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Called Pleasant Island by the European colonisers, Nauru is an island in the South Pacific. The island was first settled by Austronesian peoples around 1000 BCE. European contacts led to internecine tribal warfare which decimated the population. Nauru was annexed by the German Empire in 1888 but was occupied by Australia during World War I. In 1968, the Republic of Nauru became independent. Thanks to its enormous phosphate resources, Nauru was for some time the most developed third world country and one of the world's richest countries per capita. With the exhaustion of the phosphate reserves the country has fallen on economic hard times. Offshore banking, immigrant detention centres and musicals have proven unsuccessful to replace phosphate as source of income. Nauru is the world's third smallest country by size, second smallest by population. It is the smallest country in the Southern Hemisphere and the world's smallest republic.