Kiribati, officially the Republic of Kiribati, is a sovereign state in Micronesia in the central Pacific Ocean. The permanent population is just over 110,000, more than half of whom live on Tarawa Atoll. The state comprises 32 atolls and reef islands and one raised coral island, Banaba.

An unnamed point on the island of Banaba at 265 feet (81 m), Kiribati is an island nation located Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. It is made up of 32 island atolls and one small coral island that are spread out over millions of miles or kilometers. The country itself however has only 313 square miles (811 sq km) of area. Kiribati is also along the International Date Line on its easternmost islands and it straddles the Earth’s equator. Because it is on the International Date Line, the country had the line shifted in 1995 so that all of its islands could experience the same day at the same time.

Key Cities

Key cities in Kiribati include: Tarawa, Betio, Bikenibeu, Teaoraerke, and Bairiki

Historical, Cultural facts & Religion

The first settlers in the Gilbert Islands and Banaba came from Southeast Asia, by way of Micronesia, some 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. About the 14th century CE the southern islands received an influx of Samoans, and soon thereafter the islanders adopted a gerontocratic style of government (i.e., based on rule by elders). The Line and Phoenix islands had no prehistoric population.

Spanish explorers sighted some of the islands in the 16th century, but most of Kiribati was not charted until the early 19th century when first whalers and then coconut oil traders reached the islands. From the mid-19th century, Gilbert Islanders were recruited to work on plantations elsewhere in the region.

The Gilbert Islands became a British protectorate in 1892, and Banaba was annexed in 1900 after the discovery of its rich phosphate deposits. Both were linked with the Ellice Islands (now Tuvalu) as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony from 1916; the colony subsequently was extended to include most of the Phoenix and Line island groups and, for a time, Tokelau. The administration was through island governments, which sometimes became enmeshed in sectarian rivalries between Roman Catholics and Protestants. As a response to drought and perceived overpopulation in the 1930s, a resettlement plan was initiated for the Phoenix Islands; under a later plan, other islanders were resettled in the Solomon Islands.

The culture of Kiribati includes its: social beliefs and customs, religions and festivals, music and dance, literature and arts, and cuisine. The religion was introduced to the island nation in the 19th century by the Christian missionaries. 56% of the country’s population are Roman Catholics and are primarily concentrated in the islands to the north.

Brief Country History

The present inhabitants are descended mainly from Samoans who migrated to Kiribati at some time between the 11th and 14th centuries. Traces of later contact with other Pacific Islanders and a Chinese influence remain in the population and culture. The social structure was diverse, chiefs ruling in the northern islands and councils of elders having authority in the south.

The islands were sighted by 16th-century Spanish seamen, but the settlement was not attempted, and Europeans did not arrive in any numbers until after 1765. Between the late 18th century and 1870, the waters of Kiribati were used by European sperm-whaling ships; deserters from the ships sometimes settled on the islands. Trade-in coconut oil began about 1860, followed by trade in copra. By the second half of the 19th century, about 9,000 Kiribati people were working overseas, thanks to energetic labor recruitment.

Christian missionaries first arrived in the northern Gilberts in 1857. In 1870 Samoan clergy, sponsored by the London Missionary Society, arrived at Arorae, Tamara, Onotoa and Beru. In 1888 Roman Catholic missionaries arrived in the Gilberts, which are today predominantly Roman Catholic.

In 1892 a British protectorate was proclaimed at Abemama by Captain Davis of HMS Royalist on behalf of Queen Victoria. The headquarters were established at Tarawa, district magistrates were assigned to the islands and a code of law was drawn up. Phosphate-rich Banaba (Ocean Island) was annexed by Britain in 1900. In 1915, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands were annexed by a British order in council which came into effect on 12 January 1916.

The Japanese army occupied the Gilbert Islands (1942–43) until driven out by the US army in some of the Pacific War’s fiercest fighting. In 1957 three hydrogen bombs were detonated in the vicinity of Kiritimati, as part of the UK’s atmospheric testing program.

Language (s) Written & Spoken

The most widely spoken language throughout this country is Taetae ni Kiribati, also known as Gilbertese. This language belongs to the Austronesian language family. While several people in Kiribati speak Kiribati, also known as Gilbertese, the official language in the country is English.

Important Types of Commerce in Kiribati

The Micronesian nation of Kiribati is considered one of the poorest countries in the region. In 2017, the Kiribati gross domestic product was $196.2 million while it’s per capita gross domestic product was $1,685. Kiribati has limited natural resources of great economic significance such as arable land, fish and phosphates. Despite the limited natural resources in Kiribati, the government has put in place several measures to grow the country’s economy.

Language Services US and others will provide working with Kiribati

English is the official language of Kiribati along with native Kiribati. The translation should be chosen depends upon the business requirements to ensure industry-specific terminology is correctly translated, and you receive professional, accurate and well-informed interpretation every time. Professional Kiribati translation requirement can be both general and specialized, including technical, medical and scientific topics, specialized in different areas of the economy, law, medicine, science and technology.

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