The Republic of Nauru, formerly known as Pleasant Island, is the world’s smallest independent republic and is located in Micronesia in the South Pacific. With only 9,378 residents in an 8.1 square mile area, Nauru is the second smallest state by population in the world. Originally settled by Polynesian and Micronesian 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. After being occupied by the Japanese during World War II, Nauru gained its independence in 1968. The current president, Baron Waqa, leads a 19-member unicameral parliament.