During WWII, the United States attacked the Japanese base at Palau. At the end of the war, from 1948 until 1994, the United States was designated to provide for Palau under the United Nations Trust Territory agreement, however the islands were left mostly neglected.They launched the "Desecrate I" air raid on March 30 and 31, 1944, which resulted in the Lost Fleet of the Rock Islands, Japanese shipwrecks that we dive today. The US was supposed to oversee the rebuilding and development of a sovereign Palau, which did not happen until the 1994 Compact of Free Association Agreement, in which Palau's government became locally independent from the United States, yet still accepted funding from the US government in exchange for United States military use of the land.There is still much controversy around the nebulous terms of the agreement.
The traditional history of Palau, before all the powers invaded and influenced, leaves much to be studied.
Carbon dating places inhabitants on the Rock Islands as early as 1000 BC.
Today, traces of the ancient culture are still prominent on the island: Bead-money, first-birth ceremonies, communal meeting houses called Bai , ancient terraces on rocky slopes, the remains of cave-paintings and carved stone monoliths in overgrown jungles, and the laws of the Bul .
There is not much information widely available about Palau, which is not part of a major continent, but rather in the middle of Oceania.
This isolation has kept Palau free from the ravishes of mass-tourism development, but the isolation has also kept away the wide scholarly study of artifacts from Palau's ancient and highly skilled traditional culture, dating back to 1000 BC.