Explorers from Britain and America arrived in the 18th century, and settlement began around 1837. The Gilbert Islands (along with the Ellice Islands, which would later become Tuvalu) became a British protectorate in 1916. Later, other islands joined this union, including Christmas Island and the Phoenix Islands. The islands were used for military purposes and nuclear weapons testing, and served as the location of World War II battles during Japanese occupations of the island.
Kiribati and Tuvalu were granted sovereignty form Britain in 1971, separated from one another in 1975, and were renamed. Kiribati was declared independent with its new name in 1979. Climate change has caused Kiribati to begin to sink below sea level, and its residents were encouraged to move away from the islands.
Neighboring Countries :
As an island nation, Kiribati shares no land borders. However, nearby islands include Fiji, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Samoa, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, and Tonga.
- Major Cities
- Tarawa South (capital)
Kiribati is located along the equator and the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean. The Republic of Kiribati is made up of about 32 atolls and the raised coral island of Banaba (also called Ocean Island). The territory includes a few island groups: the Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands, and the Line Islands. The majority of the population lives on the 16 Gilbert Islands, but there are 21 inhabited islands in all. One of the Line Islands is Christmas Island, or Kiritimati, which is the largest atoll in the world.
The beaches are sandy and often pristine white, and there are lush forests on many of the islands. The island of Banaba is mostly sandy and was mined by the British colonists for its phosphate. The Phoenix Islands contains the world's largest marine protected area and features coral reefs.
Points of Interest :
The capital of Kiribati is on the island of Tarawa, which is the most populous part of the island nation. Near the capital, the island of Abaiang is a resort with gorgeous beaches, and a few historical buildings.
As a whole, the islands are not very developed. The positive side of this is that the natural beauty of the islands is generally undisturbed, without huge hotels towering over every beach. The downside of this is that the islands are fairly poor, and there are not many services for tourists, in general.
Tourists to Kiribati usually head to Christmas Island, or Kiritimati, which is known for being the first point on Earth to experience the dawning of a new day, for its position along the International Date Line. The island is a popular destination for New Year's celebrations for this reason. It is also a wildlife preserve, where many species of birds, fish, and sea turtles reside. Visitors enjoy fishing and scuba diving on the island.
Kiribati's Phoenix Islands were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their undisturbed natural sites, including the coral reefs, which are a habitat for many types of marine life, and many varieties of birds.
Kiribati has two international airports: Bonriki International in the capital, Tarawa, and Cassidy International in Banana on Kiritimati. Bonriki Airport offers flights to Fiji, Nauru, Solomon Islands, and Australia. Bonriki also has domestic flights to destinations around Kiribati. Cassidy International offers flights from Fiji and Hawaii.
Boats are a common way of getting around the islands and between them, with major ports in Banaba, Betio, English Harbor, and Kanton. There are paved roads on the islands, but there are no railways. Cars are available for rent on Sotuh Tarawa, and there are bus services available on Tarawa and Kiritimati.
Note : - Population: 2005-12-07 census
Kiribati Political map before March 9, 2016
Last Updated : March 9, 2016