Republic of Kiribati

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In the continent of Oceania, halfway between Australia and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, lies a group of 32 islands and a coral atoll straddling the equator. This country is named The Republic of Kiribati (pronounced kee-ree-bahs), or simply Kiribati. Kiribati is a unique country with intriguing customs and people. It comes from a European and Asian background but has developed a culture of its own with unique government, customs, history, religion, and more. Sadly, this country is one natural disaster away from losing everything and disappearing under the waves.

Though, this country may seem small and unimportant to bigger countries, to the I-Kiribati (the residents of the country), Kiribati is their home and very important. About 100 thousand people are living on the islands of Kiribati as of July 2013 (CIA). About 40 thousand of these people live in the capitol city of Tarawa as of 2012 (Kiribati Facts). Widely spoken languages include English and Gilbertese, but English is the official language (CIA).

The islands of Kiribati have a rich history. It is believed that the islands of Kiribati were first inhabited by the Samoans somewhere around 1000-1300 AD. However, there is also evidence that the I-Kiribati were there before then (World Book Student). In 1886, Britain and Germany signed the Treaty of the Unclaimed Pacific, each country taking responsibility for islands no power claimed. Britain took the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. In 1916, Britain and Germany joined to form the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony. The Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands became part of this territory as well. However, Europe has not always been in control of these islands. During World War II, Japan occupied the territory until the USA invaded i...

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