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Kiribati, formerly the Gilbert Islands, is made up of thirty three
atolls and coral islands, and one volcanic island.
Kiribati Travel and Tourist Information with
links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for
visitors to Kiribati.
International Dateline, Kiribati Language,
Around 20 of the Kiribati islands are permanently inhabited.
With such a large area of sea between the islands of Kiribati, it's
not surprising that fish exports are a major source of currency.
The capital of Kiribati, Bairiki, is situated on Tarawa but
Kiritimati, or Christmas Island, is the largest of the Kiribati group.
Battle of Tarawa
On November 20th, 1943, five thousand US marines stormed the beaches
of Tarawa; a seemingly invincible Japanese island fortress barely the size of the Pentagon
Before the first day ended, one third of the Marines who had crossed
Tarawa's deadly reef under murderous fire were killed, wounded, or missing.
In three days of fighting, four Americans would win the Medal of
Honour and six-thousand combatants would die.
Straddling the Equator at the International Date Line, Kiribati proclaimed
that all of its territory lies in the same time zone as its Gilbert Islands group; even
though the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands, under its jurisdiction, lie on the other
side of the International Date Line.
The official language of Kiribati is English, although many of the
islanders speak the native I-Kiribati, formerly known as Gilbertese.
In 1991, Britain agreed to pay for the damage done to Banaba Island by
large-scale phosphate mining. Residents of Banaba even had to be resettled on Rabi Island;
a part of Fiji.
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