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State

Capital

Kiribati

Bairiki

former Gilbert Islands

Currency unit

AUS $

Connections

Banaba

Empire

Tuvalu

Western Pacific

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

History

Formerly a British protectorate from 1892 partly to outlaw slave trade to Central America.

An island Republic including the Gilbert Islands, most of the Line Islands and Phoenix Islands. Also Banaba (Ocean Island). These islands were settled by Austronesians before the first millennium AD. Some Fijians and Tongans arrived in 14th century but they have merged with pre-existing population.

Spaniards may have seen the islands in the 16th century. They were visited by the British in 1765, and 1788. The area became an important Sperm whaling fishery during early 19th century until 1870s. The first European settler arrived in 1837; the first missionary in 1857. They were made a British Protectorate in 1892. Banaba was annexed to produce phosphate in 1900. In 1916 they were made a crown colony. Phoenix islands were added in 1937 (after disputes with the US). Christmas Island (Kiritimati) was added 1919.

The Japanese occupied the islands from 1942-45. The extremely fierce Battle of Tarawa was fought in 1943 to drive the Japanese out.

In 1972 the Line Islands were added to the colony. In 1976 the Ellice islands separated to become Tuvalu. Independence came in 1979.

The islands are famous for the Book "A Pattern of Islands" by Sir Arthur Grimble, a former Governor of the Gilbert and Ellice islands Colony about his experiences in the early colonial period. He is especially interesting on the rituals associated with Dolphins.

Languages

I-Kiribati,

English.

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Politics

A locally elected government, with membership of the UN and the Commonwealth.

Interesting reading

A Pattern of Islands - Arthur Grimble

The account by a governor of the old school, sympathetic but a bit paternalistic.


 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Economics

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

 Climate

Green/Ecology

If global warming leads to a rise in sea level most of the country could be submerged with only centimeters rise. The state of the coral reefs gives reason for concern as they are being damaged by "bleaching" caused by unusually warm oceans.

It is believed the whole country will need to be evacuated by about 2050. Probably the people will go to New Zealand.

Member of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS)

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Climate

Human Rights

The Banabans, people from Banaba, formerly known as Ocean Island, have fought a long legal battle for compensation for the destruction of their island in the course of mining for phosphate which originated from bird droppings. When the mining ceased in 1979 the island was uninhabitable. Many of them settled on the island of Rabi in the Fijian group. They are now citizens of Kiribati and Fiji.

Climate effects

One degree
Rising sea level may make the agricultural land unusable

Two degrees
All the land will disappear under rising sea level. Corals damaged by bleaching and acidic water.

Last revised 17/05/09


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