Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The National Anthem of Nauru

Nauru, officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island nation in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 300 km to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest island nation, covering just 21 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi).

Settled by Micronesian and Polynesian people, Nauru was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late 19th century. After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops who were bypassed by the Allied advance across the Pacific, and after the war ended, it entered into trusteeship again. Nauru was declared independent in 1968.

"Nauru Bwiema" ("Song of Nauru") is the national anthem of Nauru. The words of the anthem were written by Margaret Hendrie. The music was composed by Laurence Henry Hicks. Nauru adopted the anthem in 1968, the year of independence.

Laurence Henry Hicks (1912-1997) was an Australian composer, conductor and squadron leader. He is known as the person who composed the music to the national anthem of Nauru, in 1968, in preparation for the independence of that country. Both Hicks and Hendrie lived until the 1990s; Hendrie died in 1990 and Hicks in 1997. Their association may be said to symbolize the ongoing cultural links between Nauru and Australia.

The stamps above were issued during Nauru's Independence Anniversary. Its shows the composer conducting over his squadron in the 1$ stamp and the anthem score in the 2$ stamp.