Australia: A Special Island

Many a pygmy-size paradise of late has attained the badge of nationhood —such as Cyprus, Rwanda, Burundi, Zan zibar. But all stand as giants beside a midget that last week clamored to join the gang: the Pacific island of Nauru.

A coral-and-palm flyspeck 1,300 miles northeast of Australia, Nauru has an area of 8½ square miles and a population of 2,700. Only 100 years ago, it was a virtually unknown battleground of savages who guzzled coconut toddy and sported necklaces of human teeth; in 1852 the Nauruans inhospitably chopped up the entire crew of the visiting American brig, India. Since...

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