Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by.
— Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963
EN
EN

Kiribati

Background

Kiribati

The Gilbert Islands became a British protectorate in 1892 and a colony in 1915; they were captured by the Japanese in the Pacific War in 1941. The islands of Makin and Tarawa were the sites of major US amphibious victories over entrenched Japanese garrisons in 1943. The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati.

About

Kiribati (pronounced Kiri-bass) is an island group in Micronesia straddling the equator and, until 1995, the International Date Line. Kiribati's 33 atolls, with a total area of only 811 km², are scattered over an area of 3.5 million km². Kiribati saw some of the worst fighting of the Pacific theatre during the Second World War, including the infamous Battle of Tarawa in November 1943.

Kiribati is most emphatically not another Tahiti, Hawaii, etc. where you can go to relax and have nothing to worry about. It has few visitors, and they have to be prepared to "rough it." That said, there aren't many countries where the people are more friendly.

South Tarawa is one of the most densely populated, severely poverty-stricken places in the world. Other islands have far fewer people, but getting to them can be difficult, and conditions are even more primitive. Most tourists, especially from the USA, go to Kiritimati (Christmas Island). It received some attention on January 1, 2000 as the first location in the world to experience the new millennium. Conditions there are somewhat better than in the rest of Kiribati.

Read more about Kiribati in our Kiribati travel guide »

Featured journals from

Kiribati

There's nothing here yet...

but you might be interested in journals from these countries:
Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, United States Minor Outlying Islands

Kiribati

Full name
Republic of Kiribati
Capital
South Tarawa
Location

Oceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about half way between Hawaii and Australia; note - on 1 January 1995, Kiribati proclaimed that all of its territory was in the same time zone as its Gilbert Islands group (UTC +12) even though the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands under its jurisdiction were on the other side of the International Date Line

Geographic coordinates

1 25 N, 173 00 E

Area comparative

four times the size of Washington, DC

Coastline

1,143 km

Climate

tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds

Terrain

mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs

Lowest point

Pacific Ocean 0 m

Highest point

unnamed elevation on Banaba 81 m

Natural resources

phosphate (production discontinued in 1979)

Population

99,482 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Micronesian 98.8%, other 1.2% (2000 census)

Religions

Roman Catholic 55%, Protestant 36%, Mormon 3.1%, Bahai 2.2%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.9%, other 1.8% (2005 census)

Languages

I-Kiribati, English (official)

Government type

republic

Independence

12 July 1979 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 12 July (1979)

Chief of state

President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President Teima ONORIO; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government

President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President Teima ONORIO

Internet country code

.ki

Internet users

7,800 (2009)

Airports

19 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Betio (Tarawa Atoll), Canton Island, English Harbor

Other countries in the region