New president of Marshall Islands

Hilda Heine (image) has been elected as the president of the Marshall Islands. She is the nation’s first female president. Marshall Islands is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean just north of the equator. The country also lies just west of the International Date Line (IDL), which means that it sees the next day before most other nations in the world.

The IDL is an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that separates two consecutive calendar days. The IDL is mainly on the 180º line of longitude. The line is not straight. It has been bent in places to suit the various countries. If you travel across the line from the east to the west, you add a day (24 hours).

Majuro is the capital of the Marshall Islands. Marshallese and English are the official languages of the country. Marshall Islands gained its independence from the United States in 1986, and the two nations continue to have some special agreements. For example, the United States has full responsibility for the defense of the Marshall Islands and also provides financial assistance to the nation. The United States military has permission to use several of the country’s islands.

Did you know?

In 1952, the United States tested a bomb (codenamed Ivy Mike) on the island of Elugelab, Marshall Islands. The bomb blast was so powerful that the island was wiped out and a massive crater was left behind.

Image Credits: US Embassy in Majuro for the image of Heine
Sources:,, CIA World Factbook