Koror is a tribe from Survivor: Palau.
Regarded as the most dominant tribe in Survivor history, they are the first tribe to have conquered their rivals by winning every tribal Immunity Challenge, decimating the Ulong tribe and absorbing its last member, Stephenie LaGrossa, also giving them the distinction of being the only starting tribe to remain until Day 39. Their tribe color is brown.
The Dominant Tribe
Upon their formation following the Schoolyard Pick on Day 2, the Koror tribe was largely seen as the team of underdogs. Of its nine tribe members, only three (Gregg Carey, Katie Gallagher, and Ian Rosenberger) were under thirty. Two (Caryn Groedel and Tom Westman) were in their forties, and one (Willard Smith) was over fifty. This was a stark contrast to the much-younger Ulong tribe, in which seven of the tribe's nine castaways were in their twenties. In addition, the challenges on this particular season were largely physical, putting Koror at an apparent disadvantage.
Koror overcame the odds and was victorious at the first Immunity Challenge by strategically picking only the crate containing the flint and kindling. In effect, the win gave them the choice between staying back at the large communal camp created over the first two days, or leave for a new island. Under Tom's guidance, the tribe left for a new adventure on a new island. Much to their surprise and disgust, their new home was teeming with rats, which caused a rift between Caryn and Tom, who was annoyed with the hastily made decision. The tribe was also devastated when their outrigger canoe capsized on the way to their new camp, sending the crate carrying the flint they had won at the challenge to the ocean floor.
Koror rallied and ably recovered the flint, giving them the opportunity to make fire. The group settled into a comfortable dynamic, with Ian and Tom taking the roles of provider and leader, respectively. Ian, Tom, and their day one ally Katie held the majority of the power in the tribe, and quickly joined together with the dyad team of Gregg and Jenn Lyon to form the majority Koror Alliance. This "popular kids" alliance was viewed with scorn by the four outsiders; Coby Archa, in particular, held animosity toward the fivesome and specifically Tom, whom Coby felt had a condescending attitude.
Koror continued to win Immunity Challenges, and thus never faced the need to strategize or go to Tribal Council. This was a double-edged sword: while no one was vulnerable, many members of the tribe were eager to strategize and start eliminating potential threats or liabilities. It was also at this time that the relationship between Caryn and Katie fractured, with the pair becoming mutually annoyed with one another, and the bond between Gregg and Jenn strengthened and became romantic in nature. The couple also planned an exit strategy in order to betray the more powerful members of their alliance, plotting a secondary alliance with Coby and Janu Tornell.
On Day 9, Ian led the tribe to victory in a construction Reward Challenge. This earned Koror the reward of having the Survivor Production Team build them a top-of-the-line shelter, picnic table, and patio. By this point, their domination of Ulong had become total: they had been victorious in four straight Immunity Challenges, and they lived in luxury while Ulong existed in squalor. The Koror challenge team of Gregg, Ian, and Tom was seen as unbeatable and compensated for the weaker members of the tribe.
On Day 12, Koror was forced by necessity to go to Tribal Council for the first time when host Jeff Probst surprised the tribes by announcing a Double Tribal Council. Koror won the subsequent Reward Challenge, earning themselves a beef stew feast and the right to sit in on the losing Ulong's fifth Tribal Council. When called upon to vote, Koror unanimously eliminated Willard, who had resigned himself to his fate and was seen as a liability to the group. Before Ulong was to vote, the Koror tribe was allowed to select one member of the losing tribe to receive immunity. Koror voted, and the immunity was given to Ibrehem Rahman, the clear target on Ulong that night. Koror returned to camp, and Angie Jakusz was voted out of the game instead.
Koror continued along its path of luxury and victory, with Ian routinely bringing in giant clams and Tom capturing a shark by goring it with his machete. The alliance of five continued to run the show, against increasing resentment from Coby. Koror won the next three Immunity Challenges, eventually reducing Ulong to its last remaining member: Stephenie LaGrossa. On Day 22, Koror essentially conquered Ulong, and Stephenie was given Tree Mail telling her to go to Koror for the rest of the game.
On Day 22, Stephenie became a member of Koror. Reactions to her arrival were mixed: Jenn treated her frequent challenge rival coldly; Coby was eager to make friends with the new arrival and spill all of the tribe's secrets; and Ian, Katie, and Tom recalled an alliance that they had made with the former Ulong member on Day 2, before the tribes had been divided. Tom assured Stephenie that their alliance was still intact and that he would do his best to protect her. In celebration of the new tribe member, Koror was taught traditional Palauan fishing techniques and enjoyed a feast, during which Tom imbibed too much and became a staggering drunk.
The first individual Immunity Challenge took place on Day 23, which was a traditional perch endurance challenge. The challenge lasted just over three hours, with each member successively succumbing to temptation: Coby and Janu jumping first for donuts, followed by Gregg, Ian, Jenn, and Katie for milk and cookies, and Caryn and Stephenie for a pizza. This left Tom with the first individual immunity. At Tribal Council, the group voted for Coby, who had been increasingly hostile and alienating himself from the group, as well as clearly plotting with Stephenie, with only Janu, who voted against Stephenie, not being included in the plan.
Over the next several days, Janu—who had been morose and lethargic, laying in the hammock for most of the game—became increasingly frustrated with her tribe and especially Katie, whom she felt was rude and whose acerbic sense of humor Janu disliked. Janu came into conflict with the group several times but managed to pull herself together for a group Reward Challenge in which she, Caryn, Gregg, and Tom won a traditional Palauan feast. During the reward, Janu became ill and had to excuse herself from the table to vomit. This was viewed critically by the other members of the tribe, especially after Janu returned to camp and helped herself to leftovers meant for the rest of the tribe.
At the Day 26 Immunity Challenge, Jeff Probst announced that the castaway who quit the endurance challenge first would be sent to live on Exile Island on their own. Six minutes into the challenge, Janu panicked and dropped out. Tom won his second consecutive Immunity Challenge, and Janu was sent to live on her own. During her time on Exile Island, Janu came to an epiphany and returned with a more pragmatic view on the game. At Tribal Council, when it seemed like the tribe was ready to dismiss Stephenie, Janu quit the game in order to keep the former Ulong member alive, claiming she had already gotten the experience she came to receive. The incident was a subject of controversy, as many viewers felt that Jeff Probst had coerced Janu to quit the game.
Conscious that Stephenie would lean towards the offensive end after the previous night's near miss, Tom recruited Caryn as an informant in case Stephenie attempted to strike up a women's alliance. Sure enough, Stephenie attempted to align Caryn, Jenn, and Katie against the men. Caryn betrayed the secret pact to Tom, and the subject of the women's alliance was squashed. Ian won the next Immunity Challenge, and after dodging several bullets for thirty days, Stephenie's luck had finally run out. The last Ulong member was voted out of the game, 6-1.
The obvious odd man out of the still intact alliance of five, Caryn was desperate for an opportunity to advance in the game. That opportunity came at the Day 31 Reward Challenge, during which the members of the tribe were forced to correctly answer trivia questions and eliminate one another from the game. Caryn and Tom were quickly disposed of, and Katie betrayed her apparent best friend, Ian, to advance further in the challenge. Gregg won the challenge and chose Jenn and Katie to accompany him for a night of luxury on a yacht. This was taken by Ian and Tom as a sign that Katie was not as solid with them as they had suspected.
Upon returning to camp, Caryn, Ian, and Tom decided to blindside Gregg at the next Tribal Council. They would do this by having Caryn pretend to be resigned to her fate and then coercing Katie into voting along with them under the threat of a forced tie. Meanwhile, the reward winners were unaware of the scheme, plotting their own strategies on the yacht and receiving a surprise visit from their loved ones: Gregg's best friend Greg, Jenn's sister Kim, and Katie's brother-in-law Stan.
When Ian won the following Immunity Challenge, his, Caryn's, and Tom's plan was put into motion. With Gregg deceived by Caryn's dour routine, Ian cornered Katie before Tribal Council and told her the situation. Katie was adamantly against the plan, but unwilling to force a tie. In a 4-2 vote, Gregg was blindsided at Tribal Council, and Jenn was left to fend for herself.
Katie nursed feelings of betrayal following Gregg's elimination, which exploded when Ian won the Day 34 Reward Challenge and reneged on his promise to bring Katie along for the reward if he won, choosing Tom instead. This left Katie alone at camp with Caryn and Jenn, where she rekindled talk of a women's alliance. It was also revealed that Tom had made conflicting pacts with the women, promising Caryn a Final Two and Katie final three—a fact about which Jenn had no idea. When Ian and Tom returned to camp, the mood was icy.
Ian and Tom continued to alienate their allies: the former by waffling and giving non-committal answers to Caryn, and the latter by threatening and strong-arming Katie. Eager to patch things up with his allies, Ian took Katie on a walk down the beach, at which point the former friends had an emotional confrontation and tearfully reunited. Tom won immunity, foiling the women's plans and convincing Katie to rejoin her alliance. Annoyed with this turn of events, Caryn sounded off at Tribal Council, putting the men on edge. In spite of this last minute tactic to mix up the game, Caryn was voted out 4-1.
On Day 37, Ian entertained the idea of joining the women and voting out Tom, but the notion was quickly made unfeasible when Tom won the next Immunity Challenge. The stage seemed to be set for Jenn's departure, but when Ian slipped up and revealed that he had been planning to turn on Tom, the tribe dynamic changed. Following a tense Tribal Council, Jenn and Tom voted for Ian, while Ian and Katie cast their ballots for Jenn. Ian and Jenn faced off a fire-making tiebreaker, in which the former was victorious. Jenn became the sixth member of the jury.
Katie and Tom unloaded their frustrations on Ian back at camp, making Ian the tribe pariah and destroying the friendly bond the threesome had shared since the beginning of the game. Tensions continued to run high as they arrived at the Final Immunity Challenge, which had them standing uncomfortably on buoys in the middle of the ocean. Katie dropped out some five hours into the competition, but the heated rivalry between the two men pushed them for eleven hours and fifty-five minutes—the longest challenge in Survivor history.
Despite the harsh feelings between himself and Tom, Ian felt that in order to regain Katie and Tom's respect, as well as his own, he needed to sacrifice himself and allow Tom to take Katie to the Final Two. Tom agreed to this decision, and Ian jumped off the buoy. In deference to the late hour, Jeff Probst held an impromptu vote at the challenge site, where Tom verbally confirmed his vote. Ian became the final member of the jury.
Tom and Katie spent their last day at camp burning the shelter and picnic table before heading to the Final Tribal Council. Katie was largely eviscerated by the jury, with her lone vote coming from Coby with respect to her honest answers. Tom received votes from Ian, Jenn, Caryn, Gregg, Stephenie, and Janu, and was named the winner of Survivor: Palau in a 6-1 landslide.
- Koror is the first tribe to never lose an Immunity Challenge.
- At 38 days, Koror has the record for being the tribe with the longest existence, from the tribe's formation on Day 2 until the end of the game on Day 39.
- With no merge, Koror is the first (and currently only) starting tribe to remain existing until Day 39.
- In the opening credits of the show, Wanda Shirk is included as a member of Koror. This is most likely because if the Schoolyard Pick had continued, Koror's final choice would have been Wanda, the final female option.
- Koror briefly lived with Ulong following the Schoolyard Pick on Day 2 before taking the option to relocate to another camp after winning the first tribal Immunity Challenge.
- The Koror tribe actually lived on the island of Ulong. The island of Koror was used, among other things, as a camp for the production crew, as well as being the site of the final five reward trip. Koror's camp was later used by the Airai tribe in Micronesia.
- Koror is the first, and so far only, brown tribe in Survivor history.
- Koror was the second tribe to secure all but one spot on the jury, following the Rotu tribe in Marquesas. Six of the seven jurors came from the original Koror tribe, with the odd person out being Stephenie LaGrossa. They would be followed by the Timbira tribe in Tocantins and the Galu tribe in Samoa.
- Koror is the first tribe to reach the individual portion of the game with as many members as they possibly could have. The only member of Koror eliminated in the tribal stage was Willard Smith, who was voted out in a Double Tribal Council, where Koror had to vote somebody out because both tribes were required to go to Tribal Council. This would later be followed by Tandang in Philippines.
- One of the competing tribes in the second season of Survivor (Philippines) (local version) was also named Koror. But unlike the US version, where Koror is colored brown, its Philippine counterpart was colored green. Also, this Koror tribe was the opposite of its American counterpart when the game began, suffering a short losing streak before dominating later.
- At the time of filming, the capital city of Palau was still Koror until it was moved to Ngerulmud in 2006.