Palau’s early history is still largely veiled in mystery. Why, how or when people arrived on our beautiful islands is unknown, but studies indicate that today’s Palauans are distant relatives of the Malays of Indonesia, Melanesians of New Guinea and Polynesians. As for the date of their arrivals, carbon dating of artifacts from the oldest known village sites on the Rock Islands and the spectacular terraces on Babeldaob place civilization here as early as 1,000 BC.
Palau and Britain’s relationship dates back to 1783, when East India Company’s packet ship ‘Antelope’ under the command of Captain Henry Wilson, was shipwrecked on a reef near Ulong, a Rock Island located between Koror and Peleliu, Palau. With the assistance of Koror’s High Chief Ibedul, Captain Wilson and his men stayed for three months to rebuild his ship. Palau’s Prince Lee Boo later went to England with Captain Wilson, where he fell to smallpox six months after their arrival and is buried at St. Mary’s Rotherhihte. The encounter precipitated a trading link resulting in an excellent historical relationship between United Kingdom and Palau. For those of you who are interested in knowing more about this historical journey, please view a Google digitised pdf Second Edition (1788) copy of ‘An Account of the Pelew Islands’ and weblink to a book ‘The Interesting History of Prince Lee Boo’ written at the time.