Kiribati

Kiribati

Overview
Kiribati officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation
Island nation
An island country is a state whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 2011, 47 of the 193 UN member states are island countries.-Politics:...

 located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. The permanent population exceeds just over 100,000 (2011), and is composed of 32 atolls  and one raised coral
Raised coral atoll
A raised coral atoll is a typical atoll which has been lifted high enough above sea level by tectonic forces to protect it from scouring by storms and enable soils and diverse – often endemic – species of flora and fauna to develop...

 island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, (1,351,000 square miles) straddling the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

, and bordering the International Date Line
International Date Line
The International Date Line is a generally north-south imaginary line on the surface of the Earth, passing through the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that designates the place where each calendar day begins...

 at its easternmost point.

The name Kiribati is the local pronunciation of "Gilberts", derived from the main island chain, the Gilbert Islands
Gilbert Islands
The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of Republic of Kiribati and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.-Geography:The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands...

.
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Encyclopedia
Kiribati officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation
Island nation
An island country is a state whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 2011, 47 of the 193 UN member states are island countries.-Politics:...

 located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. The permanent population exceeds just over 100,000 (2011), and is composed of 32 atolls  and one raised coral
Raised coral atoll
A raised coral atoll is a typical atoll which has been lifted high enough above sea level by tectonic forces to protect it from scouring by storms and enable soils and diverse – often endemic – species of flora and fauna to develop...

 island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, (1,351,000 square miles) straddling the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

, and bordering the International Date Line
International Date Line
The International Date Line is a generally north-south imaginary line on the surface of the Earth, passing through the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that designates the place where each calendar day begins...

 at its easternmost point.

The name Kiribati is the local pronunciation of "Gilberts", derived from the main island chain, the Gilbert Islands
Gilbert Islands
The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of Republic of Kiribati and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.-Geography:The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands...

. The capital of South Tarawa
South Tarawa
South Tarawa is the official capital of the Republic of Kiribati on Tarawa Atoll. The meaning of Teinainano is "down of the mast", alluding to the sail-shape of the atoll...

 consists of a number of islets connected through a series of causeways, located in the Tarawa archipelago. Kiribati became independent from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1979. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, the IMF
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 and the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, and became a full member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in 1999.

Etymology


Kiribati was named in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 by captains Krusenstern
Adam Johann von Krusenstern
Adam Johann Ritter von Krusenstern , was an admiral and explorer, who led the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe.- Life :...

 and Louis Isidore Duperrey
Louis Isidore Duperrey
Louis Isidore Duperrey was a French sailor and explorer.Duperrey joined the navy in 1800, and served as marine hydrologist to Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet aboard the Uranie...

 "îles Gilbert", Gilbert Islands, after the British Captain Thomas Gilbert
Thomas Gilbert (captain)
Thomas Gilbert was an 18th century British mariner.Thomas Gilbert and John Marshall were the captains of two East India Company vessels, the Charlotte and the Scarborough, returning from carrying convicts to Botany Bay in 1788, when they sailed through the Gilbert Islands and described Aranuka,...

, who sighted the islands in 1788. The current name, Kiribati, is an adaptation of "Gilberts", from the former European name the "Gilbert Islands". Although the indigenous Gilbertese language
Gilbertese language
-External links:**** with Gilbertese – English Translations from – The Rosetta Edition**...

 name for the Gilbert Islands proper is Tungaru, the new state chose the name "Kiribati", the Gilbertese rendition of "Gilberts", as an equivalent of the former colony to acknowledge the inclusion of islands which were never considered part of the Gilberts chain.

History





Early history


The area now called Kiribati has been inhabited by Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

ns speaking the same Oceanic language since sometime between 3000 BC and AD 1300. The area was not isolated; invaders from Tonga
Tonga
Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

, Samoa
Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

, and Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 later introduced Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

n and Melanesia
Melanesia
Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending from the western end of the Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji. The region comprises most of the islands immediately north and northeast of Australia...

n cultural aspects, respectively. Intermarriage tended to blur cultural differences and resulted in a significant degree of cultural homogenisation.

Colonial era


The islands were first sighted by British and American ships in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The main island chain was named the Gilbert Islands
Gilbert Islands
The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of Republic of Kiribati and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.-Geography:The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands...

 in 1820 by a Russian admiral, Adam von Krusenstern
Adam Johann von Krusenstern
Adam Johann Ritter von Krusenstern , was an admiral and explorer, who led the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe.- Life :...

, and French captain Louis Duperrey
Louis Isidore Duperrey
Louis Isidore Duperrey was a French sailor and explorer.Duperrey joined the navy in 1800, and served as marine hydrologist to Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet aboard the Uranie...

, after a British captain named Thomas Gilbert
Thomas Gilbert (captain)
Thomas Gilbert was an 18th century British mariner.Thomas Gilbert and John Marshall were the captains of two East India Company vessels, the Charlotte and the Scarborough, returning from carrying convicts to Botany Bay in 1788, when they sailed through the Gilbert Islands and described Aranuka,...

, who crossed the archipelago in 1788 when sailing from Australia to China.

From the early 19th century, Western whalers, merchant vessels and slave traders visited the islands, introducing diseases and firearms. The first British settlers arrived in 1837. In 1892 the Gilbert Islands consented to become a British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 protectorate together with the nearby Ellice Islands. They were administered by the Western Pacific High Commission based in Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

. Together they became the crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

 of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands
Gilbert and Ellice Islands
The Gilbert and Ellice Islands were a British protectorate from 1892 and colony from 1916 until 1 January 1976, when the islands were divided into two different colonies which became independent nations shortly after...

 in 1916. Christmas Island (or Kiritimati
Kiritimati
Kiritimati or Christmas Island is a Pacific Ocean raised coral atoll in the northern Line Islands, and part of the Republic of Kiribati....

) became part of the colony in 1919 and the Phoenix Islands
Phoenix Islands
The Phoenix Islands are a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs, lying in the central Pacific Ocean east of the Gilbert Islands and west of the Line Islands. They are a part of the Republic of Kiribati. During the late 1930s they became the site of the last attempted colonial...

 were added in 1937. Sir Arthur Grimble
Arthur Grimble
Sir Arthur Francis Grimble was a British Civil Servant and writer.After joining the Colonial Office, he became a cadet administrative officer in the Gilberts and became Resident Commissioner of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony in 1926.Specialist in the myths and oral traditions of Kiribati...

 was a cadet administrative officer based at Tarawa (1913-1919) and became Resident Commissioner of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony in 1926.

Tarawa Atoll
Tarawa Atoll
Tarawa is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, previously the capital of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It is the location of the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, South Tarawa...

 and others of the Gilbert group were occupied by Japan during World War II. Tarawa was the site of one of the bloodiest battles in US Marine Corps history. Marines landed in November 1943; the Battle of Tarawa
Battle of Tarawa
The Battle of Tarawa, code named Operation Galvanic, was a battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, largely fought from November 20 to November 23, 1943. It was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region....

 was fought at Kiribati's former capital Betio
Betio
Betio is an island and a town at the extreme southwest of South Tarawa in Kiribati. The main port of Tarawa Atoll is located there.-Overview:...

 on Tarawa Atoll.

Some of the islands of Kiribati, especially in the remote Line Islands
Line Islands
The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands, that stretches for 2,350 km in a northwest-southeast direction, making it one of the longest islands chains of the world...

, were formerly used by the United States and United Kingdom for nuclear weapons testing including hydrogen bombs in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Independence to present day


The Gilbert and Ellice Islands gained self-rule in 1971, and were separated in 1975 and granted internal self-government by Britain. In 1978 the Ellice Islands became the independent nation of Tuvalu
Tuvalu
Tuvalu , formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls...

. The Gilbert Islands became independent as Kiribati on 12 July 1979. Although the indigenous Gilbertese language
Gilbertese language
-External links:**** with Gilbertese – English Translations from – The Rosetta Edition**...

 name for the Gilbert Islands proper is "Tungaru", the new state chose the name "Kiribati", the Gilbertese rendition of "Gilberts", as an equivalent of the former colony to acknowledge the inclusion of Banaba
Banaba Island
Banaba Island , an island in the Pacific Ocean, is a solitary raised coral island west of the Gilbert Island chain and 300 km east of Nauru. It is part of the Republic of Kiribati. It has an area of 6.5 km², and the highest point on the island is also the highest point in Kiribati, at 81...

, the Line Islands
Line Islands
The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands, that stretches for 2,350 km in a northwest-southeast direction, making it one of the longest islands chains of the world...

, and the Phoenix Islands
Phoenix Islands
The Phoenix Islands are a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs, lying in the central Pacific Ocean east of the Gilbert Islands and west of the Line Islands. They are a part of the Republic of Kiribati. During the late 1930s they became the site of the last attempted colonial...

, which were never considered part of the Gilberts chain. In the Treaty of Tarawa
Treaty of Tarawa
On September 20, 1979, representatives of the newly independent Republic of Kiribati and of the United States met in Tarawa to sign a treaty of friendship between the two nations, known as the Treaty of Tarawa. In this treaty, the U.S. acknowledged Kiribati sovereignty over fourteen islands...

, signed shortly after independence and ratified in 1983, the United States relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix Islands and those of the Line Islands that are part of Kiribati territory.

Overcrowding has been a problem. In 1988 it was announced that 4,700 residents of the main island group would be resettled onto less-populated islands. Teburoro Tito
Teburoro Tito
Teburoro Tito was the President and foreign minister of Kiribati from October 1, 1994 to March 28, 2003. He was elected for the first time in 1994. He was reelected in 1998 with 52% of the vote. His main opponent was Harry Tong, who later ran against his brother, current President Anote Tong...

 was elected president in 1994. Kiribati's 1995 act of moving the international date line
International Date Line
The International Date Line is a generally north-south imaginary line on the surface of the Earth, passing through the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that designates the place where each calendar day begins...

 far to the east to encompass the Line Islands group, so that it would no longer be divided by the date line, courted controversy. The move, which fulfilled one of President Tito's campaign promises, was intended to allow businesses all across the expansive nation to keep the same business week. This also enabled Kiribati to become the first country to see the dawn of the third millennium
Millennium
A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years —from the Latin phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system....

, an event of significance for tourism. Tito was reelected in 1998. Kiribati gained UN membership in 1999.

In 2002 Kiribati passed a controversial law enabling the government to shut down newspapers. The legislation followed the launching of Kiribati's first successful nongovernment-run newspaper. President Tito was reelected in 2003, but was removed from office in March 2003 by a no-confidence vote and replaced by a Council of State. Anote Tong
Anote Tong
Anote Tong is an I-Kiribati politician with Chinese heritage. He is the current President of Kiribati. He won the election in July 2003 with a slim plurality of votes cast against his brother, Dr. Harry Tong and the private lawyer Banuera Berina...

 of the opposition party Boutokaan Te Koaua was elected to succeed Tito in July 2003. He was re-elected in 2007.

In the summer of 2008, Kiribati officials asked Australia and New Zealand to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugees. Kiribati is expected to be the first country in which all land territory disappears due to global climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

. In June 2008, the Kiribati president Anote Tong
Anote Tong
Anote Tong is an I-Kiribati politician with Chinese heritage. He is the current President of Kiribati. He won the election in July 2003 with a slim plurality of votes cast against his brother, Dr. Harry Tong and the private lawyer Banuera Berina...

 said that the country has reached "the point of no return"; he added: "To plan for the day when you no longer have a country is indeed painful but I think we have to do that."

Politics


The Kiribati Constitution, promulgated 12 July 1979, provides for free and open elections. The executive branch consists of a president (te Beretitenti), a vice president and a cabinet (the president is also chief of the cabinet and has to be an MP). Under the constitution, the president, nominated from among the elected legislators, is limited to three 4-year terms. The cabinet is composed of the president, vice president and 10 ministers (appointed by the president) who are members of the House of Assembly.

The legislative branch is the unicameral Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (House of Assembly). It has elected members, including by constitutional mandate a representative of the Banaban people in Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 (Banaba Island, former Ocean Island), in addition to the attorney general, who serves as an ex-officio member. Legislators serve for a four-year term.

The constitutional provisions governing administration of justice are similar to those in other former British possessions in that the judiciary is free from governmental interference. The judicial branch is made up of the High Court (in Betio) and the Court of Appeal. The president appoints the presiding judges.

Local government is through island councils with elected members. Local affairs are handled in a manner similar to town meetings in colonial America. Island councils make their own estimates of revenue and expenditure and generally are free from central government controls.

Kiribati has formal political parties but their organisation is quite informal. Ad hoc opposition groups tend to coalesce around specific issues. Today the only recognisable parties are the Boutokaan te Koaua Party, Maneaban te Mauri Party, Maurin Kiribati Party and Tabomoa Party. There is universal suffrage at age 18.

In government terms, Kiribati has a police force
Law enforcement in Kiribati
The only State disciplined forces in Kiribati are a unified national police force, with prison and quarantine powers, and the coast guard. Defense assistance is provided by Australia and New Zealand....

, which carries out law enforcement functions and paramilitary duties, and which has small police posts on all islands, but no military. The police have one patrol boat.

Island groups



Kiribati was formally divided into districts until its independence. The country is now divided into three island groups which have no administrative function, including a group which unites the Line Islands and the Phoenix Islands (ministry at London, Christmas). Each inhabited island has its own council (three councils on Tarawa: Betio
Betio
Betio is an island and a town at the extreme southwest of South Tarawa in Kiribati. The main port of Tarawa Atoll is located there.-Overview:...

, South-Tarawa, North-Tarawa; two councils on Tabiteuea
Tabiteuea
Tabiteuea is an atoll in the Gilbert Islands, Kiribati, south of Tarawa. The atoll consists of two main islands: Eanikai in the north, Nuguti in the south, and several smaller islets in between along the eastern rim of the atoll. The atoll has a total land area of 38 km², while the lagoon measures...

).
The original districts used to be:
  • Banaba
    Banaba Island
    Banaba Island , an island in the Pacific Ocean, is a solitary raised coral island west of the Gilbert Island chain and 300 km east of Nauru. It is part of the Republic of Kiribati. It has an area of 6.5 km², and the highest point on the island is also the highest point in Kiribati, at 81...

  • Tarawa Atoll
    Tarawa Atoll
    Tarawa is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, previously the capital of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It is the location of the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, South Tarawa...

  • Northern Gilbert Islands
    Northern Gilbert Islands
    The Northern Gilberts geographically and traditionally encompass Makin, Butaritari, Marakei, Abaiang and Tarawa...

  • Central Gilbert Island
    Central Gilbert Island
    The Central Gilberts or nuka have traditionally included Maiana, Abemama, Kuria and Aranuka. However, the latter three are considered the main islands that have unique historical and cultural characteristics which distinguish the Central Gilberts from the north and south.The Central Gilberts as...

  • Southern Gilbert Islands
    South Gilbert Islands
    The Southern Gilberts include the atolls of Nonouti, South and North Tabiteuea, Beru, Nikunau, Onotoa, Tamana and the most southerly island of Arorae....

  • Line Islands
    Line Islands
    The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands, that stretches for 2,350 km in a northwest-southeast direction, making it one of the longest islands chains of the world...



The island groups include:
  • Gilbert Islands
    Gilbert Islands
    The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of Republic of Kiribati and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.-Geography:The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands...

  • Phoenix Islands
    Phoenix Islands
    The Phoenix Islands are a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs, lying in the central Pacific Ocean east of the Gilbert Islands and west of the Line Islands. They are a part of the Republic of Kiribati. During the late 1930s they became the site of the last attempted colonial...

    , the second largest protected marine reserve
    Marine reserve
    For the United States Marine Corps Reserve see: Marine Forces ReserveA marine reserve is an area of the sea which has legal protection against fishing or development. This is to be distinguished from a marine park, but there is some overlap in usage...

     in the world since the establishment of the Chagos Archipelago
    Chagos Archipelago
    The Chagos Archipelago , is a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean; situated some due south of the Maldives archipelago. This chain of islands are the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge a long submarine mountain range...

     as a marine reserve.
  • Line Islands
    Line Islands
    The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands, that stretches for 2,350 km in a northwest-southeast direction, making it one of the longest islands chains of the world...



Four of the former districts (including Tarawa) lie in the Gilbert Islands
Gilbert Islands
The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of Republic of Kiribati and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.-Geography:The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands...

, where most of the country's population lives. Five of the Line Islands
Line Islands
The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands, that stretches for 2,350 km in a northwest-southeast direction, making it one of the longest islands chains of the world...

 are uninhabited (Malden Island
Malden Island
Malden Island, sometimes called Independence Island in the nineteenth century, is a low, arid, uninhabited island in the central Pacific Ocean, about in area...

, Starbuck Island
Starbuck Island
Starbuck Island is an uninhabited coral atoll in the central Pacific, and is part of the Central Line Islands of Kiribati...

, Caroline Island
Caroline Island
Caroline Island or Caroline Atoll , is the easternmost of the uninhabited coral atolls which comprise the southern Line Islands in the central Pacific Ocean....

, Vostok Island
Vostok Island
Vostok Island also known as Staver Island, is an uninhabited coral island in the central Pacific Ocean, part of the Line Islands belonging to Kiribati...

 and Flint Island
Flint Island
Flint Island is an uninhabited coral atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, part of the Southern Line Islands under the jurisdiction of Kiribati.-Geography:...

). The Phoenix Islands
Phoenix Islands
The Phoenix Islands are a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs, lying in the central Pacific Ocean east of the Gilbert Islands and west of the Line Islands. They are a part of the Republic of Kiribati. During the late 1930s they became the site of the last attempted colonial...

 are uninhabited except for Kanton
Kanton Island
Kanton Island , alternatively known as "Mary Island", "Mary Balcout's Island" or "Swallow Island", is the largest, northernmost, and as of 2007, the sole inhabited island of the Phoenix Islands, in the Republic of Kiribati. It is an atoll located in the South Pacific Ocean roughly halfway between...

, and have no representation. Banaba itself is sparsely inhabited now. There is also a non-elected representative of the Banabans on Rabi Island
Rabi Island
Rabi is a volcanic island in northern Fiji. It is an outlier to Taveuni , in the Vanua Levu Group. It covers an area of 66.3 square kilometers, reaching a maximum altitude of 463 meters and has a shoreline of 46.2 kilometers...

 in Fiji. Each of the 21 inhabited islands has a local council that takes care of the daily affairs. Tarawa Atoll
Tarawa Atoll
Tarawa is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, previously the capital of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It is the location of the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, South Tarawa...

 has three councils: Betio Town Council, Te Inainano Urban Council (for the rest of South Tarawa
South Tarawa
South Tarawa is the official capital of the Republic of Kiribati on Tarawa Atoll. The meaning of Teinainano is "down of the mast", alluding to the sail-shape of the atoll...

) and Eutan Tarawa Council (for North Tarawa).

Foreign relations


Kiribati was admitted as the 186th member of the United Nations in September 1999.

Regional relations


Kiribati maintains cordial relations with most countries and has close relations with its Pacific neighbours, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, which provide the majority of the country's foreign aid. Taiwan
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 and Japan also have specified-period licences to fish in Kiribati's waters.

In November 1999 it was announced that Japan's National Space Development Agency planned to lease land on Kiritimati
Kiritimati
Kiritimati or Christmas Island is a Pacific Ocean raised coral atoll in the northern Line Islands, and part of the Republic of Kiribati....

 (Christmas Island) for 20 years, on which to build a spaceport
Spaceport
A spaceport or cosmodrome is a site for launching spacecraft, by analogy with seaport for ships or airport for aircraft. The word spaceport, and even more so cosmodrome, has traditionally been used for sites capable of launching spacecraft into orbit around Earth or on interplanetary trajectories...

. The agreement stipulated that Japan was to pay US$840,000 per year and would also pay for any damage to roads and the environment. A Japanese-built downrange tracking station operates on Kiritimati and an abandoned airfield on the island was designated as the landing strip for a proposed reusable unmanned space shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 called HOPE-X
HOPE-X
HOPE was a Japanese experimental spaceplane project designed by a partnership between NASDA and NAL , started in the 1980s. It was positioned for most of its lifetime as one of the main Japanese contributions to the International Space Station, the other being the Japanese Experiment Module...

. HOPE-X, however, was eventually cancelled by Japan in 2003.

International relations of climate change


As one of the world's most vulnerable nations in terms of the effects of climate change, Kiribati has been an active participant in international diplomatic efforts relating to climate change, most importantly the UNFCCC conferences of the parties (COP). Kiribati is a member of the Alliance of Small Island States
Alliance of Small Island States
Alliance of Small Island States is an intergovernmental organization of low-lying coastal and small Island countries. Established in 1990, the main purpose of the alliance is to consolidate the voices of Small Island Developing States to address global warming...

 (AOSIS), an intergovernmental organization of low-lying coastal and small Island countries. Established in 1990, the main purpose of the alliance is to consolidate the voices of Small Island Developing States
Small Island Developing States
Small Island Developing States are low-lying coastal countries that tend to share similar sustainable development challenges, including small but growing populations, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, excessive dependence on...

 (SIDS) to address global warming. AOSIS has been very active from its inception, putting forward the first draft text in the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

 negotiations as early as 1994.

In 2009 President Tong attended the Climate Vulnerable Forum
Climate Vulnerable Forum
The Climate Vulnerable Forum is a global partnership of countries disproportionately affected by the consequences of global warming as a result of heightened socio-economic and environmental vulnerabilities that actively seek a firm and urgent resolution to a current intensification of climate...

 (V11
Climate Vulnerable Forum
The Climate Vulnerable Forum is a global partnership of countries disproportionately affected by the consequences of global warming as a result of heightened socio-economic and environmental vulnerabilities that actively seek a firm and urgent resolution to a current intensification of climate...

) in the Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

, along with 10 other countries that are vulnerable to climate-change, and signed the Bandos Island declaration on Nov. 10 2009, pledging to show moral leadership and commence greening their economies by voluntarily committing to achieving carbon neutrality. In November 2010, Kiribati hosted the Tarawa Climate Change Conference
Tarawa Climate Change Conference
The Tarawa Climate Change Conference , was held in the Republic of Kiribati from 9 to 10 November 2010. The purpose of the conference was to support the initiative of the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, to hold a consultative forum between vulnerable states and their partners with a view of...

 (TCCC), the purpose of which was to support the initiative of the President of Kiribati to hold a consultative forum between vulnerable states and their partners with a view of creating an enabling environment for multi-party negotiations under the auspices of the UNFCCC. The conference was a successor event to the Climate Vulnerable Forum. The ultimate objective of TCCC was to reduce the number and intensity of various fault lines between parties to the COP process, explore elements of agreement between the parties and thereby to support Kiribati's and other parties' contribution to COP16 held in Cancun
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, from 29 November to 10 December 2010.

Geography



Kiribati consists of about 32 atolls and one solitary island (Banaba), extending into both the eastern and western hemispheres. The groups of islands are:
  • Banaba
    Banaba Island
    Banaba Island , an island in the Pacific Ocean, is a solitary raised coral island west of the Gilbert Island chain and 300 km east of Nauru. It is part of the Republic of Kiribati. It has an area of 6.5 km², and the highest point on the island is also the highest point in Kiribati, at 81...

    : an isolated island between Nauru
    Nauru
    Nauru , officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest republic, covering just...

     and the Gilbert Islands
  • Gilbert Islands
    Gilbert Islands
    The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of Republic of Kiribati and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.-Geography:The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands...

    : 16 atolls located some 1500 kilometres (932 mi) north of Fiji
    Fiji
    Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

  • Phoenix Islands
    Phoenix Islands
    The Phoenix Islands are a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs, lying in the central Pacific Ocean east of the Gilbert Islands and west of the Line Islands. They are a part of the Republic of Kiribati. During the late 1930s they became the site of the last attempted colonial...

    : 8 atolls and coral islands located some 1800 kilometres (1,118 mi) southeast of the Gilberts
  • Line Islands
    Line Islands
    The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands, that stretches for 2,350 km in a northwest-southeast direction, making it one of the longest islands chains of the world...

    : 8 atolls and one reef, located about 3300 kilometres (2,051 mi) east of the Gilberts


Banaba (or Ocean Island) is a raised-coral island which was once a rich source of phosphates, but it was mostly mined out before independence. The rest of the land in Kiribati consists of the sand and reef rock islets of atolls or coral islands which rise but a few metres (half a dozen feet or so) above sea level.

The soil is thin and calcareous
Calcareous
Calcareous is an adjective meaning mostly or partly composed of calcium carbonate, in other words, containing lime or being chalky. The term is used in a wide variety of scientific disciplines.-In zoology:...

, making agriculture very difficult.

Kiritimati
Kiritimati
Kiritimati or Christmas Island is a Pacific Ocean raised coral atoll in the northern Line Islands, and part of the Republic of Kiribati....

 (Christmas Island) in the Line Islands is the world's largest atoll. Based on a 1995 realignment of the International Date Line
International Date Line
The International Date Line is a generally north-south imaginary line on the surface of the Earth, passing through the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that designates the place where each calendar day begins...

, Kiribati is now the easternmost country in the world, and the Line Islands
Line Islands
The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands, that stretches for 2,350 km in a northwest-southeast direction, making it one of the longest islands chains of the world...

 are the first area to enter into a new year, including year 2000. For that reason, Caroline Island
Caroline Island
Caroline Island or Caroline Atoll , is the easternmost of the uninhabited coral atolls which comprise the southern Line Islands in the central Pacific Ocean....

 has been renamed Millennium Island. The majority of Kiribati, including the capital, is not first, for example New Zealand (UTC+13 in January) has an earlier new year.

According to the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
Pacific Regional Environment Programme
The Pacific Regional Environment Programme is an intergovernmental organisation charged with promoting cooperation, supporting protection and improvement of the Pacific islands environment, and ensuring its sustainable development...

(previously South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)), two small uninhabited Kiribati islets, Tebua Tarawa and Abanuea, disappeared underwater in 1999. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 predicts that sea levels will rise by about half a metre (20 in) by 2100 due to global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 and a further rise would be inevitable. It is thus likely that within a century the nation's arable land will become subject to increased soil salination
Soil salination
Soil salinity is the salt content in the soil.- Causes of soil salinity :Salt-affected soils are caused by excess accumulation of salts, typically most pronounced at the soil surface. Salts can be transported to the soil surface by capillary transport from a salt laden water table and then...

 and will be largely submerged.

However, sea-level rise may not necessarily mean Kiribati will be inundated. Paul Kench at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and Arthur Webb at the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji released a study in 2010 on the dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise in the central Pacific. Kiribati was mentioned in the study, and Webb and Kench found that the three major urbanised islands in Kiribati - Betio, Bairiki and Nanikai - increased by 30 per cent (36 hectares), 16.3 per cent (5.8 hectares) and 12.5 per cent (0.8 hectares), respectively.

The Kiribati Adaptation Program
Kiribati Adaptation Program
The Kiribati Adaptation Program is a US $5.5 million initiative that was originally enacted by the national government of Kiribati with the support of the Global Environment Facility , the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the Japanese Government. Australia later joined the...

 (KAP) is a US $5.5 million initiative that was originally enacted by the national government of Kiribati with the support of the Global Environment Facility
Global Environment Facility
The Global Environment Facility unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues....

 (GEF), the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, the United Nations Development Program, and the Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese Government. Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 later joined the coalition, donating US $1.5 million to the effort. The program aims to take place over 6 years, supporting measures that reduce Kiribati’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 and sea level rise by raising awareness of climate change, assessing and protecting available water resources, and managing inundation. At the start of the Adaptation Program, representatives from each of the inhabited atolls identified key climatic changes that had taken place over the past 20-40 years, and proposed coping mechanisms to deal with these changes under 4 categories of urgency of need. The program is now focusing on the country’s most vulnerable sectors in the most highly populated areas. Initiatives include improving water supply management in and around Tarawa; coastal management protection measures such as mangrove re-plantation and protection of public infrastructure; strengthening laws to reduce coastal erosion; and population settlement planning to reduce personal risks.

Kiribati is the only country in all four hemispheres.

Economy


Kiribati is one of the world's poorest countries. It has few natural resources. Commercially viable phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

 deposits on Banaba  were exhausted at the time of independence. Copra
Copra
Copra is the dried meat, or kernel, of the coconut. Coconut oil extracted from it has made copra an important agricultural commodity for many coconut-producing countries. It also yields coconut cake which is mainly used as feed for livestock.-Production:...

 and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. Kiribati is considered one of the least developed countries
Least Developed Countries
Least developed country is the name given to a country which, according to the United Nations, exhibits the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development, with the lowest Human Development Index ratings of all countries in the world...

 in the world. In one form or another, Kiribati gets a large portion of its income from abroad. Examples include fishing licenses, development assistance, worker remittances, and tourism. Given Kiribati's limited domestic production ability, it must import nearly all of its essential foodstuffs and manufactured items; it depends on these external sources of income for financing.

The economy of Kiribati benefits from international development assistance programs. The multilateral donors providing development assistance in 2009 were the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (A$9 million), the United Nations Development Program (A$3.7 million), and the World Health Organisation (A$100,000). The bilateral donors providing development assistance in 2009 were Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 (A$11 million), Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 (A$2 million), New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 (A$6.6 million), Taiwan
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (A$10.6 million), and other donors providing A$16.2 million, including technical assistance grants from the Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

.

The major donors in 2010/2011 were Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 (A$15 million), Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 (A$11 million); New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 (A$6 million), the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 (A$4 million), and the Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

.

In 1956 Kiribati established a sovereign wealth fund
Sovereign wealth fund
A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals or other financial instruments. Sovereign wealth funds invest globally. Some of them have grabbed attention making bad investments in several Wall Street financial...

 to act as a store of wealth for the country's earnings from phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

 mining.
In 2008, the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund
Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund
The Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund is the sovereign wealth fund of the Pacific island republic of Kiribati.The RERF was created in 1956 to act as a store of wealth for the country's earnings from phosphate mining, which at one time accounted for 50% of government revenue.In 2009 the RERF was...

 was valued at US$ 400 million. The RERF assets declined from A$637 million (420 percent of GDP) in 2007 to A$570.5 million (350 percent of GDP) in 2009. As the result of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) the RERF was exposure to failed Icelandic banks, as well drawdowns were made by the government of Kiribati to finance budgetary shortfalls.

In May 2011 the IMF country report assessment of the Economy of Kiribati is that: “After two years of contraction, the economy recovered in the second half of 2010 and inflation pressure dissipated. It is estimated to have grown by 1¾ percent for the year. Despite a weather-related drop in copra production, private sector activity appears to have picked up, especially in retail. Tourist arrivals rebounded by 20 percent compared to 2009, although from a very low base. Despite the rise in world food and fuel prices, inflation has bounced from 2008 crisis-highs into negative territory, reflecting the strong appreciation of the Australian dollar, which is used as the domestic currency, and a decline in the world price of rice. Credit growth in the overall economy declined in 2009 as economic activity stalled. But it started to pick up in the second half of 2010 as the recovery gained traction.”

Demographics


The native people of Kiribati are called I-Kiribati. The word Kiribati is the local spelling of the word Gilbert and the original name of this British colony was the Gilbert Islands
Gilbert Islands
The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of Republic of Kiribati and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.-Geography:The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands...

. The indigenous format of the name was adopted when independence was gained in 1979.

Ethnically, the I-Kiribati are Micronesians. Recent archaeological evidence indicates that Austronesians originally settled the islands thousands of years ago. Around the 14th century, Fijians, Samoans, and Tongans invaded the islands, thus diversifying the ethnic range and introducing Polynesian
Polynesian languages
The Polynesian languages are a language family spoken in the region known as Polynesia. They are classified as part of the Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanic branch of that family. They fall into two branches: Tongic and Nuclear Polynesian. Polynesians share many cultural traits...

 linguistic traits. Intermarriage among all ancestral groups, however, has led to a population reasonably homogeneous in appearance and traditions.

The people of Kiribati speak an Oceanic language called "Gilbertese
Gilbertese language
-External links:**** with Gilbertese – English Translations from – The Rosetta Edition**...

". Although English is the official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

, it is not used very often outside the island capital of Tarawa. It is more likely that English is mixed in its use with Gilbertese. Older generations of I-Kiribati tend to use more complicated versions of the language.

Christianity is the major religion, having been introduced by missionaries in the 19th century. The population is predominantly Roman Catholic, although a substantial portion of the population is Congregationalist Protestant. Many other Protestant denominations, including more evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 types, are also represented. The Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 religion also exists in Kiribati, along with Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the latter numbering 11,511 at the end of 2005.

Human development


The Kiribati Census in 2010 estimated the population at 103,500. The people of Kiribati mostly live in villages with populations between 50 and 3,000 on the outer islands. Most houses are made of materials obtained from coconut and pandanus trees. Frequent droughts hinder reliable large-scale agriculture, so the islanders have largely turned to the sea for livelihood and subsistence. Most are outrigger sailors and fishers. Copra plantations serve as a second source of employment. In recent years, large numbers of citizens have moved to the more urban island capital of Tarawa.

Health


The population of Kiribati has a life expectancy at birth of 60 years (57 for males, and 63 for females) and an infant mortality rate of 54 deaths per 1,000 live births. Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 is present in the country. Government expenditure on health was at US$268 per capita (PPP) in 2006. In 1990-2007, there were 23 physicians per 100,000 persons. Since the arrival of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n doctors, the infant mortality rate has decreased significantly.

Education


Primary education is free and compulsory for the first six years, now being extended to nine years. Mission schools are slowly being absorbed into the government primary school system. Higher education is expanding; students may seek technical, teacher or marine training, or study in other countries. To date, most choosing to do the latter have gone to Fiji, and those wishing to complete medical training have been sent to Cuba.

Transport


Beginning in January 2009, Kiribati has two domestic airlines: Air Kiribati
Air Kiribati
Air Kiribati Limited is the national airline of Kiribati operating passenger services within the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati, and to Fiji. It also operates charters, medical evacuation and search and rescue services. Its main base is Bonriki International Airport, Tarawa Atoll.Until 2008, it was...

 and Coral Sun Airways
Coral Sun Airways
Coral Sun Airways is one, and the younger, of the two Kiribati airlines , established in January 2009. The airline operates domestic service to all 17 airports in the Gilbert Islands using two Britten-Norman Islander planes. It is considering the purchase of one new, larger aircraft, capable of...

. Both airlines are based in Tarawa's Bonriki International Airport
Bonriki International Airport
-See also:* USAAF in the Central Pacific...

 and serve destinations across the Gilbert Islands only.

Neither the Phoenix nor Line Islands are served by the domestic carriers. Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

's national carrier Air Pacific
Air Pacific
Air Pacific Limited, Fiji's international airline, operates international and domestic services around the Pacific and to North America and Hong Kong. It is also a partner with the frequent flyer programmes of Qantas, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines...

 provides an international service to Cassidy International Airport
Cassidy International Airport
Cassidy International Airport is an airport located north of Banana, a settlement on Kiritimati in Kiribati. It is the only airport in the Kiribatian part of the Line Islands with an IATA and/or ICAO code....

 on Kiritimati
Kiritimati
Kiritimati or Christmas Island is a Pacific Ocean raised coral atoll in the northern Line Islands, and part of the Republic of Kiribati....

 from Fiji's main airport, Nadi International Airport
Nadi International Airport
Nadi International Airport is the main international gateway for the islands of Fiji. It serves about 1.2 million people per year, and is the main hub of Air Pacific. The airport is 10km from the city of Nadi. In 2009 it handled 1,220,000 passengers on international and domestic...

.

Internationally, Our Airline, the national airline of Nauru
Nauru
Nauru , officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest republic, covering just...

, also provides a weekly service on behalf of Air Kiribati from Tarawa to Nadi International Airport
Nadi International Airport
Nadi International Airport is the main international gateway for the islands of Fiji. It serves about 1.2 million people per year, and is the main hub of Air Pacific. The airport is 10km from the city of Nadi. In 2009 it handled 1,220,000 passengers on international and domestic...

, as well as a service to Nauru International Airport
Nauru International Airport
Nauru International Airport is the sole airport on the island of the Republic of Nauru. The airport's former ICAO code was ANAU.- Location, designation and future :...

, connecting to Honiara
Honiara
Honiara, population 49,107 , 78,190 , is the capital of the Solomon Islands and of Guadalcanal Province, although it is a separately administered town...

, the capital of the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

, and further to Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

, Australia.

Culture



Songs (te anene) and above all dances (te mwaie) are held in high regard.

Music


Kiribati folk music is generally based on chanting or other forms of vocalising, accompanied by body percussion
Body percussion
Body percussion may be performed on its own or as an accompaniment to song. The folk traditions of many countries include the use of body percussion...

. Public performances in modern Kiribati are generally performed by a seated chorus, accompanied by a guitar. However, during formal performances of the standing dance (Te Kaimatoa) or the hip dance (Te Buki) a wooden box is used as a percussion instrument. This box is constructed so as to give a hollow and reverberating tone when struck simultaneously by a chorus of men sitting around it. Traditional songs are often love-themed, but there are also competitive, religious, children's, patriotic, war and wedding songs . There are also stick dances (which accompany legends and semi-historical stories . These stick dances or 'tirere' are only performed during major festivals.

Dance



The uniqueness of Kiribati when compared with other forms of Pacific island dance is its emphasis on the outstretched arms of the dancer and the sudden birdlike movement of the head. The Frigate bird (Fregata minor) on the Kiribati flag refers to this bird-like style of Kiribati dancing. Most dances are in the standing or sitting position with movement limited and staggered. Smiling whilst dancing is generally considered vulgar within the context of Kiribati dancing. This is due to its origin of not being solely as a form of entertainment but as a form of storytelling and a display of the skill, beauty and endurance of the dancer.

Outside perspectives


Edward Carlyon Eliot, who was Resident Commissioner of the Gilbert & Ellice Islands (now Kiribati & Tuvalu) from 1913 to 1920 describes this period in his book "Broken Atoms" (autobiographical reminiscences) Pub. G. Bles, London, 1938.

Sir Arthur Grimble
Arthur Grimble
Sir Arthur Francis Grimble was a British Civil Servant and writer.After joining the Colonial Office, he became a cadet administrative officer in the Gilberts and became Resident Commissioner of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony in 1926.Specialist in the myths and oral traditions of Kiribati...

 wrote about his time working in the British colonial service in Kiribati (then the Gilbert Islands) from 1914 to 1932 in two popular books A Pattern of Islands (1952) and Return to the Islands (1957). He also undertook academic studies of Gilbertese culture.

J. Maarten Troost
J. Maarten Troost
J. Maarten Troost is the author of three books about his experiences in the Pacific Islands and 3-month trip to China. Troost writes about the part of his life spent in the South Pacific in Getting Stoned with Savages and The Sex Lives of Cannibals -- and one on a trip to China: Lost on Planet...

's more recent autobiographical experiences on the Tarawa Atoll
Tarawa Atoll
Tarawa is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, previously the capital of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It is the location of the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, South Tarawa...

 are documented in his book The Sex Lives of Cannibals
The Sex Lives of Cannibals
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific is a 2004 travelogue by author J. Maarten Troost describing the two years he and his girlfriend spent living on the Tarawa atoll in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati...

(2004).

Further Reading

  • Cinderellas of the Empire: towards a history of Kiribati and Tuvalu, by Barrie Macdonald, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific
    University of the South Pacific
    The University of the South Pacific is a public university with a number of locations spread throughout a dozen countries in Oceania. It is an international centre for teaching and research on Pacific culture and environment. USP's academic programmes are recognised worldwide, attracting students...

    , Suva, Fiji, 2001. ISBN 982-02-0335-X (Australian National University
    Australian National University
    The Australian National University is a teaching and research university located in the Australian capital, Canberra.As of 2009, the ANU employs 3,945 administrative staff who teach approximately 10,000 undergraduates, and 7,500 postgraduate students...

     Press, first published 1982)
  • A Pattern of Islands by Sir Arthur Grimble, John Murray & Co, London, 1952; republished 2011 by Eland, London, ISBN 978-1906011-45-1
  • Return to the Islands by Sir Arthur Grimble, John Murray & Co, London, 1957
  • The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost, Broadway, 2004, ISBN 0767915305 ISBN 978-0767915304
  • Kiribati existe Pp. 29–43; y De Abemama a Madrid Pp. 43–54 en Son los mares del Sur, by Luis Pancorbo: Maeva, Madrid, 1997, ISBN 84-86478-60-X
  • Lonely Planet Guide: South Pacific & Micronesia by various

See also



  • Communications in Kiribati
    Communications in Kiribati
    Kiribati has two international airports . The main port is Betio . Phones are available only on Tarawa and Kiritimati and radio phones are used elsewhere...

  • Kiribati Scout Association
    Kiribati Scout Association
    The Kiribati Scout Association is the national Scouting organization of Kiribati. It was founded in 1993, and the island nation joined the World Organization of the Scout Movement in the same year. With its close link with Scouts Australia since 1986, Kiribati Scouts have been represented in...

  • Law enforcement in Kiribati
    Law enforcement in Kiribati
    The only State disciplined forces in Kiribati are a unified national police force, with prison and quarantine powers, and the coast guard. Defense assistance is provided by Australia and New Zealand....

  • LGBT rights in Kiribati
    LGBT rights in Kiribati
    Homosexual acts are illegal in Kiribati. The Penal Code sections 153, 154 and 155 outlaws anal intercourse regardless of sex.Unnatural Offences153. Any person who- commits buggery with another person or with an animal; or...

  • Tarawa Climate Change Conference
    Tarawa Climate Change Conference
    The Tarawa Climate Change Conference , was held in the Republic of Kiribati from 9 to 10 November 2010. The purpose of the conference was to support the initiative of the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, to hold a consultative forum between vulnerable states and their partners with a view of...

  • Transportation in Kiribati


External links



General information