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Country of Kiribati Flag

Capital: Tarawa

Population: 117,606

Brief History of Kiribati:

Kiribati is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. It was first settled by the I-Kiribati people around 1000AD. The first Europeans arrived on the island in the 1500s, but it wasn't until the 1800's that they began to arrive in larger numbers. At this time they introduced diseases and caused local conflicts. The British took control of the islands 1892, which were called the Gilbert Islands at the time. They became an official British colony in 1916.

During World War II, Japan gained control of some of the islands. Some of the fiercest fighting of the south pacific occurred on Tarawa Atoll when the United States fought the Japanese in what was a turning point in the war.

In 1979 Kiribati became a fully independent country. The first president of Kiribati was Ieremia Tabai.

Country of Kiribati Map

The Geography of Kiribati

Total Size: 811 square km

Size Comparison: four times the size of Washington, DC

Geographical Coordinates: 1 25 N, 173 00 E

World Region or Continent: Oceania

General Terrain: mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs

Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point: unnamed location on Banaba 81 m

Climate: tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds

Major cities: TARAWA (capital) 43,000 (2009)

The People of Kiribati

Type of Government: republic

Languages Spoken: I-Kiribati, English (official)

Independence: 12 July 1979 (from UK)

National Holiday: Independence Day, 12 July (1979)

Nationality: I-Kiribati (singular and plural)

Religions: Roman Catholic 52%, Protestant (Congregational) 40%, some Seventh-Day Adventist, Muslim, Baha'i, Latter-day Saints, Church of God (1999)

National Symbol: frigatebird

National Anthem or Song: Teirake kaini Kiribati (Stand Up, Kiribati)

Economy of Kiribati

Major Industries: fishing, handicrafts

Agricultural Products: copra, taro, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, vegetables; fish

Natural Resources: phosphate (production discontinued in 1979)

Major Exports: copra 62%, coconuts, seaweed, fish

Major Imports: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel

Currency: Australian dollar (AUD)

National GDP: $599,000,000

** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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