Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations


Kiribati, formally known as the Gilbert Islands, was granted self-rule by the British in 1971. Eight years later, the islands became independent.  The US signed a treaty of friendship in 1979 and relinquished all claims to the Phoenix and Line Island groups.

Kiribati is made up of 33 atolls that stretch nearly 4,000 km from east to west and more than 2,000 km from north to south. The islands are spread around the Equator, and many are inhabited.  Kiribati was located on both sides of the International Date Line, but in 1995, the government decided to move the line to the east, thus ensuring that the whole country was in the same day.  On January 1, 2000, Kiribati became the first inhabited place on Earth to greet the new millennium.  To mark the historic event, media from across the world landed at Caroline Island, which was renamed Millennium Island.

Anote Tong is the president of Kiribati.  He narrowly defeated his older brother, Harry, in July 2003 elections and then was re-elected for another term in October 2007. Kiribati hosted a Chinese satellite tracking base, which became a major election issue.  When Kiribati established diplomatic relations with Taiwan, China withdrew the base as a measure of protest.

Kiribati’s economy is impacted by the dynamic global demand for coconut.  Other sources of revenue are fishing licenses, foreign aid, money repatriated by resident living abroad, and a trust fund set up with revenues from phosphate mining on the island of Banaba.

Sources: BBC, International Crisis Group, CIA World Factbook.

    Full Name:  The Republic of Kiribati
    Form of Government:  Republic
   Year of Independence:  1979 (from Britain)
   Population:  112850
   Capital:  Tarawa Atoll
   Largest City:  n/a
   Major Religion:  Roman Catholic 52%, Protestant (Congregational) 40%, other (includes Seventh-Day Adventist, Muslim, Baha'i, Latter-day Saints, Church of God) 8% (1999)
   Area:  810 sq km (313 sq miles)
   Major Languages:  English (official), I-Kiribati (Gilbertese)
   Life Expectancy:  60 years (men), 66 years (women) (UN)
   Monetary Unit:  1 Australian dollar = 100 cents
   Main Exports:  Copra (62%), fish, seaweed, coconuts
   GDP - Per Capita (PPP):  $3,200 (2008 est.)
   Internet Domain:  .ki
   International Dialing Code:  +686