Marshall Islands News & Current Events

Updated October 31, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
Signing the Compact of Free Association and United Nations Admission


The United States and the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association in 1986, which meant the islands became self-governing but would receive U.S. military and economic aid, roughly $65 million a year. The Marshall Islands were admitted to the UN on Sept. 17, 1991.

In 2000, Kessai Note became the first commoner to become president—his predecessors had been island chiefs. He ran on an anticorruption ticket and is attempting to make his small nation more self-sufficient. In 2003, the U.S. and the Marshall Islands agreed on a new Compact of Free Association, an extension of the lease to use the Kwajalein military base in exchange for economic aid. In Jan. 2004, Parliament reelected President Note.


World's Largest Shark Sanctuary Declared


Over 772,000 square miles of ocean was declared a shark sanctuary by the government in Oct. 2011. The area became the largest shark sanctuary in the world. Fishing for sharks is banned.

On Jan. 3, 2012, the Nitijela, the 33-member legislature, elected Christopher Loeak president. Loeak defeated incumbent Jurelang Zedkaia by 21 to 11 votes.

In early Jan. 2016, the Nitijela elected Casten Nemra president. Nemra narrowly defeated seven-term Parliament member, Senator Alvin Jacklick by 17-16 votes. Nemra assumed office on Jan. 11. He became the youngest person to hold the office.

See also Encyclopedia: Marshall Islands .

U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Marshall Islands

Office of Planning and Statistics .