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Majuro, Marshall Islands

Majuro is the names of an atoll consisting of 64 islands encircling a lagoon of 114 square miles in mid-Pacific near the Equator. It is a part of the sprawling Republic of the Marshall Islands. Claimed and colonized by Germans in 1884, the atoll was captured by the Japanese in World War II, and later recaptured by the United States forces. During that war, it became the largest and most active port in the world, serving as the forward naval base for the Pacific Theater. The darkest chapter in the history of the Marshalls is the imposition of over 70 nuclear tests inflicted on the archipelago by the United States. The small but informative Alele Museum, Library and National Archive relates the whole history admirably. Especially interesting are displays relating to traditional navigation maps and traditional Marshallese tattoos.