Kiribati is a nation of 33 islands spread over 3,500,000 km2 of the Pacific ocean. The bulk of the former British colony's more than 100,000 residents, or I-Kiribati, live on its capital atoll, Tarawa. The remaining Micronesians are scattered throughout Kiribati's other islands, chiefly in Tarawa's Gilbert group but also in the Line and Phoenix groups, with the latter archipelago only having one inhabited island, Kanton. Three islands are inhabited in the Line Islands; the largest in both size and population is Kiritimati. Discovered by Captain James Cook in 1777, it is the biggest coral atoll in the world. As Kiribati's economy is largely subsistence-based, it has one of the lowest gross domestic products in the world, yet its literacy rate is more than 90%. For cash transactions, I-Kiribati use the Australian dollar; the average income is about $2,000 a year. Typical jobs include working on coconut plantations, on foreign ships and in local businesses.
Caroline Island is the easternmost of the uninhabited coral atolls which comprise the southern Line Islands in the central Pacific Ocean. First sighted by Europeans in 1606, claimed by United Kingdom in 1868, and part of the Republic of Kiribati since the island nation's independence in 1979, Caroline Island has remained relatively untouched and is considered one of the world's most pristine tropical islands, despite guano mining, copra harvesting, and human habitation in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is home to one of the world's largest populations of the coconut crab and is an important breeding site for seabirds, most notably the Sooty Tern. The atoll is best known for its role in celebrations surrounding the arrival of the year 2000 – a 1995 realignment of the International Date Line made Caroline Island the easternmost land west of the Date Line and therefore one of the first points of land on earth to see sunrise in the year 2000. (More...)
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