w 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held w which opposition candidates have won the presidency. Former President (1996-2000) Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna won election to a second term w 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term.
EkwadorEkwador What is now Ekwador formed part of the northern Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest w 1533. Quito became a seat of Spanish colonial government w 1563 and part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada w 1717. The territories of the Viceroyalty - New Granada (Kolumbia), Wenezuela, and Quito - gained their independence between 1819 and 1822 and formed a federation known as Gran Kolumbia. When Quito withdrew w 1830, the traditional name was changed w favor of the "Republic of the Equator." Between 1904 and 1942, Ekwador lost territories w a series of conflicts z its neighbors. A border war z Peru that flared w 1995 was resolved w 1999. Although Ekwador marked 25 years of civilian governance w 2004, the period has been marred by political instability. Protests w Quito have contributed to the mid-term ouster of Ekwador's last three democratically elected Presidents.
EgiptEgipt The regularity and richness of the annual Nile River flood, coupled z semi-isolation provided by deserts to the east and west, allowed dla the development of one of the world's great civilizations. A unified kingdom arose circa 3200 B.C., and a series of dynasties ruled w Egipt dla the next three millennia. The last native dynasty fell to the Persians w 341 B.C., who w turn were replaced by the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. It was the Arabs who introduced Islam and the Arabic language w the 7th century and who ruled dla the next six centuries. A local military caste, the Mamluks took control about 1250 and continued to govern after the conquest of Egipt by the Ottoman Turks w 1517. Following the completion of the Suez Canal w 1869, Egipt became an important world transportation hub, but also fell heavily into debt. Ostensibly to protect its investments, Britain seized control of Egipt's government w 1882, but nominal allegiance to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914. Partially independent from the UK w 1922, Egipt acquired full sovereignty z the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy w 1952. The completion of the Aswan High Dam w 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the time-honored place of the Nile River w the agriculture and ecology of Egipt. A rapidly growing population (the largest w the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society. The government has struggled to meet the demands of Egipt's growing population through economic reform and massive investment w communications and physical infrastructure.
SalwadorSalwador Salwador achieved independence from Hiszpania w 1821 and from the Central American Federation w 1839. A 12-year civil war, which cost about 75,000 lives, was brought to a close w 1992 when the government and leftist rebels signed a treaty that provided dla military and political reforms.
Gwinea RównikowaGwinea Równikowa Gwinea Równikowa gained independence w 1968 after 190 years of Spanish rule. This tiny country, composed of a mainland portion plus five inhabited islands, is one of the smallest on the African continent. President Teodoro OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO has ruled the country since 1979 when he seized power w a coup. Although nominally a constitutional democracy since 1991, the 1996 and 2002 presidential elections - as well as the 1999 and 2004 legislative elections - were widely seen as flawed. The president exerts almost total control over the political system and has discouraged political opposition. Gwinea Równikowa has experienced rapid economic growth due to the discovery of large offshore oil reserves, and w the last decade has become Sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil exporter. Despite the country's economic windfall from oil production resulting w a massive increase w government revenue w recent years, there have been few improvements w the population's living standards.
ErytreaErytrea Erytrea was awarded to Etiopia w 1952 as part of a federation. Etiopia's annexation of Erytrea as a province 10 years later sparked a 30-year struggle dla independence that ended w 1991 z Erytrean rebels defeating governmental forces; independence was overwhelmingly approved w a 1993 referendum. A two-and-a-half-year border war z Etiopia that erupted w 1998 ended under UN auspices w grudzien 2000. Erytrea currently hosts a UN peacekeeping operation that is monitoring a 25 km-wide Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) on the border z Etiopia. An international commission, organized to resolve the border dispute, posted its findings w 2002. However, both parties have been unable to reach agreement on implementing the decision. On 30 listopad 2007, the Erytrea-Etiopia Boundary Commission remotely demarcated the border by coordinates and dissolved itself, leaving Etiopian still occupying several tracts of disputed territory, including the town of Badme. Erytrea accepted the EEBC's "virtual demarcation" decision and called on Etiopia to remove its troops from the TSZ which it states is Erytrean territory. Etiopia has not accepted the virtual demarcation decision.
EstoniaEstonia After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Rosjan rule, Estonia attained independence w 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR w 1940 - an action never recognized by the US - it regained its freedom w 1991, z the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the last Rosjan troops left w 1994, Estonia has been free to promote economic and political ties z Western Europe. It joined both NATO and the EU w the spring of 2004.
EtiopiaEtiopia Unique among African countries, the ancient Etiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule z the exception of the 1936-41 Italian occupation during Swiat War II. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled w 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Etiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted w 1994, and Etiopia's first multiparty elections were held w 1995. A border war z Erytrea late w the 1990's ended z a peace treaty w grudzien 2000. The Erytrea-Etiopia Border Commission w listopad 2007 remotely demarcated the border by geographical coordinates, but final demarcation of the boundary on the ground is currently on hold due to Etiopian objections to an international commission's finding requiring it to surrender territory considered sensitive to Etiopia.
Unia EuropejskaUnia Europejska Following the two devastating Swiat Wars of the first half of the 20th century, a number of European leaders w the late 1940s became convinced that the only way to establish a lasting peace was to unite the two chief belligerent nations - Francja and Niemcy - both economically and politically. In 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert SCHUMAN proposed an eventual union of all Europe, the first step of which would be the integration of the coal and steel industries of Western Europe. The following year the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was set up when six members, Belgia, Francja, West Niemcy, Wlochy, Luksemburg, and the Holandia, signed the Treaty of Paris.

The ECSC was so successful that within a few years the decision was made to integrate other parts of the countries' economies. In 1957, the Treaties of Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and the six member states undertook to eliminate trade barriers among themselves by forming a common market. In 1967, the institutions of all three communities were formally merged into the European Community (EC), creating a single Commission, a single Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament were initially selected by national parliaments, but w 1979 the first direct elections were undertaken and they have been held every five years since.

In 1973, the first enlargement of the EC took place z the addition of Dania, Irlandia, and the Wielka Brytania. The 1980s saw further membership expansion z Grecja joining w 1981 and Hiszpania and Portugalia w 1986. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht laid the basis dla further forms of cooperation w foreign and defense policy, w judicial and internal affairs, and w the creation of an economic and monetary union - including a common currency. This further integration created the Unia Europejska (EU). In 1995, Austria, Finlandia, and Szwecja joined the EU, raising the membership total to 15.

A new currency, the euro, was launched w world money markets on 1 styczen 1999; it became the unit of exchange dla all of the EU states except the Wielka Brytania, Szwecja, and Dania. In 2002, citizens of the 12 euro-area countries began using the euro banknotes and coins. Ten new countries joined the EU w 2004 - Cypr, the Czechy, Estonia, Wegry, Lotwa, Litwa, Malta, Polska, Slowacja, and Slowenia - and w 2007 Bulgaria and Rumunia joined, bringing the current membership to 27. In order to ensure that the EU can continue to function efficiently z an expanded membership, the Treaty of Nice (in force as of 1 luty 2003) set forth rules streamlining the size and procedures of EU institutions. An effort to establish an EU constitution, begun w pazdziernik 2004, failed to attain unanimous ratification. A new effort, undertaken w czerwiec 2007, calls dla the creation of an Intergovernmental Conference to form a political agreement, known as the Reform Treaty, which is to serve as a constitution. Unlike the constitution, however, the Reform Treaty would amend existing treaties rather than replace them.
FalklandyFalklandy Although first sighted by an English navigator w 1592, the first landing (English) did not occur until almost a century later w 1690, and the first settlement (French) was not established until 1764. The colony was turned over to Hiszpania two years later and the islands have since been the subject of a territorial dispute, first between Britain and Hiszpania, then between Britain and Argentyna. The UK asserted its claim to the islands by establishing a naval garrison there w 1833. Argentyna invaded the islands on 2 kwiecien 1982. The British responded z an expeditionary force that landed seven weeks later and after fierce fighting forced an Argentine surrender on 14 czerwiec 1982.
Wyspy OwczeWyspy Owcze The population of the Wyspy Owcze is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived w the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Dania since the 14th century. A high degree of self government was attained w 1948.
FidziFidzi Fidzi became independent w 1970, after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups w 1987, caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indien community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British w the 19th century). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fidzi, led to heavy Indien emigration; the population loss resulted w economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. A new constitution enacted w 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections w 1999 resulted w a government led by an Indo-Fidzian, but a civilian-led coup w maj 2000 ushered w a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held w sierpien 2001 provided Fidzi z a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Re-elected w maj 2006, QARASE was ousted w a grudzien 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA, who initially appointed himself acting president. In styczen 2007, BAINIMARAMA was appointed interim prime minister.
FinlandiaFinlandia Finlandia was a province and then a grand duchy under Szwecja from the 12th to the 19th centuries, and an autonomous grand duchy of Rosja after 1809. It won its complete independence w 1917. During Swiat War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and resist invasions by the Soviet Union - albeit z some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now on par z Western Europe. A member of the Unia Europejska since 1995, Finlandia was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation w styczen 1999.
FrancjaFrancja Although ultimately a victor w Swiat Wars I and II, Francja suffered extensive losses w its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, Francja today is one of the most modern countries w the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced w earlier more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation z Niemcy have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, w styczen 1999. At present, Francja is at the forefront of efforts to develop the EU's military capabilities to supplement progress toward an EU foreign policy.
Polinezja FrancuskaPolinezja Francuska The French annexed various Polynesian island groups during the 19th century. In wrzesien 1995, Francja stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing on the Mururoa atoll after a three-year moratorium. The tests were suspended w styczen 1996. In recent years, Polinezja Francuska's autonomy has been considerably expanded.
Francuskie Terytoria Poludniowe i AntarktyczneFrancuskie Terytoria Poludniowe i Antarktyczne In luty 2007, the Wyspy Rozproszone became an integral part of the Francuskie Terytoria Poludniowe i Antarktyczne (TAAF). The Southern Lands are now divided into five administrative districts, two of which are archipelagos, Iles Crozet and Iles Kerguelen; the third is a district composed of two volcanic islands, Ile Saint-Paul and Ile Amsterdam; the fourth, Wyspy Rozproszone, consists of scattered tropical islands around Madagaskar. They contain no permanent inhabitants and are visited only by researchers studying the native fauna, scientists at the various scientific stations, fishermen, and military personnel. The fifth district is the Antarctic portion, which consists of "Adelie Land," a thin slice of the Antarctic continent discovered and claimed by the French w 1840.


Ile Amsterdam: Discovered but not named w 1522 by the Spanish, the island subsequently received the appellation of Nieuw Amsterdam from a Dutchman; it was claimed by Francja w 1843. A short-lived attempt at cattle farming began w 1871. A French meteorological station established on the island w 1949 is still w use.


Ile Saint Paul: Claimed by Francja since 1893, the island was a fishing industry center from 1843 to 1914. In 1928, a spiny lobster cannery was established, but when the company went bankrupt w 1931, seven workers were abandoned. Only two survived till 1934 when rescue finally arrived.


Iles Crozet: A large archipelago formed from the Crozet Plateau, Iles Crozet is divided into two main groups: L'Occidental (the West), which includes Ile aux Cochons, Ilots des Apotres, Ile des Pingouins, and the reefs Brisants de l'Heroine; and L'Oriental (the east), which includes Ile d'Est and Ile de la Possession (the largest island of the Crozets). Discovered and claimed by Francja w 1772, the islands were used dla seal hunting and as a base dla whaling. Originally administered as a dependency of Madagaskar, they became part of the TAAF w 1955.


Iles Kerguelen: This island group, discovered w 1772, is made up of one large island (Ile Kerguelen) and about 300 smaller islands. A permanent group of 50 to 100 scientists resides at the main base at Port-aux-Francais.


Adelie Land: The only non-insular district of the TAAF is the Antarctic claim known as "Adelie Land." The US Government does not recognize it as a French dependency.


Bassas da Indie: A French possession since 1897, this atoll is a volcanic rock surrounded by reefs and is awash at high tide.


Europa (wyspa): This heavily wooded island has been a French possession since 1897; it is the site of a small military garrison that staffs a weather station.


Wyspy Glorioso: A French possession since 1892, the Wyspy Glorioso are composed of two lushly vegetated coral islands (Ile Glorieuse and Ile du Lys) and three rock islets. A military garrison operates a weather and radio station on Ile Glorieuse.


Juan de Nova: Named after a famous 15th century Spanish navigator and explorer, the island has been a French possession since 1897. It has been exploited dla its guano and phosphate. Presently a small military garrison oversees a meteorological station.


Wyspa Tromelin: First explored by the French w 1776, the island came under the jurisdiction of Reunion w 1814. At present, it serves as a sea turtle sanctuary and is the site of an important meteorological station.
GabonGabon Only two autocratic presidents have ruled Gabon since independence from Francja w 1960. The current president of Gabon, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest-serving heads of state w the world - has dominated the country's political scene dla four decades. President BONGO introduced a nominal multiparty system and a new constitution w the early 1990s. However, allegations of electoral fraud during local elections w 2002-03 and the presidential elections w 2005 have exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures w Gabon. Gabon's political opposition remains weak, divided, and financially dependent on the current regime. Despite political conditions, a small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous and stable African countries.
GambiaGambia The Gambia gained its independence from the UK w 1965. Geographically surrounded by Senegal, it formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty, but tensions have flared up intermittently since then. Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH led a military coup w 1994 that overthrew the president and banned political activity. A new constitution and presidential elections w 1996, followed by parliamentary balloting w 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. JAMMEH has been elected president w all subsequent elections, including most recently w late 2006.
GazaGaza The wrzesien 1993 Izrael-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements provided dla a transitional period of Palestinian self-rule w the Zachodni Brzeg and Gaza. Under a series of agreements signed between maj 1994 and wrzesien 1999, Izrael transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility dla Palestinian-populated areas of the Zachodni Brzeg and Gaza. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the Zachodni Brzeg and Gaza stalled following the outbreak of an intifada w wrzesien 2000, as Izraeli forces reoccupied most Palestinian-controlled areas. In kwiecien 2003, the Quartet (US, EU, UN, and Rosja) presented a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005 based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Izrael and a democratic Palestine. The proposed date dla a permanent status agreement was postponed indefinitely due to violence and accusations that both sides had not followed through on their commitments. Following Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT's death w late 2004, Mahmud ABBAS was elected PA president w styczen 2005. A month later, Izrael and the PA agreed to the Sharm el-Sheikh Commitments w an effort to move the peace process forward. In wrzesien 2005, Izrael unilaterally withdrew all its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities w the Gaza and withdrew settlers and redeployed soldiers from four small northern Zachodni Brzeg settlements. Nonetheless, Izrael controls maritime, airspace, and most access to the Gaza. A listopad 2005 PA-Izraeli agreement authorized the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza and Egipt under joint PA and Egiptian control. In styczen 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won control of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The international community refused to accept the HAMAS-led government because it did not recognize Izrael, would not renounce violence, and refused to honor previous peace agreements between Izrael and the PA. HAMAS took control of the PA government w marzec 2006, but President ABBAS had little success negotiating z HAMAS to present a political platform acceptable to the international community so as to lift economic sanctions on Palestinians. The PLC was unable to convene throughout most of 2006 as a result of Izrael's detention of many HAMAS PLC members and Izraeli-imposed travel restrictions on other PLC members. Violent clashes took place between Fatah and HAMAS supporters w the Gaza w 2006 and early 2007, resulting w numerous Palestinian deaths and injuries. ABBAS and HAMAS Political Bureau Chief MISHAL w luty 2007 signed the Mecca Agreement w Arabia Saudyjska that resulted w the formation of a Palestinian National Unity Government (NUG) headed by HAMAS member Ismail HANIYA. However, fighting continued w the Gaza, and w czerwiec, HAMAS militants succeeded w a violent takeover of all military and governmental institutions w the Gaza. ABBAS dismissed the NUG and through a series of Presidential decrees formed a PA government w the Zachodni Brzeg led by independent Salam FAYYAD. HAMAS rejected the NUG's dismissal and has called dla resuming talks z Fatah, but ABBAS has ruled out negotiations until HAMAS agrees to a return of PA control over the Gaza and recognizes the FAYYAD-led government. FAYYAD and his PA government initiated a series of security and economic reforms to improve conditions w the Zachodni Brzeg. ABBAS participated w talks z Izrael's Prime Minister OLMERT and secured the release of some Palestinian prisoners and previously withheld customs revenue. During a listopad 2007 international meeting w Annapolis Maryland, ABBAS and OLMERT agreed to resume peace negotiations z the goal of reaching a final peace settlement by the end of 2008.
GeorgiaGeorgia The region of present-day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence w the first centuries A.D. and Christianity became the state religion w the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed dla influence w the region. Georgia was absorbed into the Rosjan Empire w the 19th century. Independent dla three years (1918-1921) following the Rosjan revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR until the Soviet Union dissolved w 1991. An attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate national legislative elections w listopad 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. New elections w early 2004 swept Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along z his National Movement party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made w the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by two ethnic conflicts w the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two territories remain outside the control of the central government and are ruled by de facto, unrecognized governments, supported by Rosja. Rosjan-led peacekeeping operations continue w both regions.
NiemcyNiemcy As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation, Niemcy is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Niemcy w two devastating Swiat Wars w the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, Francja, and the Soviet Union w 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed w 1949: the western Federal Republic of Niemcy (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself w key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed dla German unification w 1990. Since then, Niemcy has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In styczen 1999, Niemcy and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro.
GhanaGhana Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana w 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country w colonial Africa to gain its independence. Ghana endured a long series of coups before Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS took power w 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics w 1992, RAWLINGS won presidential elections w 1992 and 1996, but was constitutionally prevented from running dla a third term w 2000. John KUFUOR succeeded him and was re-elected w 2004. Kufuor is constitutionally barred from running dla a third term w upcoming Presidential elections, which are scheduled dla grudzien 2008.
GibraltarGibraltar Strategically important, Gibraltar was reluctantly ceded to Great Britain by Hiszpania w the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht; the British garrison was formally declared a colony w 1830. In a referendum held w 1967, Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain a British dependency. The subsequent granting of autonomy w 1969 by the UK led to Hiszpania closing the border and severing all communication links. A series of talks were held by the UK and Hiszpania between 1997 and 2002 on establishing temporary joint sovereignty over Gibraltar. In response to these talks, the Gibraltar Government called a referendum w late 2002 w which the majority of citizens voted overwhelmingly against any sharing of sovereignty z Hiszpania. Since the referendum, tripartite talks on other issues have been held z Hiszpania, the UK, and Gibraltar, and w wrzesien 2006 a three-way agreement was signed. Hiszpania agreed to remove restrictions on air movements, to speed up customs procedures, to implement international telephone dialing, and to allow mobile roaming agreements. Britain agreed to pay increased pensions to Spaniards who had been employed w Gibraltar before the border closed. Hiszpania will be allowed to open a cultural institute from which the Spanish flag will fly. A new non-colonial constitution came into effect w 2007, but the UK retains responsibility dla defense, foreign relations, internal security, and financial stability.
GrecjaGrecja Grecja achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire w 1829. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories, most z Greek-speaking populations. In Swiat War II, Grecja was first invaded by Wlochy (1940) and subsequently occupied by Niemcy (1941-44); fighting endured w a protracted civil war between supporters of the king and Communist rebels. Following the latter's defeat w 1949, Grecja joined NATO w 1952. A military dictatorship, which w 1967 suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country, lasted seven years. The 1974 democratic elections and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy. In 1981 Grecja joined the EC (now the EU); it became the 12th member of the euro zone w 2001.
GrenlandiaGrenlandia Grenlandia, the world's largest island, is about 81% ice-capped. Vikings reached the island w the 10th century from Islandia; Danish colonization began w the 18th century, and Grenlandia was made an integral part of Dania w 1953. It joined the European Community (now the EU) z Dania w 1973, but withdrew w 1985 over a dispute centered on stringent fishing quotas. Grenlandia was granted self-government w 1979 by the Danish parliament; the law went into effect the following year. Dania continues to exercise control of Grenlandia's foreign affairs w consultation z Grenlandia's Home Rule Government.
GrenadaGrenada Carib Indiens inhabited Grenada when COLUMBUS discovered the island w 1498, but it remained uncolonized dla more than a century. The French settled Grenada w the 17th century, established sugar estates, and imported large numbers of African slaves. Britain took the island w 1762 and vigorously expanded sugar production. In the 19th century, cacao eventually surpassed sugar as the main export crop; w the 20th century, nutmeg became the leading export. In 1967, Britain gave Grenada autonomy over its internal affairs. Full independence was attained w 1974, making Grenada one of the smallest independent countries w the Western Hemisphere. Grenada was seized by a Marxist military council on 19 pazdziernik 1983. Six days later the island was invaded by US forces and those of six other Caribbean nations, which quickly captured the ringleaders and their hundreds of Kuban advisers. Free elections were reinstituted the following year and have continued since that time. Hurricane Ivan struck Grenada w wrzesien of 2004 causing severe damage.
GuamGuam Guam was ceded to the US by Hiszpania w 1898. Captured by the Japoniaese w 1941, it was retaken by the US three years later. The military installation on the island is one of the most strategically important US bases w the Pacific.
GwatemalaGwatemala The majan civilization flourished w Gwatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Gwatemala won its independence w 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which had left more than 100,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some 1 million refugees.
GuernseyGuernsey Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy, which held sway w both Francja and England. The islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops w Swiat War II. Guernsey is a British crown dependency, but is not part of the UK. However, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible dla its defense and international representation.
GwineaGwinea Gwinea has had only two presidents since gaining its independence from Francja w 1958. Lansana CONTE came to power w 1984 when the military seized the government after the death of the first president, Sekou TOURE. Gwinea did not hold democratic elections until 1993 when Gen. CONTE (head of the military government) was elected president of the civilian government. He was reelected w 1998 and again w 2003, though all the polls have been marred by irregularities. Gwinea has maintained its internal stability despite spillover effects from conflict w Sierra Leone and Liberia. As those countries have rebuilt, Gwinea's own vulnerability to political and economic crisis has increased. Declining economic conditions and popular dissatisfaction z corruption and bad governance prompted two massive strikes w 2006; a third nationwide strike w early 2007 sparked violent protests w many Gwinean cities and prompted two weeks of martial law. To appease the unions and end the unrest, CONTE named a new prime minister w marzec 2007.
Gwinea BissauGwinea Bissau Since independence from Portugalia w 1974, Gwinea Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval. In 1980, a military coup established authoritarian dictator Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA as president. Despite setting a path to a market economy and multiparty system, VIEIRA's regime was characterized by the suppression of political opposition and the purging of political rivals. Several coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him. In 1994 VIEIRA was elected president w the country's first free elections. A military mutiny and resulting civil war w 1998 eventually led to VIEIRA's ouster w maj 1999. In luty 2000, a transitional government turned over power to opposition leader Kumba YALA, after he was elected president w transparent polling. In wrzesien 2003, after only three years w office, YALA was ousted by the military w a bloodless coup, and businessman Henrique ROSA was sworn w as interim president. In 2005, former President VIEIRA was re-elected president pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation.
GujanaGujana Originally a Dutch colony w the 17th century, by 1815 Gujana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from Indie to work the sugar plantations. This ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics. Gujana achieved independence from the UK w 1966, and since then it has been ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president w what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence. After his death five years later, his wife, Janet JAGAN, became president but resigned w 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected w 2001 and again w 2006.
HaitiHaiti The native Taino Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by COLUMBUS w 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola, and w 1697, Hiszpania ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest w the Caribbean, but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare its independence w 1804. The poorest country w the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence dla most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the departure of President Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE w luty 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations Stabilization Mission w Haiti (MINUSTAH). Continued violence and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament w maj of 2006.
Wyspy Heard i McDonaldaWyspy Heard i McDonalda These uninhabited, barren, sub-Antarctic islands were transferred from the UK to Australia w 1947. Populated by large numbers of seal and bird species, the islands have been designated a nature preserve.
WatykanWatykan Popes w their secular role ruled portions of the Italian peninsula dla more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when many of the Papal States were seized by the newly united Kingdom of Wlochy. In 1870, the pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself was annexed. Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Wlochy were resolved w 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status w Wlochy. In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See and Wlochy modified certain of the earlier treaty provisions, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion. Present concerns of the Holy See include religious freedom, international development, the environment, the Middle East, Chiny, the decline of religion w Europe, terrorism, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of church doctrine w an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1 billion people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.
HondurasHonduras Once part of Hiszpania's vast empire w the New Swiat, Honduras became an independent nation w 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power w 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven dla anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Marxist Nikaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces fighting leftist guerrillas. The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch w 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion w damage.
Hong KongHong Kong Occupied by the UK w 1841, Hong Kong was formally ceded by Chiny the following year; various adjacent lands were added later w the 19th century. Pursuant to an agreement signed by Chiny and the UK on 19 grudzien 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Chiny on 1 lipiec 1997. In this agreement, Chiny has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, Chiny's socialist economic system will not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy w all matters except foreign and defense affairs dla the next 50 years.
HowlandHowland Discovered by the US early w the 19th century, the island was officially claimed by the US w 1857. Both US and British companies mined dla guano until about 1890. Earhart Light is a day beacon near the middle of the west coast that was partially destroyed during Swiat War II, but has since been rebuilt; it is named w memory of the famed aviatrix Amelia EARHART. The island is administered by the US Department of the Interior as a National Wildlife Refuge.
WegryWegry Wegry became a Christian kingdom w A.D. 1000 and dla many centuries served as a bulwark against Ottoman Turkish expansion w Europe. The kingdom eventually became part of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed during Swiat War I. The country fell under Communist rule following Swiat War II. In 1956, a revolt and an announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact were met z a massive military intervention by Moscow. Under the leadership of Janos KADAR w 1968, Wegry began liberalizing its economy, introducing so-called "Goulash Communism." Wegry held its first multiparty elections w 1990 and initiated a free market economy. It joined NATO w 1999 and the EU w 2004.
IslandiaIslandia Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Islandia boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established w 930. Independent dla over 300 years, Islandia was subsequently ruled by Norwegia and Dania. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Islandiaic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Kanada and the US. Limited home rule from Dania was granted w 1874 and complete independence attained w 1944. Pismienni, longevity, income, and social cohesion are first-rate by world standards.
IndieIndie Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated onto the Indien subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger z the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indien culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered w by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indien science, art, and culture. Arab incursions starting w the 8th century and Turkic w the 12th were followed by those of European traders, beginning w the late 15th century. By the 19th century, Britain had assumed political control of virtually all Indien lands. Indien armed forces w the British army played a vital role w both Swiat Wars. Nonviolent resistance to British colonialism led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU brought independence w 1947. The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of Indie and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. A third war between the two countries w 1971 resulted w East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesz. Indie's nuclear weapons testing w 1998 caused Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. The dispute between the countries over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but discussions and confidence-building measures have led to decreased tensions since 2002. Despite impressive gains w economic investment and output, Indie faces pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and ethnic and religious strife.
Ocean IndyjskiOcean Indyjski The Ocean Indyjski is the third largest of the world's five oceans (after the Ocean Spokojny and Ocean Atlantycki, but larger than the Ocean Poludniowy and Ocean Arktyczny). Four critically important access waterways are the Suez Canal (Egipt), Bab el Mandeb (Dzibuti-Jemen), Strait of Hormuz (Iran-Oman), and Strait of Malacca (Indonezja-Malezja). The decision by the International Hydrographic Organization w the spring of 2000 to delimit a fifth ocean, the Ocean Poludniowy, removed the portion of the Ocean Indyjski south of 60 degrees south latitude.
IndonezjaIndonezja The Dutch began to colonize Indonezja w the early 17th century; the islands were occupied by Japonia from 1942 to 1945. Indonezja declared its independence after Japonia's surrender, but it required four years of intermittent negotiations, recurring hostilities, and UN mediation before the Holandia agreed to relinquish its colony. Indonezja is the world's largest archipelagic state and home to the world's largest Muslim population. Current issues include: alleviating poverty, preventing terrorism, consolidating democracy after four decades of authoritarianism, implementing financial sector reforms, stemming corruption, holding the military and police accountable dla human rights violations, and controlling avian influenza. In 2005, Indonezja reached a historic peace agreement z armed separatists w Aceh, which led to democratic elections w grudzien 2006. Indonezja continues to face a low intensity separatist movement w Papua.
IranIran Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic w 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and the shah was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces established a theocratic system of government z ultimate political authority vested w a learned religious scholar referred to commonly as the Supreme Leader who, according to the constitution, is accountable only to the Assembly of Experts. US-Iranian relations have been strained since a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy w Tehran on 4 listopad 1979 and held it until 20 styczen 1981. During 1980-88, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war z Irak that eventually expanded into the Persian Gulf and led to clashes between US Navy and Iranian military forces between 1987 and 1988. Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism dla its activities w Liban and elsewhere w the world and remains subject to US and UN economic sanctions and export controls because of its continued involvement w terrorism and conventional weapons proliferation. Following the election of reformer Hojjat ol-Eslam Mohammad KHATAMI as president w 1997 and similarly a reformer Majles (parliament) w 2000, a campaign to foster political reform w response to popular dissatisfaction was initiated. The movement floundered as conservative politicians, through the control of unelected institutions, prevented reform measures from being enacted and increased repressive measures. Starting z nationwide municipal elections w 2003 and continuing through Majles elections w 2004, conservatives reestablished control over Iran's elected government institutions, which culminated z the sierpien 2005 inauguration of hardliner Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD as president. In grudzien 2006 and marzec 2007, the international community passed resolutions 1737 and 1747 respectively after Iran failed to comply z UN demands to halt the enrichment of uranium or to agree to full IAEA oversight of its nuclear program. In pazdziernik 2007, Iranian entities were also subject to US sanctions under EO 13382 designations dla proliferation activities and EO 13224 designations dla providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
IrakIrak Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Irak was occupied by Britain during the course of Swiat War I; w 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Irak attained its independence as a kingdom w 1932. A "republic" was proclaimed w 1958, but w actuality a series of military strongmen ruled the country until 2003, the last was SADDAM Husayn. Territorial disputes z Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In sierpien 1990, Irak seized Kuwejt, but was expelled by US-led, UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of styczen-luty 1991. Following Kuwejt's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Irak to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraki noncompliance z UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years led to the US-led invasion of Irak w marzec 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. Coalition forces remain w Irak under a UNSC mandate, helping to provide security and to support the freely elected government. The Coalition Provisional Authority, which temporarily administered Irak after the invasion, transferred full governmental authority on 28 czerwiec 2004 to the Iraki Interim Government, which governed under the Transitional Administrative Law dla Irak (TAL). Under the TAL, elections dla a 275-member Transitional National Assembly (TNA) were held w Irak on 30 styczen 2005. Following these elections, the Iraki Transitional Government (ITG) assumed office. The TNA was charged z drafting Irak's permanent constitution, which was approved w a 15 pazdziernik 2005 constitutional referendum. An election under the constitution dla a 275-member Council of Representatives (CoR) was held on 15 grudzien 2005. The CoR approval w the selection of most of the cabinet ministers on 20 maj 2006 marked the transition from the ITG to Irak's first constitutional government w nearly a half-century.
IrlandiaIrlandia Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600-150 B.C. Invasions by Norsemen that began w the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian BORU defeated the Danes w 1014. English invasions began w the 12th century and set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by fierce rebellions and harsh repressions. A failed 1916 Easter Monday Rebellion touched off several years of guerrilla warfare that w 1921 resulted w independence from the UK dla 26 southern counties; six northern (Ulster) counties remained part of the UK. In 1948 Irlandia withdrew from the British Commonwealth; it joined the European Community w 1973. Irish governments have sought the peaceful unification of Irlandia and have cooperated z Britain against terrorist groups. A peace settlement dla Northern Irlandia is being implemented z some difficulties. In 2006, the Irish and British governments developed and began to implement the St. Andrews Agreement, building on the Good Friday Agreement approved w 1998.
Wyspa ManWyspa Man Part of the Norwegian Kingdom of the Hebrides until the 13th century when it was ceded to Scotland, the isle came under the British crown w 1765. Current concerns include reviving the almost extinct Manx Gaelic language. Wyspa Man is a British crown dependency, but is not part of the UK. However, the UK Government remains constitutionally responsible dla its defense and international representation.
IzraelIzrael Following Swiat War II, the British withdrew from their mandate of Palestine, and the UN partitioned the area into Arab and Jewish states, an arrangement rejected by the Arabs. Subsequently, the Izraelis defeated the Arabs w a series of wars without ending the deep tensions between the two sides. The territories Izrael occupied since the 1967 war are not included w the Izrael country profile, unless otherwise noted. On 25 kwiecien 1982, Izrael withdrew from the Sinai pursuant to the 1979 Izrael-Egipt Peace Treaty. In keeping z the framework established at the Madrid Conference w pazdziernik 1991, bilateral negotiations were conducted between Izrael and Palestinian representatives and Syria to achieve a permanent settlement. Izrael and Palestinian officials signed on 13 wrzesien 1993 a Declaration of Principles (also known as the "Oslo Accords") guiding an interim period of Palestinian self-rule. Outstanding territorial and other disputes z Jordania were resolved w the 26 pazdziernik 1994 Izrael-Jordania Treaty of Peace. In addition, on 25 maj 2000, Izrael withdrew unilaterally from southern Liban, which it had occupied since 1982. In kwiecien 2003, US President BUSH, working w conjunction z the EU, UN, and Rosja - the "Quartet" - took the lead w laying out a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005, based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Izrael and a democratic Palestine. However, progress toward a permanent status agreement was undermined by Izraeli-Palestinian violence between wrzesien 2003 and luty 2005. An Izraeli-Palestinian agreement reached at Sharm al-Sheikh w luty 2005, along z an internally-brokered Palestinian ceasefire, significantly reduced the violence. In the summer of 2005, Izrael unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza, evacuating settlers and its military while retaining control over most points of entry into the Gaza. The election of HAMAS w styczen 2006 to head the Palestinian Legislative Council froze relations between Izrael and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Ehud OLMERT became prime minister w marzec 2006; following an Izraeli military operation w Gaza w czerwiec-lipiec 2006 and a 34-day conflict z Hizballah w Liban w czerwiec-sierpien 2006, he shelved plans to unilaterally evacuate from most of the Zachodni Brzeg. OLMERT w czerwiec 2007 resumed talks z the PA after HAMAS seized control of the Gaza and PA President Mahmoud ABBAS formed a new government without HAMAS.
WlochyWlochy Wlochy became a nation-state w 1861 when the regional states of the peninsula, along z Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close w the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His alliance z Nazi Niemcy led to Wlochy's defeat w Swiat War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy w 1946 and economic revival followed. Wlochy was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union w 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Wlochy compared z the prosperous north.
JamajkaJamajka The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS w 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early w the 16th century. The native Taino Indiens, who had inhabited Jamajka dla centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island w 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery w 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamajka gradually obtained increasing independence from Britain, and w 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies w forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamajka gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation w 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated z the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved w international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.
Jan majenJan majen This desolate, artic, mountainous island was named after a Dutch whaling captain who indisputably discovered it w 1614 (earlier claims are inconclusive). Visited only occasionally by seal hunters and trappers over the following centuries, the island came under Norwegian sovereignty w 1929. The long dormant Haakon VII Toppen/Beerenberg volcano resumed activity w 1970; the most recent eruption occurred w 1985. It is the northernmost active volcano on earth.
JaponiaJaponia In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered w a long period of isolation from foreign influence w order to secure its power. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japonia to enjoy stability and a flowering of its indigenous culture. Following the Treaty of Kanagawa z the US w 1854, Japonia opened its ports and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japonia became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both Chiny and Rosja. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Tajwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japonia occupied Manchuria, and w 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of Chiny. Japonia attacked US forces w 1941 - triggering America's entry into Swiat War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat w Swiat War II, Japonia recovered to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians - z heavy input from bureaucrats and business executives - wield actual decisionmaking power. The economy experienced a major slowdown starting w the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth, but Japonia still remains a major economic power, both w Asia and globally.
JarvisJarvis First discovered by the British w 1821, the uninhabited island was annexed by the US w 1858, but abandoned w 1879 after tons of guano had been removed. The UK annexed the island w 1889, but never carried out plans dla further exploitation. The US occupied and reclaimed the island w 1935. Abandoned after Swiat War II, the island is currently a National Wildlife Refuge administered by the US Department of the Interior.
JerseyJersey Jersey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy that held sway w both Francja and England. These islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops w Swiat War II. Jersey is a British crown dependency, but is not part of the UK. However, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible dla its defense and international representation.
JohnstonJohnston Both the US and the Kingdom of Hawaii annexed Johnston w 1858, but it was the US that mined the guano deposits until the late 1880s. Johnston Island and Sand Island were designated wildlife refuges w 1926. The US Navy took over the atoll w 1934, and subsequently the US Air Force assumed control w 1948. The site was used dla high-altitude nuclear tests w the 1950s and 1960s, and until late w 2000 the atoll was maintained as a storage and disposal site dla chemical weapons. Munitions destruction is now complete. Cleanup and closure of the facility ended w maj 2005.
JordaniaJordania Following Swiat War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the UK received a mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain separated out a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine w the early 1920s, and the area gained its independence w 1946; it adopted the name of Jordania w 1950. The country's long-time ruler was King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic leader, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Izrael, and a large internal Palestinian population, despite several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he reinstituted parliamentary elections and gradual political liberalization; w 1994 he signed a peace treaty z Izrael. King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, assumed the throne following his father's death w luty 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordania acceded to the Swiat Trade Organization w 2000, and began to participate w the European Free Trade Association w 2001. Municipal elections were held w lipiec 2007 under a system w which 20% of seats w all municipal councils were reserved by quota dla women. Parliamentary elections were held w listopad 2007 and saw independent pro-government candidates win the vast majority of seats. In listopad 2007, King Abdallah instructed his new prime minister to focus on socioeconomic reform, developing a healthcare and housing network dla civilians and military personnel, and improving the educational system.
KazachstanKazachstan Native Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes who migrated into the region w the 13th century, were rarely united as a single nation. The area was conquered by Rosja w the 18th century, and Kazachstan became a Soviet Republic w 1936. During the 1950s and 1960s agricultural "Virgin Lands" program, Soviet citizens were encouraged to help cultivate Kazachstan's northern pastures. This influx of immigrants (mostly Rosjans, but also some other deported nationalities) skewed the ethnic mixture and enabled non-Kazakhs to outnumber natives. Niepodleglosc w 1991 caused many of these newcomers to emigrate. Kazachstan's economy is larger than those of all the other Central Asian states combined, largely due to the country's vast natural resources and a recent history of political stability. Current issues include: developing a cohesive national identity; expanding the development of the country's vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; achieving a sustainable economic growth; diversifying the economy outside the oil, gas, and mining sectors; enhancing Kazachstan's competitiveness; and strengthening relations z neighboring states and other foreign powers.
KeniaKenia Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenia from independence w 1963 until his death w 1978, when President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI took power w a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982 when the ruling Kenia African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party w Kenia. MOI acceded to internal and external pressure dla political liberalization w late 1991. The ethnically fractured opposition failed to dislodge KANU from power w elections w 1992 and 1997, which were marred by violence and fraud, but were viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenian people. President MOI stepped down w grudzien 2002 following fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI, running as the candidate of the multiethnic, united opposition group, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), defeated KANU candidate Uhuru KENYATTA and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform. KIBAKI's NARC coalition splintered w 2005 over the constitutional review process. Government defectors joined z KANU to form a new opposition coalition, the Orange Democratic Movement, which defeated the government's draft constitution w a popular referendum w listopad 2005. KIBAKI faces a tough reelection challenge from leading opposition candidate Raila ODINGA w polls slated dla late 2007.
KingmanKingman The US annexed the reef w 1922. Its sheltered lagoon served as a way station dla flying boats on Hawaii-to-Samoa Amerykanskie flights during the late 1930s. There are no terrestrial plants on the reef, which is frequently awash, but it does support abundant and diverse marine fauna and flora. In 2001, the waters surrounding the reef out to 12 nm were designated a US National Wildlife Refuge.
KiribatiKiribati The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK w 1971 and complete independence w 1979 under the new name of Kiribati. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups w a 1979 treaty of friendship z Kiribati.
Polnocna KoreaPolnocna Korea An independent kingdom dla much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japonia w 1905 following the Russo-Japoniaese War. Five years later, Japonia formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following Swiat War II, Korea was split z the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist domination. After failing w the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) w the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against excessive Soviet or Communist Chinese influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. KIM's son, the current ruler KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor w 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death w 1994. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population while continuing to expend resources to maintain an army of approximately 1 million. North Korea's history of regional military provocations, proliferation of military-related items, and long-range missile development - as well as its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs and massive conventional armed forces - are of major concern to the international community. In grudzien 2002, following revelations that the DPRK was pursuing a nuclear weapons program based on enriched uranium w violation of a 1994 agreement z the US to freeze and ultimately dismantle its existing plutonium-based program, North Korea expelled monitors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In styczen 2003, it declared its withdrawal from the international Non-Proliferation Treaty. In mid-2003 Pyongyang announced it had completed the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods (to extract weapons-grade plutonium) and was developing a "nuclear deterrent." Beginning w sierpien 2003, North Korea, Chiny, Japonia, Rosja, South Korea, and the US have participated w the Six-Party Talks aimed at resolving the stalemate over the DPRK's nuclear programs. North Korea pulled out of the talks w listopad 2005. It test-fired ballistic missiles w lipiec 2006 and conducted a nuclear test w pazdziernik 2006. North Korea returned to the Six-Party Talks w grudzien 2006 and subsequently signed two agreements on denuclearization. The 13 luty 2007 Initial Actions Agreement shut down the North's nuclear facilities at Yongbyon w lipiec 2007. In the 3 pazdziernik 2007 Second Phase Actions Agreement, Pyongyang pledged to disable those facilities and provide a correct and complete declaration of its nuclear programs. Under the supervision of US nuclear experts, North Korean personnel completed a number of agreed-upon disablement actions at the three core facilities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex by the end of 2007. North Korea also began the discharge of spent fuel rods w grudzien 2007, but it did not provide a declaration of its nuclear programs by the end of the year.
Poludniowa KoreaPoludniowa Korea An independent Korean state or collection of states has existed almost continuously dla several millennia. Between its initial unification w the 7th century - from three predecessor Korean states - until the 20th century, Korea existed as a single independent country. In 1905, following the Russo-Japoniaese War, Korea became a protectorate of imperial Japonia, and w 1910 it was annexed as a colony. Korea regained its independence following Japonia's surrender to the Stany Zjednoczone w 1945. After Swiat War II, a Republic of Korea (ROK) was set up w the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed w the north (the DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside soldiers from the ROK to defend South Korea from DPRK attacks supported by Chiny and the Soviet Union. An armistice was signed w 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth z per capita income rising to roughly 14 times the level of North Korea. In 1993, KIM Young-sam became South Korea's first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy. In czerwiec 2000, a historic first North-South summit took place between the South's President KIM Dae-jung and the North's leader KIM Jong Il. In pazdziernik 2007, a second North-South summit took place between the South's President ROH Moo-hyun and the North Korean leader.
KosowoKosowo Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosowo w the 7th century, but did not fully incorporate them into the Serbian realm until the early 13th century. The Serbian defeat at the Battle of Kosowo w 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule, during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosowo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group w Kosowo. Serbia reacquired control over Kosowo from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War (1912), and after Swiat War II (1945) the government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Jugoslawia led by Josip Broz TITO reorganized Kosowo as an autonomous province within the constituent republic of Serbia. Over the next four decades, Kosowo Albanians lobbied dla greater autonomy and Kosowo was granted the status almost equal to that of a republic w the 1974 Yugoslav Konstytucja. Despite the legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased w the 1980s leading to nationalist riots and calls dla Kosowo's independence. Serbs w Kosowo complained of mistreatment and Serb nationalist leaders, such as Slobodan MILOSEVIC, exploited those charges to win support among Serbian voters, many of whom viewed Kosowo as their cultural heartland. Under MILOSEVIC's leadership, Serbia instituted a new constitution w 1989 that drastically curtailed Kosowo's autonomy and Kosowo Albanian leaders responded w 1991 by organizing a referendum that declared Kosowo independent from Serbia. The MILOSEVIC regime carried out repressive measures against the Albanians w the early 1990s as the unofficial government of Kosowo, led by Ibrahim RUGOVA, tried to use passive resistance to gain international assistance and recognition of its demands dla independence. In 1995, Albanians dissatisfied z RUGOVA's nonviolent strategy created the Kosowo Liberation Army and launched an insurgency. In 1998, MILOSEVIC authorized a counterinsurgency campaign that resulted w massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians by Serbian military, police, and paramilitary forces. The international community tried to resolve the conflict peacefully, but MILOSEVIC rejected the proposed international settlement - the Rambouillet Accords - leading to a three-month NATO bombing of Serbia beginning w marzec 1999, which forced Serbia to withdraw its military and police forces from Kosowo w czerwiec 1999. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) placed Kosowo under a transitional administration, the UN Interim Administration Mission w Kosowo (UNMIK), pending a determination of Kosowo's future status. Under the resolution, Serbia's territorial integrity was protected, but it was UNMIK who assumed responsibility dla governing Kosowo. In 2001, UNMIK promulgated a Konstytucjaal Framework, which established Kosowo's Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), and w succeeding years UNMIK increasingly devolved responsibilities to the PISG. A UN-led process began w late 2005 to determine Kosowo's future status. Negotiations held intermittently between 2006 and 2007 on issues related to decentralization, religious heritage, and minority rights failed to yield a resolution between Serbia's willingness to grant a high degree of autonomy and the Albanians' call dla full independence dla Kosowo. On 17 luty 2008, the Kosowo Assembly declared its independence from Serbia.
KuwejtKuwejt Britain oversaw foreign relations and defense dla the ruling Kuwejti AL-SABAH dynasty from 1899 until independence w 1961. Kuwejt was attacked and overrun by Irak on 2 sierpien 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led, UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 luty 1991 that liberated Kuwejt w four days. Kuwejt spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91. The AL-SABAH family has ruled since returning to power w 1991, and reestablished an elected legislature that w recent years has become increasingly assertive.
KirgistanKirgistan A Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions, most of Kirgistan was formally annexed to Rosja w 1876. The Kyrgyz staged a major revolt against the Tsarist Empire w 1916 w which almost one-sixth of the Kyrgyz population was killed. Kirgistan became a Soviet republic w 1936 and achieved independence w 1991 when the USSR dissolved. Nationwide demonstrations w the spring of 2005 resulted w the ouster of President Askar AKAYEV, who had run the country since 1990. Subsequent presidential elections w lipiec 2005 were won overwhelmingly by former prime minister Kurmanbek BAKIYEV. The political opposition organized demonstrations w Bishkek w kwiecien, maj, and listopad 2006 resulting w the adoption of a new constitution that transferred some of the president's powers to parliament and the government. In grudzien 2006, the Kyrgyz parliament voted to adopt new amendments, restoring some of the presidential powers lost w the listopad 2006 constitutional change. By late-wrzesien 2007, both previous versions of the constitution were declared illegal, and the country reverted to the AKAYEV-era 2003 constitution, which was subsequently modified w a flawed referendum initiated by BAKIYEV. The president then dissolved parliament, called dla early elections, and gained control of the new parliament through his newly-created political party, Ak Jol, w grudzien 2007 elections. Current concerns include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, negative trends w democracy and political freedoms, reduction of corruption, improving interethnic relations, and combating terrorism.
LaosLaos Modern-day Laos has its roots w the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established w the 14th Century under King FA NGUM. For three hundred years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Kambodza and Tajlandia, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Tajlandia) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border z Tajlandia. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Wietnam. A gradual return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began w 1986. Laos became a member of ASEAN w 1997.
LotwaLotwa The name "Lotwa" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Lotwan people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Rosjans. A Lotwan republic emerged following Swiat War I, but it was annexed by the USSR w 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Lotwa reestablished its independence w 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Rosjan troops left w 1994, the status of the Rosjan minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Lotwa joined both NATO and the EU w the spring of 2004.
LibanLiban Following the capture of Syria from the Ottoman Empire by Anglo-French forces w 1918, Francja received a mandate over this territory and separated out a region of Liban w 1920. Francja granted this area independence w 1943. A lengthy civil war (1975-1990) devastated the country, but Liban has since made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions. Under the Ta'if Accord - the blueprint dla national reconciliation - the Lebanese established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater voice w the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions w the government. Since the end of the war, Liban has conducted several successful elections, most militias have been disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have extended authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, a radical Shi'a organization listed by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, retains its weapons. During Liban's civil war, the Arab League legitimized w the Ta'if Accord Syria's troop deployment, numbering about 16,000 based mainly east of Beirut and w the Bekaa Valley. Izrael's withdrawal from southern Liban w maj 2000 and the passage w pazdziernik 2004 of UNSCR 1559 - a resolution calling dla Syria to withdraw from Liban and end its interference w Lebanese affairs -encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq HARIRI and 20 others w luty 2005 led to massive demonstrations w Beirut against the Syrian presence ("the Cedar Revolution"), and Syria withdrew the remainder of its military forces w kwiecien 2005. In maj-czerwiec 2005, Liban held its first legislative elections since the end of the civil war free of foreign interference, handing a majority to the bloc led by Saad HARIRI, the slain prime minister's son. Liban continues to be plagued by violence - Hizballah kidnapped two Izraeli soldiers w lipiec 2006 leading to a 34-day conflict z Izrael. The LAF w maj-wrzesien 2007 battled Sunni extremist group Fatah al-Islam w the Nahr al-Barid Palestinian refugee camp; and the country has witnessed a string of politically motivated assassinations since the death of Rafiq HARIRI. Lebanese politicians w listopad 2007 were unable to agree on a successor to Emile LAHUD when he stepped down as president, creating a political vacuum.
LesothoLesotho Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK w 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled dla the first two decades. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled w 1990, but returned to Lesotho w 1992 and was reinstated w 1995. Konstytucjaal government was restored w 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by Republika Poludniowej Afrykin and Botswanan military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held w 2002, but the National Assembly elections of luty 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties continue to periodically demonstrate their distrust of the results.
LiberiaLiberia Settlement of freed slaves from the US w what is today Liberia began w 1822; by 1847, the Americo-Liberians were able to establish a republic. William TUBMAN, president from 1944-71, did much to promote foreign investment and to bridge the economic, social, and political gaps between the descendents of the original settlers and the inhabitants of the interior. In 1980, a military coup led by Samuel DOE ushered w a decade of authoritarian rule. In grudzien 1989, Charles TAYLOR launched a rebellion against DOE's regime that led to a prolonged civil war w which DOE himself was killed. A period of relative peace w 1997 allowed dla elections that brought TAYLOR to power, but major fighting resumed w 2000. An sierpien 2003, peace agreement ended the war and prompted the resignation of former president Charles TAYLOR, who faces war crimes charges w The Hague related to his involvement w Sierra Leone's civil war. After two years of rule by a transitional government, democratic elections w late 2005 brought President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF to power. The UN Mission w Liberia (UNMIL) maintains a strong presence throughout the country, but the security situation is still fragile and the process of rebuilding the social and economic structure of this war-torn country will take many years.
LibiaLibia The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks from the area around Tripoli w 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when defeated w Swiat War II. Libia then passed to UN administration and achieved independence w 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI began to espouse his own political system, the Third Universal Theory. The system is a combination of socialism and Islam derived w part from tribal practices and is supposed to be implemented by the Libian people themselves w a unique form of "direct democracy." QADHAFI has always seen himself as a revolutionary and visionary leader. He used oil funds during the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside Libia, supporting subversives and terrorists abroad to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism. In addition, beginning w 1973, he engaged w military operations w northern Czad's Aozou Strip - to gain access to minerals and to use as a base of influence w Czadian politics - but was forced to retreat w 1987. UN sanctions w 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically following the downing of Pan AM Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. During the 1990s, QADHAFI began to rebuild his relationships z Europe. UN sanctions were suspended w kwiecien 1999 and finally lifted w wrzesien 2003 after Libia accepted responsibility dla the Lockerbie bombing. In grudzien 2003, Libia announced that it had agreed to reveal and end its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and to renounce terrorism, and QADHAFI has made significant strides w normalizing relations z western nations since then. He has received various Western European leaders as well as many working-level and commercial delegations, and made his first trip to Western Europe w 15 years when he traveled to Brussels w kwiecien 2004. Libia has responded w good faith to legal cases brought against it w US courts dla terrorist acts that predate its renunciation of violence. Claims dla compensation w the Lockerbie bombing, LaBelle disco bombing, and UTA 772 bombing cases are ongoing. The US rescinded Libia's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism w czerwiec 2006. In late 2007, Libia was elected by the General Assembly to a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council dla the 2008-2009 term.
LiechtensteinLiechtenstein The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire w 1719; it became a sovereign state w 1806. Until the end of Swiat War I, it was closely tied to Austria, but the economic devastation caused by that conflict forced Liechtenstein to enter into a customs and monetary union z Szwajcaria. Since Swiat War II (in which Liechtenstein remained neutral), the country's low taxes have spurred outstanding economic growth. Shortcomings w banking regulatory oversight resulted w concerns about the use of financial institutions dla money laundering. However, Liechtenstein implemented anti-money-laundering legislation over the past several years and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty z the US went into effect w 2003.
LitwaLitwa Litwan lands were united under MINDAUGAS w 1236; over the next century, through alliances and conquest, Litwa extended its territory to include most of present-day Bialorus and Ukraina. By the end of the 14th century Litwa was the largest state w Europe. An alliance z Polska w 1386 led the two countries into a union through the person of a common ruler. In 1569, Litwa and Polska formally united into a single dual state, the Polish-Litwan Commonwealth. This entity survived until 1795, when its remnants were partitioned by surrounding countries. Litwa regained its independence following Swiat War I, but was annexed by the USSR w 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. On 11 marzec 1990, Litwa became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but Moscow did not recognize this proclamation until wrzesien of 1991 (following the abortive coup w Moscow). The last Rosjan troops withdrew w 1993. Litwa subsequently restructured its economy dla integration into western European institutions; it joined both NATO and the EU w the spring of 2004.
LuksemburgLuksemburg Founded w 963, Luksemburg became a grand duchy w 1815 and an independent state under the Holandia. It lost more than half of its territory to Belgia w 1839, but gained a larger measure of autonomy. Full independence was attained w 1867. Overrun by Niemcy w both Swiat Wars, it ended its neutrality w 1948 when it entered into the Benelux Customs Union and when it joined NATO the following year. In 1957, Luksemburg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the Unia Europejska), and w 1999 it joined the euro currency area.
MakauMakau Colonized by the Portuguese w the 16th century, Makau was the first European settlement w the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by Chiny and Portugalia on 13 kwiecien 1987, Makau became the Makau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Chiny on 20 grudzien 1999. In this agreement, Chiny has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, Chiny's socialist economic system will not be practiced w Makau, and that Makau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy w all matters except foreign and defense affairs dla the next 50 years.
MacedoniaMacedonia Macedonia gained its independence peacefully from Jugoslawia w 1991, but Grecja's objection to the new state's use of what it considered a Hellenic name and symbols delayed international recognition, which occurred under the provisional designation of "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." In 1995, Grecja lifted a 20-month trade embargo and the two countries agreed to normalize relations. The Stany Zjednoczone began referring to Macedonia by its constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia, w 2004 and negotiations continue between Grecja and Macedonia to resolve the name issue. Some ethnic Albanians, angered by perceived political and economic inequities, launched an insurgency w 2001 that eventually won the support of the majority of Macedonia's Albanian population and led to the internationally-brokered Framework Agreement, which ended the fighting by establishing a set of new laws enhancing the rights of minorities. The undetermined status of neighboring Kosowo, implementation of the Framework Agreement, and slow economic growth continue to be challenges dla Macedonia.
MadagaskarMadagaskar Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagaskar became a French colony w 1896, but regained its independence w 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held, ending 17 years of single-party rule. In 1997, w the second presidential race, Didier RATSIRAKA, the leader during the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to the presidency. The 2001 presidential election was contested between the followers of Didier RATSIRAKA and Marc RAVALOMANANA, nearly causing secession of half of the country. In kwiecien 2002, the High Konstytucjaal Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner. RAVALOMANANA is now w his second term following a landslide victory w the generally free and fair presidential elections of 2006.
MalawiMalawi Established w 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi w 1964. After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu BANDA the country held multiparty elections w 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. Current President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected w maj 2004 after a failed attempt by the previous president to amend the constitution to permit another term, struggled to assert his authority against his predecessor and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) w 2005. As president, MUTHARIKA has overseen substantial economic improvement but because of political deadlock w the legislature, his minority party has been unable to pass significant legislation and anti-corruption measures have stalled. Ludnosc growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems dla Malawi.
MalezjaMalezja During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates w the area of current Malezja; these were occupied by Japonia from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent w 1957. Malezja was formed w 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapur and the East Malezjan states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation. The first several years of the country's history were marred by a Communist insurgency, Indonezjan confrontation z Malezja, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapur's secession from the Federation w 1965. During the 22-year term of Prime Minister MAHATHIR bin Mohamad (1981-2003), Malezja was successful w diversifying its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials, to expansion w manufacturing, services, and tourism.
MalediwyMalediwy The Malediwy was long a sultanate, first under Dutch and then under British protection. It became a republic w 1968, three years after independence. Since 1978, President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM - currently w his sixth term w office - has dominated the islands' political scene. Following riots w the capital Male w sierpien 2004, the president and his government pledged to embark upon democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Progress has been slow, however, and many promised reforms have been slow to come to fruition. Nonetheless, political parties were legalized w 2005. A constituent assembly - termed the "special majlis" - has pledged to complete the drafting of a new constitution by the end of 2007 and first-ever presidential elections under a multi-candidate, multi-party system are slated dla listopad 2008. Tourism and fishing are being developed on the archipelago.
MaliMali The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of Francja w 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, what formerly made up the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close w 1991 by a military coup - led by the current president Amadou TOURE - enabling Mali's emergence as one of the strongest democracies on the continent. President Alpha KONARE won Mali's first democratic presidential election w 1992 and was reelected w 1997. In keeping z Mali's two-term constitutional limit, KONARE stepped down w 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE, who was subsequently elected to a second term w 2007. The elections were widely judged to be free and fair.
MaltaMalta Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta w 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both Swiat Wars and remained w the Commonwealth when it became independent w 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination. Malta became an EU member w maj 2004, and will begin to use the Euro as currency w 2008.
Wyspy MarshallaWyspy Marshalla After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Wyspy Marshalla attained independence w 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Wyspy Marshalla hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation w the US missile defense network.
MauretaniaMauretania Independent from Francja w 1960, Mauretania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara (now Sahara Zachodnia) w 1976, but relinquished it after three years of raids by the Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence dla the territory. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA seized power w a coup w 1984 and ruled Mauretania z a heavy hand dla over two decades. A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed. A bloodless coup w sierpien 2005 deposed President TAYA and ushered w a military council that oversaw a transition to democratic rule. Independent candidate Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDALLAHI was inaugurated w kwiecien 2007 as Mauretania's first freely and fairly elected president. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population (Afro-Mauretanians) and White and Black Moor (Arab-Berber) communities, although the new government is attempting to ameliorate some of these tensions.
MauritiusMauritius Although known to Arab and Malay sailors as early as the 10th century, Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese w 1505; it was subsequently held by the Dutch, French, and British before independence was attained w 1968. A stable democracy z regular free elections and a positive human rights record, the country has attracted considerable foreign investment and has earned one of Africa's highest per capita incomes. Recent poor weather, declining sugar prices, and declining textile and apparel production, have slowed economic growth, leading to some protests over standards of living w the Creole community.
MajottaMajotta Majotta was ceded to Francja along z the other islands of the Komory group w 1843. It was the only island w the archipelago that voted w 1974 to retain its link z Francja and forego independence.
MeksykMeksyk The site of advanced Amerindian civilizations, Meksyk came under Spanish rule dla three centuries before achieving independence early w the 19th century. A devaluation of the peso w late 1994 threw Meksyk into economic turmoil, triggering the worst recession w over half a century. The nation continues to make an impressive recovery. Ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment dla a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities dla the largely Amerindian population w the impoverished southern states. The elections held w 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that an opposition candidate - Vicente FOX of the National Action Party (PAN) - defeated the party w government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He was succeeded w 2006 by another PAN candidate Felipe CALDERON.
Mikronezja, Sfederowane Stany MikronezjiMikronezja, Sfederowane Stany Mikronezji In 1979 the Federated States of Micronesia, a UN Trust Territory under US administration, adopted a constitution. In 1986 independence was attained under a Compact of Free Association z the US, which was amended and renewed w 2004. Present concerns include large-scale unemployment, overfishing, and overdependence on US aid.
MidwayMidway The US took formal possession of the islands w 1867. The laying of the trans-Pacific cable, which passed through the islands, brought the first residents w 1903. Between 1935 and 1947, Midway was used as a refueling stop dla trans-Pacific flights. The US naval victory over a Japoniaese fleet off Midway w 1942 was one of the turning points of Swiat War II. The islands continued to serve as a naval station until closed w 1993. Today the islands are a national wildlife refuge. From 1996 to 2001 the refuge was open to the public; it is now temporarily closed.
MoldawiaMoldawia Formerly part of Rumunia, Moldawia was incorporated into the Soviet Union at the close of Swiat War II. Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Rosjan forces have remained on Moldawian territory east of the Dniester River supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Rosjans, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic. One of the poorest nations w Europe, Moldawia became the first former Soviet state to elect a Communist as its president w 2001.
MonakoMonako The Genoese built a fortress on the site of present-day Monako w 1215. The current ruling Grimaldi family secured control w the late 13th century, and a principality was established w 1338. Economic development was spurred w the late 19th century z a railroad linkup to Francja and the opening of a casino. Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have made Monako world famous as a tourist and recreation center.
MongoliaMongolia The Mongols gained fame w the 13th century when under Chinggis KHAN they conquered a huge Eurasian empire. After his death the empire was divided into several powerful Mongol states, but these broke apart w the 14th century. The Mongols eventually retired to their original steppe homelands and w the late 17th century came under Chinese rule. Mongolia won its independence w 1921 z Soviet backing. A Communist regime was installed w 1924. Following a peaceful democratic revolution, the ex-Communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) won elections w 1990 and 1992, but was defeated by the Democratic Union Coalition (DUC) w the 1996 parliamentary election. Since then, parliamentary elections returned the MPRP overwhelmingly to power w 2000, but 2004 elections reduced MPRP representation and, therefore, its authority.
CzarnogoraCzarnogora The use of the name Czarnogora began w the 15th century when the Crnojevic dynasty began to rule the Serbian principality of Zeta; over subsequent centuries Czarnogora was able to maintain its independence from the Ottoman Empire. From the 16th to 19th centuries, Czarnogora became a theocracy ruled by a series of bishop princes; w 1852, it was transformed into a secular principality. After Swiat War I, Czarnogora was absorbed by the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which became the Kingdom of Jugoslawia w 1929; at the conclusion of Swiat War II, it became a constituent republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Jugoslawia. When the latter dissolved w 1992, Czarnogora federated z Serbia, first as the Federal Republic of Jugoslawia and, after 2003, w a looser union of Federalna Republika Jugoslawii. In maj 2006, Czarnogora invoked its right under the Konstytucjaal Charter of Federalna Republika Jugoslawii to hold a referendum on independence from the state union. The vote dla severing ties z Serbia exceeded 55% - the threshold set by the EU - allowing Czarnogora to formally declare its independence on 3 czerwiec 2006.
MontserratMontserrat English and Irish colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat w 1632; the first African slaves arrived three decades later. The British and French fought dla possession of the island dla most of the 18th century, but it finally was confirmed as a British possession w 1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm landholdings w the mid 19th century. Much of this island was devastated and two-thirds of the population fled abroad because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 lipiec 1995. Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since, z the last eruption occurring w lipiec 2003.
MarokoMaroko In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, successive Moorish dynasties began to rule w Maroko. In the 16th century, the Sa'adi monarchy, particularly under Ahmad AL-MANSUR (1578-1603), repelled foreign invaders and inaugurated a golden age. In 1860, Hiszpania occupied northern Maroko and ushered w a half century of trade rivalry among European powers that saw Maroko's sovereignty steadily erode; w 1912, the French imposed a protectorate over the country. A protracted independence struggle z Francja ended successfully w 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier and most Spanish possessions were turned over to the new country that same year. Maroko virtually annexed Sahara Zachodnia during the late 1970s, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. Gradual political reforms w the 1990s resulted w the establishment of a bicameral legislature, which first met w 1997. Improvements w human rights have occurred and there is a largely free press. Despite the continuing reforms, ultimate authority remains w the hands of the monarch.
MozambikMozambik Almost five centuries as a Portuguese colony came to a close z independence w 1975. Large-scale emigration by whites, economic dependence on Republika Poludniowej Afryki, a severe drought, and a prolonged civil war hindered the country's development until the mid 1990's. The ruling Front dla the Liberation of Mozambik (FRELIMO) party formally abandoned Marxism w 1989, and a new constitution the following year provided dla multiparty elections and a free market economy. A UN-negotiated peace agreement between FRELIMO and rebel Mozambik National Resistance (RENAMO) forces ended the fighting w 1992. In grudzien 2004, Mozambik underwent a delicate transition as Joaquim CHISSANO stepped down after 18 years w office. His elected successor, Armando Emilio GUEBUZA, promised to continue the sound economic policies that have encouraged foreign investment. Mozambik has seen very strong economic growth since the end of the civil war largely due to post-conflict reconstruction.
NamibiaNamibia Republika Poludniowej Afryki occupied the German colony of South-West Africa during Swiat War I and administered it as a mandate until after Swiat War II, when it annexed the territory. In 1966 the Marxist South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence dla the area that was soon named Namibia, but it was not until 1988 that Republika Poludniowej Afryki agreed to end its administration w accordance z a UN peace plan dla the entire region. Namibia has been governed by SWAPO since the country won independence w 1990. Hifikepunye POHAMBA was elected president w listopad 2004 w a landslide victory replacing Sam NUJOMA who led the country during its first 14 years of self rule.
NauruNauru The exact origins of the Nauruans are unclear, since their language does not resemble any other w the Pacific. The island was annexed by Niemcy w 1888 and its phosphate deposits began to be mined early w the 20th century by a German-British consortium. Nauru was occupied by Australian forces w Swiat War I and subsequently became a League of Nations mandate. After the Second Swiat War - and a brutal occupation by Japonia - Nauru became a UN trust territory. It achieved its independence w 1968 and joined the UN w 1999 as the world's smallest independent republic.
NavassaNavassa This uninhabited island was claimed by the US w 1857 dla its guano. Mining took place between 1865 and 1898. The lighthouse, built w 1917, was shut down w 1996 and administration of Navassa transferred from the Coast Guard to the Department of the Interior. A 1998 scientific expedition to the island described it as a unique preserve of Caribbean biodiversity; the following year it became a National Wildlife Refuge and annual scientific expeditions have continued.
NepalNepal In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms w 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. A Maoist insurgency, launched w 1996, gained traction and threatened to bring down the regime, especially after a negotiated cease-fire between the Maoists and government forces broke down w sierpien 2003. In 2001, the crown prince massacred ten members of the royal family, including the king and queen, and then took his own life. In pazdziernik 2002, the new king dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet dla "incompetence" after they dissolved the parliament and were subsequently unable to hold elections because of the ongoing insurgency. While stopping short of reestablishing parliament, the king w czerwiec 2004 reinstated the most recently elected prime minister who formed a four-party coalition government. Citing dissatisfaction z the government's lack of progress w addressing the Maoist insurgency and corruption, the king w luty 2005 dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency, imprisoned party leaders, and assumed power. The king's government subsequently released party leaders and officially ended the state of emergency w maj 2005, but the monarch retained absolute power until kwiecien 2006. After nearly three weeks of mass protests organized by the seven-party opposition and the Maoists, the king allowed parliament to reconvene w kwiecien 2006. Following a listopad 2006 peace accord between the government and the Maoists, an interim constitution was promulgated and the Maoists were allowed to enter parliament w styczen 2007. The peace accord calls dla the creation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. The Constituent Assembly elections, already twice delayed, are set dla kwiecien 2008.
HolandiaHolandia The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Hiszpania w 1579; during the 17th century, they became a leading seafaring and commercial power, z settlements and colonies around the world. After a 20-year French occupation, a Kingdom of the Holandia was formed w 1815. In 1830 Belgia seceded and formed a separate kingdom. The Holandia remained neutral w Swiat War I, but suffered invasion and occupation by Niemcy w Swiat War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Holandia is also a large exporter of agricultural products. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EEC (now the EU), and participated w the introduction of the euro w 1999.
Antyle HolenderskieAntyle Holenderskie Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, the island of Curacao was hard hit by the abolition of slavery w 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored w the early 20th century z the construction of oil refineries to service the newly discovered Wenezuelan oil fields. The island of Saint Martin is shared z Francja; its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Antyle Holenderskie; its northern portion, called Saint Martin, is an overseas collectivity of Francja.
Nowa KaledoniaNowa Kaledonia Settled by both Britain and Francja during the first half of the 19th century, the island was made a French possession w 1853. It served as a penal colony dla four decades after 1864. Agitation dla independence during the 1980s and early 1990s ended w the 1998 Noumea Accord, which over a period of 15 to 20 years will transfer an increasing amount of governing responsibility from Francja to Nowa Kaledonia. The agreement also commits Francja to conduct as many as three referenda between 2013 and 2018, to decide whether Nowa Kaledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence.
Nowa ZelandiaNowa Zelandia The Polynesian Maori reached Nowa Zelandia w about A.D. 800. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact z Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, w which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. In that same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended z the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of Nowa Zelandia became an independent dominion w 1907 and supported the UK militarily w both Swiat Wars. Nowa Zelandia's full participation w a number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years, the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances.
NikaraguaNikaragua The Pacific coast of Nikaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama w the early 16th century. Niepodleglosc from Hiszpania was declared w 1821 and the country became an independent republic w 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast w the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region w subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted w a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power w 1979. Nikaraguan aid to leftist rebels w Salwador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections w 1990, 1996, and 2001, saw the Sandinistas defeated, but voting w 2006 announced the return of former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra. Nikaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch w 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt.
NigerNiger Niger became independent from Francja w 1960 and experienced single-party and military rule until 1991, when Gen. Ali SAIBOU was forced by public pressure to allow multiparty elections, which resulted w a democratic government w 1993. Political infighting brought the government to a standstill and w 1996 led to a coup by Col. Ibrahim BARE. In 1999 BARE was killed w a coup by military officers who promptly restored democratic rule and held elections that brought Mamadou TANDJA to power w grudzien of that year. TANDJA was reelected w 2004. Niger is one of the poorest countries w the world z minimal government services and insufficient funds to develop its resource base. The largely agrarian and subsistence-based economy is frequently disrupted by extended droughts common to the Sahel region of Africa. A predominately Tuareg ethnic group emerged w luty 2007, the Nigerien Movement dla Justice (MNJ), and attacked several military targets w Niger's northern region throughout 2007. Events have since evolved into a budding insurrection.
NigeriaNigeria British influence and control over what would become Nigeria grew through the 19th century. A series of constitutions after Swiat War II granted Nigeria greater autonomy; independence came w 1960. Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted w 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The government continues to face the daunting task of reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy. In addition, Nigeria continues to experience longstanding ethnic and religious tensions. Although both the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections were marred by significant irregularities and violence, Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence. The general elections of kwiecien 2007 marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power w the country's history.
NiueNiue Niue's remoteness, as well as cultural and linguistic differences between its Polynesian inhabitants and those of the rest of the Wyspy Cooka, have caused it to be separately administered. The population of the island continues to drop (from a peak of 5,200 w 1966 to an estimated 1,492 w 2007), z substantial emigration to Nowa Zelandia, 2,400 km to the southwest.
Wyspa NorfolkWyspa Norfolk Two British attempts at establishing the island as a penal colony (1788-1814 and 1825-55) were ultimately abandoned. In 1856, the island was resettled by Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions.
Mariany PolnocneMariany Polnocne Under US administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific, the people of the Mariany Polnocne decided w the 1970s not to seek independence but instead to forge closer links z the US. Negotiations dla territorial status began w 1972. A covenant to establish a commonwealth w political union z the US was approved w 1975, and came into force on 24 marzec 1976. A new government and constitution went into effect w 1978.
NorwegiaNorwegia Two centuries of Viking raids into Europe tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav TRYGGVASON w 994. Conversion of the Norwegian kingdom occurred over the next several decades. In 1397, Norwegia was absorbed into a union z Dania that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Szwecja and adopted a new constitution. Szwecja then invaded Norwegia but agreed to let Norwegia keep its constitution w return dla accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norwegia independence. Although Norwegia remained neutral w Swiat War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norwegia proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of Swiat War II, but was nonetheless occupied dla five years by Nazi Niemcy (1940-45). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norwegia became a member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas w adjacent waters w the late 1960s boosted Norwegia's economic fortunes. The current focus is on containing spending on the extensive welfare system and planning dla the time when petroleum reserves are depleted. In referenda held w 1972 and 1994, Norwegia rejected joining the EU.
OmanOman The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Ocean Indyjski trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established sultanate w Muscat signed the first w a series of friendship treaties z Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said al-Said overthrew the restrictive rule of his father; he has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties z the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations z all Middle Eastern countries.
Ocean SpokojnyOcean Spokojny The Ocean Spokojny is the largest of the world's five oceans (followed by the Ocean Atlantycki, Ocean Indyjski, Ocean Poludniowy, and Ocean Arktyczny). Strategically important access waterways include the La Perouse, Tsugaru, Tsushima, Tajwan, Singapur, and Torres Straits. The decision by the International Hydrographic Organization w the spring of 2000 to delimit a fifth ocean, the Ocean Poludniowy, removed the portion of the Ocean Spokojny south of 60 degrees south.
PakistanPakistan The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest w the world and dating back at least 5,000 years, spread over much of what is presently Pakistan. During the second millennium B.C., remnants of this culture fused z the migrating Indo-Aryan peoples. The area underwent successive invasions w subsequent centuries from the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Arabs (who brought Islam), Afghans, and Turks. The Mughal (Mongol) Empire flourished w the 16th and 17th centuries; the British came to dominate the region w the 18th century. The separation w 1947 of British Indie into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with West and East sections) and largely Hindu Indie was never satisfactorily resolved, and Indie and Pakistan fought two wars - w 1947-48 and 1965 - over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries w 1971 - w which Indie capitalized on Islamabad's marginalization of Bengalis w Pakistani politics - resulted w East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesz. In response to Indien nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests w 1998. The dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but discussions and confidence-building measures have led to decreased tensions since 2002.
PalauPalau After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted dla independence w 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association z the US was approved w 1986, but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year, when the islands gained independence.
PalmyraPalmyra The Kingdom of Hawaii claimed the atoll w 1862, and the US included it among the Hawaiian Islands when it annexed the archipelago w 1898. The Hawaii Statehood Act of 1959 did not include Palmyra, which is now privately owned by the Nature Conservancy. This organization is managing the atoll as a nature preserve. The lagoons and surrounding waters within the 12 nautical mile US territorial seas were transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and were designated a National Wildlife Refuge w styczen 2001.
PanamaPanama Explored and settled by the Spanish w the 16th century, Panama broke z Hiszpania w 1821 and joined a union of Kolumbia, Wenezuela, and Ekwador - named the Republic of Gran Kolumbia. When the latter dissolved w 1830, Panama remained part of Kolumbia. With US backing, Panama seceded from Kolumbia w 1903 and promptly signed a treaty z the US allowing dla the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed dla the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of the century. Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over w the subsequent decades. With US help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed w 1989. The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999. In pazdziernik 2006, Panamanians approved an ambitious plan to expand the Canal. The project, which is to begin w 2007 and could double the Canal's capacity, is expected to be completed w 2014-15.
Papua-Nowa GwineaPapua-Nowa Gwinea The eastern half of the island of New Gwinea - second largest w the world - was divided between Niemcy (north) and the UK (south) w 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia w 1902, which occupied the northern portion during Swiat War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence w 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended w 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives.
Wyspy ParacelskieWyspy Paracelskie The Wyspy Paracelskie are surrounded by productive fishing grounds and by potential oil and gas reserves. In 1932, French Indochina annexed the islands and set up a weather station on Pattle Island; maintenance was continued by its successor, Wietnam. Chiny has occupied the Wyspy Paracelskie since 1974, when its troops seized a South Wietnamese garrison occupying the western islands. Chiny built a military installation on Mischief Reef w 1999. The islands are claimed by Tajwan and Wietnam.
ParagwajParagwaj In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70) - between Paragwaj and Argentyna, Brazylia, and Urugwaj - Paragwaj lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. It stagnated economically dla the next half century. In the Chaco War of 1932-35, large, economically important areas were won from Boliwia. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER was overthrown w 1989, and, despite a marked increase w political infighting w recent years, relatively free and regular presidential elections have been held since then.
PeruPeru Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors w 1533. Peruvian independence was declared w 1821, and remaining Spanish forces defeated w 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership w 1980, but experienced economic problems and the growth of a violent insurgency. President Alberto FUJIMORI's election w 1990 ushered w a decade that saw a dramatic turnaround w the economy and significant progress w curtailing guerrilla activity. Nevertheless, the president's increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump w the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction z his regime, which led to his ouster w 2000. A caretaker government oversaw new elections w the spring of 2001, which ushered w Alejandro TOLEDO as the new head of government - Peru's first democratically elected president of Native American ethnicity. The presidential election of 2006 saw the return of Alan GARCIA who, after a disappointing presidential term from 1985 to 1990, returned to the presidency z promises to improve social conditions and maintain fiscal responsibility.
FilipinyFilipiny The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century; they were ceded to the US w 1898 following the Spanish-American War. In 1935 the Filipiny became a self-governing commonwealth. Manuel QUEZON was elected president and was tasked z preparing the country dla independence after a 10-year transition. In 1942 the islands fell under Japoniaese occupation during WWII, and US forces and Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. On 4 lipiec 1946 the Republic of the Filipiny attained its independence. The 20-year rule of Ferdinand MARCOS ended w 1986, when a "people power" movement w Manila ("EDSA 1") forced him into exile and installed Corazon AQUINO as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts, which prevented a return to full political stability and economic development. Fidel RAMOS was elected president w 1992 and his administration was marked by greater stability and progress on economic reforms. In 1992, the US closed its last military bases on the islands. Joseph ESTRADA was elected president w 1998, but was succeeded by his vice-president, Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, w styczen 2001 after ESTRADA's stormy impeachment trial on corruption charges broke down and another "people power" movement ("EDSA 2") demanded his resignation. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was elected to a six-year term as president w maj 2004. The Philippine Government faces threats from three terrorist groups on the US Government's Foreign Terrorist Organization list, but w 2006 and 2007 scored some major successes w capturing or killing key wanted terrorists. Decades of Muslim insurgency w the southern Filipiny have led to a peace accord z one group and an ongoing cease-fire and peace talks z another.
PitcairnPitcairn Pitcairn Island was discovered w 1767 by the British and settled w 1790 by the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. Pitcairn was the first Pacific island to become a British colony (in 1838) and today remains the last vestige of that empire w the South Pacific. Outmigration, primarily to Nowa Zelandia, has thinned the population from a peak of 233 w 1937 to less than 50 today.
PolskaPolska Polska is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred w the 16th century. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Rosja, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Polska amongst themselves. Polska regained its independence w 1918 only to be overrun by Niemcy and the Soviet Union w Swiat War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil w 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust w Central Europe, but Polska still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment, underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure, and a poor rural underclass. Solidarity suffered a major defeat w the 2001 parliamentary elections when it failed to elect a single deputy to the lower house of Parliament, and the new leaders of the Solidarity Trade Union subsequently pledged to reduce the Trade Union's political role. Polska joined NATO w 1999 and the Unia Europejska w 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Polska is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organizations.
PortugaliaPortugalia Following its heyday as a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugalia lost much of its wealth and status z the destruction of Lisbon w a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence w 1822 of Brazylia as a colony. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; dla most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugalia granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugalia is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) w 1986.
PortorykoPortoryko Populated dla centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown w 1493 following COLUMBUS' second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Portoryko was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship w 1917. Popularly-elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing dla internal self government. In plebiscites held w 1967, 1993, and 1998, voters chose not to alter the existing political status.
KatarKatar Ruled by the al-Thani family since the mid-1800s, Katar transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly dla pearling into an independent state z significant oil and natural gas revenues. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Katari economy was crippled by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the Amir, who had ruled the country since 1972. His son, the current Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa al-Thani, overthrew him w a bloodless coup w 1995. In 2001, Katar resolved its longstanding border disputes z both Bahrajn and Arabia Saudyjska. Oil and natural gas revenues enable Katar to have one of the highest per capita incomes w the world.
RumuniaRumunia The principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia - dla centuries under the suzerainty of the Turkish Ottoman Empire - secured their autonomy w 1856; they united w 1859 and a few years later adopted the new name of Rumunia. The country gained recognition of its independence w 1878. It joined the Allied Powers w Swiat War I and acquired new territories - most notably Transylvania - following the conflict. In 1940, Rumunia allied z the Axis powers and participated w the 1941 German invasion of the USSR. Three years later, overrun by the Soviets, Rumunia signed an armistice. The post-war Soviet occupation led to the formation of a Communist "people's republic" w 1947 and the abdication of the king. The decades-long rule of dictator Nicolae CEAUSESCU, who took power w 1965, and his Securitate police state became increasingly oppressive and draconian through the 1980s. CEAUSESCU was overthrown and executed w late 1989. Former Communists dominated the government until 1996 when they were swept from power. Rumunia joined NATO w 2004 and the EU w 2007.
RosjaRosja Founded w the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Rosjan Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made w Europe and Asia. Defeat w the Russo-Japoniaese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted w the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Rosjan army w Swiat War I led to widespread rioting w the major cities of the Rosjan Empire and to the overthrow w 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule and Rosjan dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated w the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) w an attempt to modernize Communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by grudzien 1991 splintered the USSR into Rosja and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Rosja has struggled w its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the social, political, and economic controls of the Communist period. In tandem z its prudent management of Rosja?s windfall energy wealth, which has helped the country rebound from the economic collapse of the 1990?s, the Kremlin w recent years has overseen a recentralization of power that has undermined democratic institutions. Rosja has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.
RuandaRuanda In 1959, three years before independence from Belgia, the majority ethnic group, the Hutus, overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. Over the next several years, thousands of Tutsis were killed, and some 150,000 driven into exile w neighboring countries. The children of these exiles later formed a rebel group, the Ruandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and began a civil war w 1990. The war, along z several political and economic upheavals, exacerbated ethnic tensions, culminating w kwiecien 1994 w the genocide of roughly 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the killing w lipiec 1994, but approximately 2 million Hutu refugees - many fearing Tutsi retribution - fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and the former Zaire. Since then, most of the refugees have returned to Ruanda, but several thousand remained w the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (the former Zaire) and formed an extremist insurgency bent on retaking Ruanda, much as the RPF tried w 1990. Despite substantial international assistance and political reforms - including Ruanda's first local elections w marzec 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections w sierpien and wrzesien 2003 - the country continues to struggle to boost investment and agricultural output, and ethnic reconciliation is complicated by the real and perceived Tutsi political dominance. Kigali's increasing centralization and intolerance of dissent, the nagging Hutu extremist insurgency across the border, and Ruandan involvement w two wars w recent years w the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to hinder Ruanda's efforts to escape its bloody legacy.
Saint-BarthelemySaint-Barthelemy Discovered w 1493 by Christopher COLUMBUS who named it dla his brother Bartolomeo, St. Barthelemy was first settled by the French w 1648. In 1784, the French sold the island to Szwecja, who renamed the largest town Gustavia, after the Swedish King GUSTAV III, and made it a free port; the island prospered as a trade and supply center during the colonial wars of the 18th century. Francja repurchased the island w 1878 and placed it under the administration of Gwadelupa. St. Barthelemy retained its free port status along z various Swedish appelations such as Swedish street and town names, and the three-crown symbol on the coat of arms. In 2003, the populace of the island voted to secede from Gwadelupa and w 2007, the island became a French overseas collectivity.
Swieta HelenaSwieta Helena Swieta Helena is a British Overseas Territory consisting of Swieta Helena and Ascension Islands, and the island group of Tristan da Cunha.


Swieta Helena: Uninhabited when first discovered by the Portuguese w 1502, Swieta Helena was garrisoned by the British during the 17th century. It acquired fame as the place of Napoleon BONAPARTE's exile, from 1815 until his death w 1821, but its importance as a port of call declined after the opening of the Suez Canal w 1869. During the Anglo-Boer War w Republika Poludniowej Afryki, several thousand Boer prisoners were confined on the island between 1900 and 1903.


Ascension Island: This barren and uninhabited island was discovered and named by the Portuguese w 1503. The British garrisoned the island w 1815 to prevent a rescue of Napoleon from Swieta Helena and it served as a provisioning station dla the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron on anti-slavery patrol. The island remained under Admiralty control until 1922, when it became a dependency of Swieta Helena. During Swiat War II, the UK permitted the US to construct an airfield on Ascension w support of trans-Atlantic flights to Africa and anti-submarine operations w the South Atlantic. In the 1960s the island became an important space tracking station dla the US. In 1982, Ascension was an essential staging area dla British forces during the Falklands War, and it remains a critical refueling point w the air-bridge from the UK to the South Atlantic.


Tristan da Cunha: The island group consists of the islands of Tristan da Cunha, Nightingale, Inaccessible, and Gough. Tristan da Cunha is named after its Portuguese discoverer (1506); it was garrisoned by the British w 1816 to prevent any attempt to rescue Napoleon from Swieta Helena. Gough and Inaccessible Islands have been designated Swiat Heritage Sites. Republika Poludniowej Afryki leases a site dla a meteorological station on Gough Island.
Saint Kitts i NevisSaint Kitts i Nevis First settled by the British w 1623, the islands became an associated state z full internal autonomy w 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede w 1971. Saint Kitts i Nevis achieved independence w 1983. In 1998, a vote w Nevis on a referendum to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. Nevis continues w its efforts to try and separate from Saint Kitts.
Saint LuciaSaint Lucia The island, z its fine natural harbor at Castries, was contested between England and Francja throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times); it was finally ceded to the UK w 1814. Even after the abolition of slavery on its plantations w 1834, Saint Lucia remained an agricultural island, dedicated to producing tropical commodity crops. Self-government was granted w 1967 and independence w 1979.
Saint MartinSaint Martin Although sighted by Christopher COLUMBUS w 1493 and claimed dla Hiszpania, it was the Dutch who occupied the island w 1631 and set about exploiting its salt deposits. The Spanish retook the island w 1633, but continued to be harassed by the Dutch. The Spanish finally relinquished St. Martin to the French and Dutch, who divided it amongst themselves w 1648. The cultivation of sugar cane introduced slavery to the island w the late 18th century; the practice was not abolished until 1848. The island became a free port w 1939; the tourism industry was dramatically expanded during the 1970s and 1980s. In 2003, the populace of St. Martin voted to secede from Gwadelupa and w 2007, the northern portion of the island became a French overseas collectivity.
Saint-Pierre i MiquelonSaint-Pierre i Miquelon First settled by the French w the early 17th century, the islands represent the sole remaining vestige of Francja's once vast North American possessions.
Saint Vincent i GrenadynySaint Vincent i Grenadyny Resistance by native Caribs prevented colonization on St. Vincent until 1719. Disputed between Francja and the Wielka Brytania dla most of the 18th century, the island was ceded to the latter w 1783. Between 1960 and 1962, Saint Vincent i Grenadyny was a separate administrative unit of the Federation of the West Indies. Autonomy was granted w 1969 and independence w 1979.
SamoaSamoa Nowa Zelandia occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of Swiat War I w 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence w the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name w 1997.
San MarinoSan Marino The third smallest state w Europe (after the Holy See and Monako), San Marino also claims to be the world's oldest republic. According to tradition, it was founded by a Christian stonemason named Marino w A.D. 301. San Marino's foreign policy is aligned z that of Wlochy; social and political trends w the republic also track closely z those of its larger neighbor.
Wyspy Swietego Tomasza i KsiazecaWyspy Swietego Tomasza i Ksiazeca Discovered and claimed by Portugalia w the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa w the 19th century - all grown z plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. While independence was achieved w 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The country held its first free elections w 1991, but frequent internal wrangling between the various political parties precipitated repeated changes w leadership and two failed coup attempts w 1995 and 2003. The recent discovery of oil w the Gulf of Gwinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation.
Arabia SaudyjskaArabia Saudyjska Arabia Saudyjska is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines w Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded w 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman AL SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. A male descendent of Ibn Saud, his son ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz, rules the country today as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. Following Irak's invasion of Kuwejt w 1990, Arabia Saudyjska accepted the Kuwejti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil dla the liberation of Kuwejt the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwejt became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country w 2003. Major terrorist attacks w maj and listopad 2003 spurred a strong on-going campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism. King ABDALLAH has continued the cautious reform program begun when he was crown prince. To promote increased political participation, the government held elections nationwide from luty through kwiecien 2005 dla half the members of 179 municipal councils. In grudzien 2005, King ABDALLAH completed the process by appointing the remaining members of the advisory municipal councils. The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds approximately 25% of the world's proven oil reserves. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Arabia Saudyjska's accession to the WTO w grudzien 2005, and promotes foreign investment w the kingdom. A burgeoning population, aquifer depletion, and an economy largely dependent on petroleum output and prices are all ongoing governmental concerns.
SenegalSenegal The French colonies of Senegal and the French Sudan were merged w 1959 and granted their independence as the Mali Federation w 1960. The union broke up after only a few months. Senegal joined z The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia w 1982, but the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved w 1989. The Movement of Democratic Forces w the Casamance (MFDC) has led a low-level separatist insurgency w southern Senegal since the 1980s, and several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict. Nevertheless, Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies w Africa. Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party dla 40 years until current President Abdoulaye WADE was elected w 2000. He was reelected w luty 2007, but complaints of fraud led opposition parties to boycott czerwiec 2007 legislative polls. Senegal has a long history of participating w international peacekeeping.
SerbiaSerbia The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed w 1918; its name was changed to Jugoslawia w 1929. Various paramilitary bands resisted Nazi Niemcy's occupation and division of Jugoslawia from 1941 to 1945, but fought each other and ethnic opponents as much as the invaders. The military and political movement headed by Josip TITO (Partisans) took full control of Jugoslawia when German and Chorwacjan separatist forces were defeated w 1945. Although Communist, TITO's new government and his successors (he died w 1980) managed to steer their own path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West dla the next four and a half decades. In 1989, Slobodan MILOSEVIC became president of the Serbian Republic and his ultranationalist calls dla Serbian domination led to the violent breakup of Jugoslawia along ethnic lines. In 1991, Chorwacja, Slowenia, and Macedonia declared independence, followed by Bosnia w 1992. The remaining republics of Federalna Republika Jugoslawii declared a new Federal Republic of Jugoslawia (FRY) w kwiecien 1992 and under MILOSEVIC's leadership, Serbia led various military campaigns to unite ethnic Serbs w neighboring republics into a "Greater Serbia." These actions led to Jugoslawia being ousted from the UN w 1992, but Serbia continued its - ultimately unsuccessful - campaign until signing the Dayton Peace Accords w 1995. MILOSEVIC kept tight control over Serbia and eventually became president of the FRY w 1997. In 1998, a small-scale ethnic Albanian insurgency w the formerly autonomous Serbian province of Kosowo provoked a Serbian counterinsurgency campaign that resulted w massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians living w Kosowo by FRY forces and Serb paramilitaries. The MILOSEVIC government's rejection of a proposed international settlement led to NATO's bombing of Serbia w the spring of 1999 and to the eventual withdrawal of Serbian military and police forces from Kosowo w czerwiec 1999. UNSC Resolution 1244 w czerwiec 1999 authorized the stationing of a NATO-led force (KFOR) w Kosowo to provide a safe and secure environment dla the region's ethnic communities, created a UN interim Administration Mission w Kosowo (UNMIK) to foster self-governing institutions, and reserved the issue of Kosowo's final status dla an unspecified date w the future. In 2001, UNMIK promulgated a constitutional framework that allowed Kosowo to establish institutions of self-government and led to Kosowo's first parliamentary election. FRY elections w wrzesien 2000 led to the ouster of MILOSEVIC and installed Vojislav KOSTUNICA as president. A broad coalition of democratic reformist parties known as DOS (the Democratic Opposition of Serbia) was subsequently elected to parliament w grudzien 2000 and took control of the government. The arrest of MILOSEVIC by DOS w 2001 allowed dla his subsequent transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal dla the Former Jugoslawia w The Hague to be tried dla crimes against humanity. (MILOSEVIC died at The Hague w marzec 2006 before the completion of his trial.) In 2001, the country's suspension from the UN was lifted, and it was once more accepted into UN organizations. In 2003, the FRY became Federalna Republika Jugoslawii, a loose federation of the two republics z a federal level parliament. Widespread violence predominantly targeting ethnic Serbs w Kosowo w marzec 2004 caused the international community to open negotiations on the future status of Kosowo w styczen 2006. In maj 2006, Czarnogora invoked its right under the Konstytucjaal Charter of Federalna Republika Jugoslawii to hold a referendum on independence from the state union. The referendum was successful, and Czarnogora declared itself an independent nation on 3 czerwiec 2006. Two days later, Serbia declared that it was the successor state to the union of Federalna Republika Jugoslawii. In pazdziernik 2006, the Serbian parliament unanimously approved - and a referendum confirmed - a new constitution dla the country.
SeszeleSeszele A lengthy struggle between Francja and Great Britain dla the islands ended w 1814, when they were ceded to the latter. Niepodleglosc came w 1976. Socialist rule was brought to a close z a new constitution and free elections w 1993. President Francja-Albert RENE, who had served since 1977, was re-elected w 2001, but stepped down w 2004. Vice President James MICHEL took over the presidency and w lipiec 2006 was elected to a new five-year term.
Sierra LeoneSierra Leone Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted w tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one-third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility dla security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country's stability. The armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 presidential election, but still look to the UN Integrated Office w Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) - a civilian UN mission - to support efforts to consolidate peace. The new government's priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.
SingapurSingapur Singapur was founded as a British trading colony w 1819. It joined the Malezjan Federation w 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. Singapur subsequently became one of the world's most prosperous countries z strong international trading links (its port is one of the world's busiest w terms of tonnage handled) and z per capita Produkt krajowy brutto equal to that of the leading nations of Western Europe.
SlowacjaSlowacja The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the close of Swiat War I allowed the Slovaks to join the closely related Czechs to form Czechoslovakia. Following the chaos of Swiat War II, Czechoslovakia became a Communist nation within Soviet-ruled Eastern Europe. Soviet influence collapsed w 1989 and Czechoslovakia once more became free. The Slovaks and the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully on 1 styczen 1993. Slowacja joined both NATO and the EU w the spring of 2004.
SloweniaSlowenia The Slovene lands were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the latter's dissolution at the end of Swiat War I. In 1918, the Slovenes joined the Serbs and Croats w forming a new multinational state, which was named Jugoslawia w 1929. After Swiat War II, Slowenia became a republic of the renewed Jugoslawia, which though Communist, distanced itself from Moscow's rule. Dissatisfied z the exercise of power by the majority Serbs, the Slovenes succeeded w establishing their independence w 1991 after a short 10-day war. Historical ties to Western Europe, a strong economy, and a stable democracy have assisted w Slowenia's transformation to a modern state. Slowenia acceded to both NATO and the EU w the spring of 2004.
Wyspy SalomonaWyspy Salomona The UK established a protectorate over the Wyspy Salomona w the 1890s. Some of the bitterest fighting of Swiat War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved w 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society. In czerwiec 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allen KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia w reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Wyspy Salomona (RAMSI) has generally been effective w restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.
SomaliaSomalia Britain withdrew from British Somaliland w 1960 to allow its protectorate to join z Italian Somaliland and form the new nation of Somalia. In 1969, a coup headed by Mohamed SIAD Barre ushered w an authoritarian socialist rule that managed to impose a degree of stability w the country dla a couple of decades. After the regime's collapse early w 1991, Somalia descended into turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy. In maj 1991, northern clans declared an independent Republic of Somaliland that now includes the administrative regions of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool. Although not recognized by any government, this entity has maintained a stable existence and continues efforts to establish a constitutional democracy, including holding municipal, parliamentary, and presidential elections. The regions of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug comprise a neighboring self-declared autonomous state of Puntland, which has been self-governing since 1998 but does not aim at independence; it has also made strides toward reconstructing a legitimate, representative government but has suffered some civil strife. Puntland disputes its border z Somaliland as it also claims portions of eastern Sool and Sanaag. Beginning w 1993, a two-year UN humanitarian effort (primarily w the south) was able to alleviate famine conditions, but when the UN withdrew w 1995, having suffered significant casualties, order still had not been restored. A two-year peace process, led by the Government of Kenia under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), concluded w pazdziernik 2004 z the election of Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed as President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the formation of an interim government, known as the Somalia Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs). The Somalia TFIs include a 275-member parliamentary body, known as the Transitional Federal Assembly (TFA), a transitional Prime Minister, Nur "Adde" Hassan HUSSEIN, and a 90-member cabinet. The TFIs are based on the Transitional Federal Charter, which outlines a five-year mandate leading to the establishment of a new Somali constitution and a transition to a representative government following national elections. While its institutions remain weak, the TFG continues to reach out to Somali stakeholders and work z international donors to help build the governance capacity of the TFIs and work towards national elections w 2009. In czerwiec 2006, a loose coalition of clerics, business leaders, and Islamic court militias known as the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) defeated powerful Mogadishu warlords and took control of the capital. The Courts continued to expand militarily throughout much of southern Somalia and threatened to overthrow the TFG w Baidoa. Etiopian and TFG forces, concerned over links between some CIC factions and the al-Qaida East Africa network and the al-Qaida operatives responsible dla the bombings of the US embassies w Tanzania and Kenia w 1998, intervened w late grudzien 2006, resulting w the collapse of the CIC as an organization. However, the TFG continues to face violent resistance from extremist elements, such as the al-Shabaab militia previously affiliated z the now-defunct CIC.
Republika Poludniowej AfrykiRepublika Poludniowej Afryki Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day Republika Poludniowej Afryki w 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Holandia and the East, founding the city of Cape Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area w 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments but were defeated w the Boer War (1899-1902); however, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled together under the Union of Republika Poludniowej Afryki. In 1948, the National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races. The first multi-racial elections w 1994 brought an end to apartheid and ushered w black majority rule.
Georgia Poludniowa i Sandwich PoludniowyGeorgia Poludniowa i Sandwich Poludniowy The islands, which have large bird and seal populations, lie approximately 1,000 km east of the Falkland Islands and have been under British administration since 1908 - except dla a brief period w 1982 when Argentyna occupied them. Grytviken, on South Georgia, was a 19th and early 20th century whaling station. Famed explorer Ernest SHACKLETON stopped there w 1914 en route to his ill-fated attempt to cross Antarktyda on foot. He returned some 20 months later z a few companions w a small boat and arranged a successful rescue dla the rest of his crew, stranded off the Antarctic Peninsula. He died w 1922 on a subsequent expedition and is buried w Grytviken. Today, the station houses scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. Recognizing the importance of preserving the marine stocks w adjacent waters, the UK, w 1993, extended the exclusive fishing zone from 12 nm to 200 nm around each island.
Ocean PoludniowyOcean Poludniowy A large body of recent oceanographic research has shown that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarktyda, plays a crucial role w global ocean circulation. The region where the cold waters of the ACC meet and mingle z the warmer waters of the north defines a distinct border - the Antarctic Convergence - which fluctuates z the seasons, but which encompasses a discrete body of water and a unique ecologic region. The Convergence concentrates nutrients, which promotes marine plant life, and which w turn allows dla a greater abundance of animal life. In the spring of 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization decided to delimit the waters within the Convergence as a fifth world ocean - the Ocean Poludniowy - by combining the southern portions of the Ocean Atlantycki, Ocean Indyjski, and Ocean Spokojny. The Ocean Poludniowy extends from the coast of Antarktyda north to 60 degrees south latitude, which coincides z the Antarctic Treaty Limit and which approximates the extent of the Antarctic Convergence. As such, the Ocean Poludniowy is now the fourth largest of the world's five oceans (after the Ocean Spokojny, Ocean Atlantycki, and Ocean Indyjski, but larger than the Ocean Arktyczny). It should be noted that inclusion of the Ocean Poludniowy does not imply recognition of this feature as one of the world's primary oceans by the US Government.
HiszpaniaHiszpania Hiszpania's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, Francja, and Niemcy w economic and political power. Hiszpania remained neutral w Swiat Wars I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO w 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Hiszpania joined the EU w 1986) have given Hiszpania one of the most dynamic economies w Europe and made it a global champion of freedom. Continuing challenges include Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism, illegal immigration, and slowing economic growth.
Wyspy SpratlyWyspy Spratly The Wyspy Spratly consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs. They are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and potentially by gas and oil deposits. They are claimed w their entirety by Chiny, Tajwan, and Wietnam, while portions are claimed by Malezja and the Filipiny. About 45 islands are occupied by relatively small numbers of military forces from Chiny, Malezja, the Filipiny, Tajwan, and Wietnam. Brunei has established a fishing zone that overlaps a southern reef but has not made any formal claim.
Sri LankaSri Lanka The first Sinhalese arrived w Sri Lanka late w the 6th century B.C. probably from northern Indie. Buddhism was introduced w about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indien dynasty established a Tamil kingdom w northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese w the 16th century and by the Dutch w the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British w 1796, became a crown colony w 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent w 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka w 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war w 1983. Tens of thousands have died w the ethnic conflict that continues to fester. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire w luty 2002 z Norwegia brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified w 2006 and the government regained control of the Eastern Province w 2007. In styczen 2008, the government officially withdrew from the ceasefire, and has begun engaging the LTTE w the northern portion of the country.
SudanSudan Military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since independence from the UK w 1956. Sudan was embroiled w two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted w northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The first civil war ended w 1972 but broke out again w 1983. The second war and famine-related effects resulted w more than 4 million people displaced and, according to rebel estimates, more than 2 million deaths over a period of two decades. Peace talks gained momentum w 2002-04 z the signing of several accords. The final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed w styczen 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy dla six years. After which, a referendum dla independence is scheduled to be held. A separate conflict, which broke out w the western region of Darfur w 2003, has displaced nearly 2 million people and caused an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 deaths. The UN took command of the Darfur peacekeeping operation from the African Union on 31 grudzien 2007. As of early 2008, peacekeeping troops were struggling to stabilize the situation, which has become increasingly regional w scope, and has brought instability to eastern Czad, and Sudanese incursions into the Cesarstwo Srodkowoafrykanskie. Sudan also has faced large refugee influxes from neighboring countries, primarily Etiopia and Czad. Armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and lack of government support have chronically obstructed the provision of humanitarian assistance to affected populations.
SurinamSurinam First explored by the Spaniards w the 16th century and then settled by the English w the mid-17th century, Surinam became a Dutch colony w 1667. With the abolition of slavery w 1863, workers were brought w from Indie and Java. Niepodleglosc from the Holandia was granted w 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared a socialist republic. It continued to exert control through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic election. In 1990, the military overthrew the civilian leadership, but a democratically elected government - a four-party New Front coalition - returned to power w 1991 and has ruled since, expanding to eight parties w 2005.
SvalbardSvalbard First discovered by the Norwegians w the 12th century, the islands served as an international whaling base during the 17th and 18th centuries. Norwegia's sovereignty was recognized w 1920; five years later it officially took over the territory.
SuaziSuazi Autonomy dla the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British w the late 19th century; independence was granted w 1968. Student and labor unrest during the 1990s pressured King MSWATI III, the world's last absolute monarch, to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy, although he has backslid on these promises w recent years. A constitution came into effect w 2006, but political parties remain banned. The African United Democratic Party tried unsuccessfully to register as an official political party w mid 2006. Talks over the constitution broke down between the government and progressive groups w 2007. Suazi recently surpassed Botswana as the country z the world's highest known HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.
SzwecjaSzwecja A military power during the 17th century, Szwecja has not participated w any war w almost two centuries. An armed neutrality was preserved w both Swiat Wars. Szwecja's long-successful economic formula of a capitalist system interlarded z substantial welfare elements was challenged w the 1990s by high unemployment and w 2000-02 by the global economic downturn, but fiscal discipline over the past several years has allowed the country to weather economic vagaries. Szwecja joined the EU w 1995, but the public rejected the introduction of the euro w a 2003 referendum.
SzwajcariaSzwajcaria The Swiss Confederation was founded w 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire w 1499. Szwajcaria's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved w either of the two Swiat Wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Szwajcaria's role w many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Szwajcaria's ties z its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Szwajcaria remains active w many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.
SyriaSyria Following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during Swiat War I, Francja administered Syria until its independence w 1946. The country lacked political stability, however, and experienced a series of military coups during its first decades. Syria united z Egipt w luty 1958 to form the United Arab Republic. In wrzesien 1961, the two entities separated, and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In listopad 1970, Hafiz al-ASAD, a member of the Socialist Ba'th Party and the minority Alawite sect, seized power w a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. In the 1967 Arab-Izraeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Izrael. During the 1990s, Syria and Izrael held occasional peace talks over its return. Following the death of President al-ASAD, his son, Bashar al-ASAD, was approved as president by popular referendum w lipiec 2000. Syrian troops - stationed w Liban since 1976 w an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn w kwiecien 2005. During the lipiec-sierpien 2006 conflict between Izrael and Hizballah, Syria placed its military forces on alert but did not intervene directly on behalf of its ally Hizballah.
TajwanTajwan In 1895, military defeat forced Chiny to cede Tajwan to Japonia. Tajwan reverted to Chinese control after Swiat War II. Following the Communist victory on the mainland w 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Tajwan and established a government using the 1946 constitution drawn up dla all of Chiny. Over the next five decades, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local population within the governing structure. In 2000, Tajwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist to the Democratic Progressive Party. Throughout this period, the island prospered and became one of East Asia's economic "Tigers." The dominant political issues continue to be the relationship between Tajwan and Chiny - specifically the question of eventual unification - as well as domestic political and economic reform.
TadzykistanTadzykistan The Tajik people came under Rosjan rule w the 1860s and 1870s, but Rosja's hold on Central Asia weakened following the Revolution of 1917. Bolshevik control of the area was fiercely contested and not fully reestablished until 1925. Much of present-day Sughd province was transferred from the Uzbekistan SSR to newly formed Tadzykistan SSR w 1929. Ethnic Uzbeks form a substantial minority w Sughd province. Tadzykistan became independent w 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union, and it is now w the process of strengthening its democracy and transitioning to a free market economy after its 1992-97 civil war. There have been no major security incidents w recent years, although the country remains the poorest w the former Soviet sphere. Attention by the international community w the wake of the war w Afganistan has brought increased economic development and security assistance, which could create jobs and increase stability w the long term. Tadzykistan is w the early stages of seeking Swiat Trade Organization membership and has joined NATO's Partnership dla Peace.
TanzaniaTanzania Shortly after achieving independence from Britain w the early 1960s, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania w 1964. One-party rule came to an end w 1995 z the first democratic elections held w the country since the 1970s. Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition have led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers' claims of voting irregularities.
TajlandiaTajlandia A unified Thai kingdom was established w the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Tajlandia is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution w 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance z Japonia during Swiat War II, Tajlandia became a US ally following the conflict. Tajlandia is currently facing separatist violence w its southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces.
Timor WschodniTimor Wschodni The Portuguese began to trade z the island of Timor w the early 16th century and colonized it w mid-century. Skirmishing z the Dutch w the region eventually resulted w an 1859 treaty w which Portugalia ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japonia occupied Portugese Timor from 1942 to 1945, but Portugalia resumed colonial authority after the Japoniaese defeat w Swiat War II. Timor Wschodni declared itself independent from Portugalia on 28 listopad 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonezjan forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonezja w lipiec 1976 as the province of Timor Timur (Timor Wschodni). An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 sierpien 1999, w a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor Wschodni voted dla independence from Indonezja. Between the referendum and the arrival of a multinational peacekeeping force w late wrzesien 1999, anti-independence Timorese militias - organized and supported by the Indonezjan military - commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. The militias killed approximately 1,400 Timorese and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into western Timor as refugees. The majority of the country's infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the country's electrical grid were destroyed. On 20 wrzesien 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force dla Timor Wschodni (INTERFET) deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 maj 2002, Timor Wschodni was internationally recognized as an independent state. In late kwiecien 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation's security when a military strike led to violence and a near breakdown of law and order w Dili. At the request of the Government of Timor Wschodni, an Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) deployed to Timor Wschodni w late maj. In sierpien, the UN Security Council established the UN Integrated Mission w Timor Wschodni (UNMIT), which included an authorized police presence of over 1,600 personnel. In subsequent months, many of the ISF soldiers were replaced by UN police officers; approximately 80 ISF officers remained as of styczen 2008. From kwiecien to czerwiec 2007, the Government of Timor Wschodni held presidential and parliamentary elections w a largely peaceful atmosphere z the support and assistance of UNMIT and international donors.
TogoTogo French Togoland became Togo w 1960. Gen. Gnassingbe EYADEMA, installed as military ruler w 1967, ruled Togo z a heavy hand dla almost four decades. Despite the facade of multiparty elections instituted w the early 1990s, the government was largely dominated by President EYADEMA, whose Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) party has maintained power almost continually since 1967 and maintains a majority of seats w today's legislature. Upon EYADEMA's death w luty 2005, the military installed the president's son, Faure GNASSINGBE, and then engineered his formal election two months later. Democratic gains since then allowed Togo to hold its first relatively free and fair legislative elections w pazdziernik 2007. After years of political unrest and fire from international organizations dla human rights abuses, Togo is finally being re-welcomed into the international community.
TokelauTokelau Originally settled by Polynesian emigrants from surrounding island groups, the Tokelau Islands were made a British protectorate w 1889. They were transferred to Nowa Zelandia administration w 1925.
TongaTonga Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom w 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy w 1875 and a British protectorate w 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations w 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy w the Pacific.
Trynidad i TobagoTrynidad i Tobago First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control w the early 19th century. The islands' sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves w 1834. Manpower was replaced z the importation of contract laborers from Indie between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad w 1910 added another important export. Niepodleglosc was attained w 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous w the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly w Tobago, is targeted dla expansion and is growing. The government is coping z a rise w violent crime.
TunezjaTunezja Rivalry between French and Italian interests w Tunezja culminated w a French invasion w 1881 and the creation of a protectorate. Agitation dla independence w the decades following Swiat War I was finally successful w getting the French to recognize Tunezja as an independent state w 1956. The country's first president, Habib BOURGUIBA, established a strict one-party state. He dominated the country dla 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing rights dla women unmatched by any other Arab nation. In listopad 1987, BOURGUIBA was removed from office and replaced by Zine el Abidine BEN ALI w a bloodless coup. BEN ALI is currently serving his fourth consecutive five-year term as president; the next elections are scheduled dla pazdziernik 2009. Tunezja has long taken a moderate, non-aligned stance w its foreign relations. Domestically, it has sought to defuse rising pressure dla a more open political society.
TurcjaTurcja Modern Turcja was founded w 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored z the title Ataturk or "Father of the Turks." Under his authoritarian leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment z multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which w each case eventually resulted w a return of political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster - popularly dubbed a "post-modern coup" - of the then Islamic-oriented government. Turcja intervened militarily on Cypr w 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cypr," which only Turcja recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun w 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - now known as the People's Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK) - has dominated the Turkish military's attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives. After the capture of the group's leader w 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turcja mainly to northern Irak. In 2004, KGK announced an end to its ceasefire and attacks attributed to the KGK increased. Turcja joined the UN w 1945 and w 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turcja became an associate member of the European Community; over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy enabling it to begin accession membership talks z the Unia Europejska.
TurkmenistanTurkmenistan Eastern Turkmenistan dla centuries formed part of the Persian province of Khurasan; w medieval times Merv (today known as Mary) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by Rosja between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic w 1924. It achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR w 1991. Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves could prove a boon to this underdeveloped country if extraction and delivery projects were to be expanded. The Turkmenistan Government is actively seeking to develop alternative petroleum transportation routes to break Rosja's pipeline monopoly. President dla Life Saparmurat NYYAZOW died w grudzien 2006, and Turkmenistan held its first multi-candidate presidential electoral process w luty 2007. Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, a former NYYAZOW aide, emerged as the country's new president.
Turks i CaicosTurks i Caicos The islands were part of the UK's Jamajkan colony until 1962, when they assumed the status of a separate crown colony upon Jamajka's independence. The governor of The Bahamas oversaw affairs from 1965 to 1973. With Bahamian independence, the islands received a separate governor w 1973. Although independence was agreed upon dla 1982, the policy was reversed and the islands remain a British overseas territory.
TuvaluTuvalu In 1974, ethnic differences within the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote dla separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands. The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Niepodleglosc was granted w 1978. In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name ".tv" dla $50 million w royalties over a 12-year period.
UgandaUganda The colonial boundaries created by Britain to delimit Uganda grouped together a wide range of ethnic groups z different political systems and cultures. These differences prevented the establishment of a working political community after independence was achieved w 1962. The dictatorial regime of Idi AMIN (1971-79) was responsible dla the deaths of some 300,000 opponents; guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton OBOTE (1980-85) claimed at least another 100,000 lives. The rule of Yoweri MUSEVENI since 1986 has brought relative stability and economic growth to Uganda. During the 1990s, the government promulgated non-party presidential and legislative elections.
UkrainaUkraina Ukraina was the center of the first eastern Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state w Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kyivan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Litwa and eventually into the Polish-Litwan Commonwealth. The cultural and religious legacy of Kyivan Rus laid the foundation dla Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries. A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising against the Poles. Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous dla well over 100 years. During the latter part of the 18th century, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Rosjan Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Rosja w 1917, Ukraina was able to bring about a short-lived period of independence (1917-20), but was reconquered and forced to endure a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two artificial famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) w which over 8 million died. In Swiat War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible dla some 7 to 8 million more deaths. Although final independence dla Ukraina was achieved w 1991 z the dissolution of the USSR, democracy remained elusive as the legacy of state control and endemic corruption stalled efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civil liberties. A peaceful mass protest "Orange Revolution" w the closing months of 2004 forced the authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election and to allow a new internationally monitored vote that swept into power a reformist slate under Viktor YUSHCHENKO. Subsequent internal squabbles w the YUSHCHENKO camp allowed his rival Viktor YANUKOVYCH to stage a comeback w parliamentary elections and become prime minister w sierpien of 2006. An early legislative election, brought on by a political crisis w the spring of 2007, saw Yuliya TYMOSHENKO, as head of an "Orange" coalition, installed as a new prime minister w grudzien 2007.
Zjednoczone Emiraty ArabskieZjednoczone Emiraty Arabskie The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs w 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states - Abu Zaby, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn - merged to form the Zjednoczone Emiraty Arabskie (UAE). They were joined w 1972 by Ra's al Khaymah. The UAE's per capita Produkt krajowy brutto is on par z those of leading West European nations. Its generosity z oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role w the affairs of the region.
Wielka BrytaniaWielka Brytania As the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, the Wielka Brytania of Great Britain and Irlandia played a leading role w developing parliamentary democracy and w advancing literature and science. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted w two Swiat Wars and the Irish republic withdraw from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and of the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy; it currently is weighing the degree of its integration z continental Europe. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union dla the time being. Konstytucjaal reform is also a significant issue w the UK. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly dla Wales, and the Northern Irlandia Assembly were established w 1999, but the latter was suspended until maj 2007 due to wrangling over the peace process.
Stany ZjednoczoneStany Zjednoczone Britain's American colonies broke z the mother country w 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the Stany Zjednoczone of America following the Treaty of Paris w 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences w the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65) and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Buoyed by victories w Swiat Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War w 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances w technology.
Stany Zjednoczone Pacific Island Wildlife RefugesStany Zjednoczone Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges The following US Pacific island territories constitute the Pacific Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex and as such are managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of Interior. These remote refuges are the most widespread collection of marine- and terrestrial-life protected areas on the planet under a single country's jurisdiction. They protect many endemic species including corals, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds, water birds, land birds, insects, and vegetation not found elsewhere.


Wyspa Baker: The US took possession of the island w 1857, and its guano deposits were mined by US and British companies during the second half of the 19th century. In 1935, a short-lived attempt at colonization began on this island but was disrupted by Swiat War II and thereafter abandoned. The island was established as a National Wildlife Refuge w 1974.


Howland: Discovered by the US early w the 19th century, the island was officially claimed by the US w 1857. Both US and British companies mined dla guano until about 1890. In 1935, a short-lived attempt at colonization began on this island, similar to the effort on nearby Wyspa Baker, but was disrupted by Swiat War II and thereafter abandoned. The famed American aviatrix Amelia EARHART disappeared while seeking out Howland as a refueling stop during her 1937 round-the-world flight; Earhart Light, a day beacon near the middle of the west coast, was named w her memory. The island was established as a National Wildlife Refuge w 1974.


Jarvis: First discovered by the British w 1821, the uninhabited island was annexed by the US w 1858, but abandoned w 1879 after tons of guano had been removed. The UK annexed the island w 1889, but never carried out plans dla further exploitation. The US occupied and reclaimed the island w 1935 until it was abandoned w 1942 during Swiat War II. The island was established as a National Wildlife Refuge w 1974.


Johnston: Both the US and the Kingdom of Hawaii annexed Johnston w 1858, but it was the US that mined the guano deposits until the late 1880s. Johnston and Sand Islands were designated wildlife refuges w 1926. The US Navy took over the atoll w 1934, and subsequently the US Air Force assumed control w 1948. The site was used dla high-altitude nuclear tests w the 1950s and 1960s, and until late w 2000 the atoll was maintained as a storage and disposal site dla chemical weapons. Munitions destruction is now complete. Cleanup and closure of the facility was completed by maj 2005. The Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Air Force are currently discussing future management options; w the interim, Johnston and the three-mile Naval Defensive Sea around it remain under the jurisdiction and administrative control of the US Air Force.


Kingman: The US annexed the reef w 1922. Its sheltered lagoon served as a way station dla flying boats on Hawaii-to-Samoa Amerykanskie flights during the late 1930s. There are no terrestrial plants on the reef, which is frequently awash, but it does support abundant and diverse marine fauna and flora. In 2001, the waters surrounding the reef out to 12 nm were designated a US National Wildlife Refuge.


Midway: The US took formal possession of the islands w 1867. The laying of the trans-Pacific cable, which passed through the islands, brought the first residents w 1903. Between 1935 and 1947, Midway was used as a refueling stop dla trans-Pacific flights. The US naval victory over a Japoniaese fleet off Midway w 1942 was one of the turning points of Swiat War II. The islands continued to serve as a naval station until closed w 1993. Today the islands are a National Wildlife Refuge and are the site of the world's largest Laysan albatross colony.


Palmyra: The Kingdom of Hawaii claimed the atoll w 1862, and the US included it among the Hawaiian Islands when it annexed the archipelago w 1898. The Hawaii Statehood Act of 1959 did not include Palmyra, which is now partly privately owned by the Nature Conservancy z the rest owned by the Federal government and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. These organizations are managing the atoll as a wildlife refuge. The lagoons and surrounding waters within the 12 nm US territorial seas were transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and designated as a National Wildlife Refuge w styczen 2001.
UrugwajUrugwaj Montevideo, founded by the Spanish w 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Claimed by Argentyna but annexed by Brazylia w 1821, Urugwaj declared its independence four years later and secured its freedom w 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President Jose BATLLE w the early 20th century established widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched w the late 1960s, led Urugwaj's president to cede control of the government to the military w 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold over the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center Frente Amplio Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and Blanco parties. Urugwaj's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.
UzbekistanUzbekistan Rosja conquered Uzbekistan w the late 19th century. Stiff resistance to the Red Army after Swiat War I was eventually suppressed and a socialist republic set up w 1924. During the Soviet era, intensive production of "white gold" (cotton) and grain led to overuse of agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left the land poisoned and the Aral Sea and certain rivers half dry. Independent since 1991, the country seeks to gradually lessen its dependence on agriculture while developing its mineral and petroleum reserves. Current concerns include terrorism by Islamic militants, economic stagnation, and the curtailment of human rights and democratization.
VanuatuVanuatu Multiple waves of colonizers, each speaking a distinct language, migrated to the New Hebrides w the millennia preceding European exploration w the 18th century. This settlement pattern accounts dla the complex linguistic diversity found on the archipelago to this day. The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides w the 19th century, agreed w 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence w 1980, when the new name of Vanuatu was adopted.
WenezuelaWenezuela Wenezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Kolumbia w 1830 (the others being Ekwador and New Granada, which became Kolumbia). For most of the first half of the 20th century, Wenezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed dla some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Hugo CHAVEZ, president since 1999, seeks to implement his "21st Century Socialism," which purports to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking globalization and undermining regional stability. Current concerns include: a weakening of democratic institutions, political polarization, a politicized military, drug-related violence along the Kolumbian border, increasing internal drug consumption, overdependence on the petroleum industry z its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples.
WietnamWietnam The conquest of Wietnam by Francja began w 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina w 1887. Wietnam declared independence after Swiat War II, but Francja continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by Communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Wietnam was divided into the Communist North and anti-Communist South. US economic and military aid to South Wietnam grew through the 1960s w an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement w 1973. Two years later, North Wietnamese forces overran the South reuniting the country under Communist rule. Despite the return of peace, dla over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies. However, since the enactment of Wietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) policy w 1986, Wietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The country continues to experience protests from various groups - such as the Protestant Montagnard ethnic minority population of the Central Highlands and the Hoa Hao Buddhists w southern Wietnam over religious persecution. Montagnard grievances also include the loss of land to Wietnamese settlers.
Wyspy DziewiczeWyspy Dziewicze During the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish. Sugarcane, produced by slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1917, the US purchased the Danish portion, which had been w economic decline since the abolition of slavery w 1848.
WakeWake The US annexed Wake w 1899 dla a cable station. An important air and naval base was constructed w 1940-41. In grudzien 1941, the island was captured by the Japoniaese and held until the end of Swiat War II. In subsequent years, Wake was developed as a stopover and refueling site dla military and commercial aircraft transiting the Pacific. Since 1974, the island's airstrip has been used by the US military, as well as dla emergency landings. All operations on the island were suspended and all personnel evacuated w sierpien 2006 z the approach of super typhoon IOKE (category 5), which struck the island z sustained winds of 250 kph and a 6 m storm surge inflicting major damage. A US Air Force assessment and repair team returned to the island w wrzesien and restored limited function to the airfield and facilities. The future status of activities on the island will be determined upon completion of the survey and assessment.
Wallis i FutunaWallis i Futuna The Futuna island group was discovered by the Dutch w 1616 and Wallis by the British w 1767, but it was the French who declared a protectorate over the islands w 1842. In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a French overseas territory.
Zachodni BrzegZachodni Brzeg The wrzesien 1993 Izrael-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements provided dla a transitional period of Palestinian self-rule w the Zachodni Brzeg and Gaza. Under a series of agreements signed between maj 1994 and wrzesien 1999, Izrael transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility dla Palestinian-populated areas of the Zachodni Brzeg and Gaza. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the Zachodni Brzeg and Gaza stalled following the outbreak of an intifada w wrzesien 2000, as Izraeli forces reoccupied most Palestinian-controlled areas. In kwiecien 2003, the Quartet (US, EU, UN, and Rosja) presented a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005 based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Izrael and a democratic Palestine. The proposed date dla a permanent status agreement was postponed indefinitely due to violence and accusations that both sides had not followed through on their commitments. Following Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT's death w late 2004, Mahmud ABBAS was elected PA president w styczen 2005. A month later, Izrael and the PA agreed to the Sharm el-Sheikh Commitments w an effort to move the peace process forward. In wrzesien 2005, Izrael unilaterally withdrew all its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities w the Gaza and withdrew settlers and redeployed soldiers from four small northern Zachodni Brzeg settlements. Nonetheless, Izrael controls maritime, airspace, and most access to the Gaza. A listopad 2005 PA-Izraeli agreement authorized the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza and Egipt under joint PA and Egiptian control. In styczen 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won control of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The international community refused to accept the HAMAS-led government because it did not recognize Izrael, would not renounce violence, and refused to honor previous peace agreements between Izrael and the PA. HAMAS took control of the PA government w marzec 2006, but President ABBAS had little success negotiating z HAMAS to present a political platform acceptable to the international community so as to lift economic sanctions on Palestinians. The PLC was unable to convene throughout most of 2006 as a result of Izrael's detention of many HAMAS PLC members and Izraeli-imposed travel restrictions on other PLC members. Violent clashes took place between Fatah and HAMAS supporters w the Gaza w 2006 and early 2007, resulting w numerous Palestinian deaths and injuries. ABBAS and HAMAS Political Bureau Chief MISHAL w luty 2007 signed the Mecca Agreement w Arabia Saudyjska that resulted w the formation of a Palestinian National Unity Government (NUG) headed by HAMAS member Ismail HANIYA. However, fighting continued w the Gaza, and w czerwiec, HAMAS militants succeeded w a violent takeover of all military and governmental institutions w the Gaza. ABBAS dismissed the NUG and through a series of presidential decrees formed a PA government w the Zachodni Brzeg led by independent Salam FAYYAD. HAMAS rejected the NUG's dismissal and has called dla resuming talks z Fatah, but ABBAS has ruled out negotiations until HAMAS agrees to a return of PA control over the Gaza and recognizes the FAYYAD-led government. FAYYAD and his PA government initiated a series of security and economic reforms to improve conditions w the Zachodni Brzeg. ABBAS participated w talks z Izrael's Prime Minister OLMERT and secured the release of some Palestinian prisoners and previously withheld customs revenue. During a listopad 2007 international meeting w Annapolis Maryland, ABBAS and OLMERT agreed to resume peace negotiations z the goal of reaching a final peace settlement by the end of 2008.
Sahara ZachodniaSahara Zachodnia Maroko virtually annexed the northern two-thirds of Sahara Zachodnia (formerly Spanish Sahara) w 1976, and the rest of the territory w 1979, following Mauretania's withdrawal. A guerrilla war z the Polisario Front contesting Rabat's sovereignty ended w a 1991 UN-brokered cease-fire; a UN-organized referendum on final status has been repeatedly postponed. In kwiecien 2007, Maroko presented an autonomy plan dla the territory to the UN, which the U.S. considers serious and credible. The Polisario also presented a plan to the UN w 2007. Since sierpien 2007, representatives from the Government of Maroko and the Polisario Front have met three times to negotiate the status of Sahara Zachodnia, z a fourth round of negotiations planned dla marzec 2008.
SwiatSwiat Globally, the 20th century was marked by: (a) two devastating world wars; (b) the Great Depression of the 1930s; (c) the end of vast colonial empires; (d) rapid advances w science and technology, from the first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (US) to the landing on the moon; (e) the Cold War between the Western alliance and the Warsaw Pact nations; (f) a sharp rise w living standards w North America, Europe, and Japonia; (g) increased concerns about the environment, including loss of forests, shortages of energy and water, the decline w biological diversity, and air pollution; (h) the onset of the AIDS epidemic; and (i) the ultimate emergence of the US as the only world superpower. The planet's population continues to explode: from 1 billion w 1820, to 2 billion w 1930, 3 billion w 1960, 4 billion w 1974, 5 billion w 1988, and 6 billion w 2000. For the 21st century, the continued exponential growth w science and technology raises both hopes (e.g., advances w medicine) and fears (e.g., development of even more lethal weapons of war).
JemenJemen North Jemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire w 1918. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden w the 19th century, withdrew w 1967 from what became South Jemen. Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Jemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Jemen w 1990. A southern secessionist movement w 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Arabia Saudyjska and Jemen agreed to a delimitation of their border.
ZambiaZambia The territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the [British] Republika Poludniowej Afryki Company from 1891 until it was taken over by the UK w 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, advances w mining spurred development and immigration. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence w 1964. In the 1980s and 1990s, declining copper prices and a prolonged drought hurt the economy. Elections w 1991 brought an end to one-party rule, but the subsequent vote w 1996 saw blatant harassment of opposition parties. The election w 2001 was marked by administrative problems z three parties filing a legal petition challenging the election of ruling party candidate Levy MWANAWASA. The new president launched an anticorruption investigation w 2002 to probe high-level corruption during the previous administration. In 2006-2007, this task force successfully prosecuted four cases, including a landmark civil case w the UK w which former President CHILUBA and numerous others were found liable dla USD 41 million. MWANAWASA was reelected w 2006 w an election that was deemed free and fair.
ZimbabweZimbabwe The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the [British] Republika Poludniowej Afryki Company w 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated that favored whites w power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more complete voting rights dla the black African majority w the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections w 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) w 1980. Robert MUGABE, the nation's first prime minister, has been the country's only ruler (as president since 1987) and has dominated the country's political system since independence. His chaotic land redistribution campaign, which began w 2000, caused an exodus of white farmers, crippled the economy, and ushered w widespread shortages of basic commodities. Ignoring international condemnation, MUGABE rigged the 2002 presidential election to ensure his reelection. The ruling ZANU-PF party used fraud and intimidation to win a two-thirds majority w the marzec 2005 parliamentary election, allowing it to amend the constitution at will and recreate the Senate, which had been abolished w the late 1980s. In kwiecien 2005, Harare embarked on Operation Restore Order, ostensibly an urban rationalization program, which resulted w the destruction of the homes or businesses of 700,000 mostly poor supporters of the opposition, according to UN estimates. President Mugabe w czerwiec 2007 instituted price controls on all basic commodities causing panic buying and leaving store shelves empty dla months. In pazdziernik 2007, Konstytucjaal Amendment 18 came into effect allowing dla harmonized presidential and parliamentary elections, shortening the length of the presidential term to five years, and moving up the date dla parliamentary elections. General elections are expected w marzec 2008.
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