OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Kiribati
CAPITAL: Bairiki on Tarawa Atoll
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Republic
AREA: 811 Sq Km (313 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 78,800


Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: Kiribati is located in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The country consists of 3 main island groups that extend over 3870 km (2,405 mi) from Banaba in the west to Kiritimati in the east and 2050 km (1,274 mi) from Teraina in the north to Flint in the south. Additionally, the three island groups cover an area of 3 million Sq Km (1.1 million Sq Mi) with the Gilbert Island group consisting of 17 islands or atolls located over the equator, with the Phoenix Island group in the east consisting of 8 islands or atolls while the Line Island group is located to the north and consists of 8 islands or atolls, and contains the largest coral atoll in the world, Christmas Island. All the islands are low-lying coral atolls below 4 metres (13 feet) above sea level, except for Banaba which rises to 87 metres (285 feet). There are no rivers on any of the islands, although most enclose a lagoon. Major Cities (pop. est.); urban Tarawa 25,200 (1990). Land Use; forested 3%, agricultural-cultivated 51%, other 46% (1993).


CLIMATE: Kiribati has a tropical maritime climate that is uniformly hot and humid, tempered by sea breezes. From March to October the islands experience the NW trade winds and from October to March westerly gales and heavy rains prevail. Average annual precipitation varies from 3,000 mm (118 in) in the northern Line Islands to 1,500 mm (59 in) in the central Gilbert Islands to 700 mm (28 in) in the southern Line Islands. Average daily temperatures range between 28 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) and 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).


PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the I-Kiribati, who are overwhelmingly Micronesian. Other minorities include Europeans and Chinese.


RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 48% of the population Roman Catholic and 45% Protestant. Additionally, there are minorities groups of Seven Day Adventists and Baha'i.


LANGUAGES: The official languages is English, although the national language is I-Kiribati a Micronesian dialect.


MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1990: The Gilbert and Ellice Islands were annexed as British Crown Colonies in Nov. 1915. During WWII they were occupied by the Japanese until they were expelled by the Allied Forces. On Oct. 1, 1975 the Ellice Islands separated from the Gilbert Islands to form a separate dependency called Tuvalu. On Jan. 1, 1977 self-government was introduced with full independence granted on July, 12, 1979 as the Republic of Kiribati with Ieremia Tabai as President. In 1983 the United States ratified a Treaty of Friendship with Kiribati. Also in 1983 and 1987 President Tabai was re-elected.


CURRENCY: The official currency is the Australian Dollar (Aud) divided into 100 Cents.


ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $54,000,000 (1993). Public Debt; USD $18,000,000 (1992). Imports; AUS $50,530,000 (1992). Exports; AUS $6,513,000 (1992). Tourism Receipts: USD $1,000,000 (1993). Balance of Trade; AUS -$29,478,000 (1993). Economically Active Population; 32,610 or 45.1% of total population (1990). Unemployed 2.8% (1990).


MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United States and Fiji.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Breadfruit, Coconuts, Copra, Fish, Papaya.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Clothing, Fish Processing, Food Processing, Handicrafts, Tourism.

MAIN EXPORTS: Copra, Fish, Processed Fish Products.


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