Belau - Settlements

There are two types of settlements, relatively "rural" villages located on Babeldaob, Ngcheangel, Beliliou, and Ngeeur, and the relatively "urban" town of Koror. Starting in the nineteenth century, Belauans abandoned their inland villages and built new settlements closer to coastal harbors and alluvial streams. Koror was the center for nineteenth-century colonial trading operations, was later the headquarters of the Japanese-mandated Pacific islands, and is presently the home of most government offices, schools, retail shops, restaurants, and tourist facilities. Many Belauans maintain dual Residences in Koror and in their home villages, and some even commute by motorboat on a daily basis. Formerly, villages consisted of residential and meeting houses constructed of closely joined lumber, with thatched roofs, and elevated bamboo floors; today, tin roofs and concrete block foundations are favored in new construction. In many places on Babeldaob one can still detect the typical village layout, with meeting houses located on a central paved square, canoe houses and men's clubhouses standing near the shore or river, and residential houses fanning out along elevated stone walkways.

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