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Flag of Kiribati
Location on the world map

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.

Selected article

NASA orbital photo of Caroline Island

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...)

Selected biography

Bureieta Karaiti is the general secretary of the Kiribati Protestant Church, the second-largest religious group in Kiribati.

In the news

From the Wikinews Kiribati category
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Additional news
  • Group of I-Kiribati youth head to New Zealand to work [1]
  • Two men arrested after unusual murder [2]
  • Air Kiribati to purchase two new planes [3]
  • I-Kiribati medical students perform well in Cuba [4]
  • Kiribati's new budget less than last years [5]


Selected picture

Kiritimati Island

Kiritimati is a Pacific atoll re-discovered by Captain James Cook on 24 December 1777, which explains its alternative name of Christmas Island. It has the largest land area of any coral atoll and is also the oldest surviving atoll. Between 1956 and 1962 the island was used by the United Kingdom and United States governments as a base for nuclear tests. Today the island is part of the Republic of Kiribati.

Photo credit: Crew of Mission 4, ISS, NASA

Did you know?

DYK Question Mark Right

... that Kiribati became the 186th member of the United Nations in 1999?

... that Kiritimati is the largest coral atoll in the world?

... that Caroline Island is the first place in the world to see the New Year?

... that Banaba is the only Kiribati island that is not an atoll?

... that the Gilbertese language has only 13 letters?

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