Country Fast Facts: Kiribati

































Kiribati



























(CBS)

Kiribati was inhabited by a single Micronesian ethnic group that spoke the same Oceanic language for 2,000 years before coming into contact with Europeans.



The islands were first sighted by British and American ships in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.



The islands were named the Gilbert Islands in 1820 by a Russian admiral, Adam von Krusenstern, and French captain Louis Duperrey, after a British captain, Thomas Gilbert, who crossed the archipelago in 1788.



The first British settlers arrived in 1837. In 1892, the Gilbert Islands became a British protectorate together with the nearby Ellice Islands. The Gilbert and Ellice Islands became a Crown colony in 1916.


Kiritimati (Christmas Island) became a part of the colony in 1919 and the Phoenix Islands were added in 1937.



Tarawa Atoll 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 U.S. Marine Corps history when Marines landed in Nov. 1943, the Battle of Tarawa was fought at Kiribati's former capital Betio on Tarawa Atoll.



The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati.



The U.S. relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati.



Source: CIA World Fact Book

















  • CBSNews

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.