Kiribati History

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History[edit | edit source]

Kiribati is a sovereign state in Micronesia in the central Pacific Ocean.

Kiribati became independent from the United Kingdom in 1979. The capital, South Tarawa, which is now the most populated area, consists of a number of islets, connected by a series of causeways. These comprise about half the area of Tarawa Atoll.

In June 2008, Kiribati officials asked Australia and New Zealand to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugees. Kiribati is expected to be the first country to lose all its land territory to global warming.
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Timeline[edit | edit source]

1300: Samoans, Fijians and Tongans merged with the older population.

1777: Discovered by British Captain Cook.

1800s: Whalers arrived in northern islands

1837: British settlers arrived

1850s: Protestant missionaries arrived

1857: Hiram Bingam, a Protestant minister on Abiang, devised a written form of the language

1886: British, German, and Americans traded with the islands. Some islanders were kidnapped and taken to Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Hawaii, and Central America as slaves.

1888: The islands were annexed by Great Britain with a view to laying the Pacific cable with Tabuaeran (then Fanning Island) as a relay station. That cable functioned between 1902 and 1963 except for a short period in 1914 when German naval forces landed at Fanning to cut the cable.

1892: The Gilbert and Ellice Islands became a British protectorate. Headquarters were in Tarawa.

1880s: The Phoenix Islands were annexed by Britain

1900: Banaba was annexed by Britain, and mining of phosphates began until the total island’s soil was removed. The total population of the islands dwindled to about 300.

1915: The Gilbert and Ellice Islands became a British Crown Colony.

1919: Kiritimati (Christmas) Atoll became a part of the colony.

1935: The USA took over Howland and Baker islands

1937: The Phoenix Islands became a part of the British colony.

1938: The United States claimed sovereignty over Kanton and Enderbury

1939: The USA and Britain agreed to exercise joint control over the two islands for 50 years.

1941: Tarawa and others were occupied by Japan. All but one man in Banaba were massacred.

1943: U.S. forces reclaimed the islands. Inhabitants of Banaba were moved to Rabi Island, Fiji because of land loss.

1975: The Ellice Islands separated and became Tuvalu.

1979: Kiribati became an independent Republic that remains part of the British Commonwealth.

2008 - Kiribati officials asked Australia and New Zealand to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugees
2012 - The government of Kiribati purchased the 2,200-hectare Natoavatu Estate on the second largest island of Fiji and and it was widely reported that the government planned to evacuate the entire population of Kiribati to Fiji
2013 - President Tong began urging citizens to evacuate the islands and migrate elsewhere
2014 - The Office of the President confirmed the purchase of some 5,460 acres of land on Vanua Levu at a cost of 9.3 million Australian dollars

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