The information below contains geography information for Kiribati, including climate, weather,
cities, and area information. You can also check out the
Kiribati Country Page for additional
Area: 719 sq. km (266 sq. mi.) in 32 atolls and one island.
Cities: Capital--Tarawa (pop. 30,000).
Terrain: Archipelagos of low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs.
Climate: Maritime equatorial or tropical.
Government of Kiribati
Kiribati (pronounced "keer-ih-bahs") consists of 32 low-lying atolls and one raised island scattered over an expanse of ocean equivalent in size to the continental United States. The islands straddle the Equator and lie roughly halfway between Hawaii and Australia. The three main groupings are the Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands, and Line Islands. In 1995 Kiribati unilaterally moved the International Date Line to include its easternmost islands, making it the same day throughout the country.
Kiribati includes Kiritimati (Christmas Island), the largest coral atoll in the world, and Banaba (Ocean Island), one of the three great phosphate islands in the Pacific. Except on Banaba, very little land is more than three meters above sea level.
The original inhabitants of Kiribati are Gilbertese, a Micronesian people. Approximately 90% of the population of Kiribati lives on the atolls of the Gilbert Islands. Although the Line Islands are about 2000 miles east of the Gilbert Islands, most inhabitants of the Line Islands are also Gilbertese. Owing to an annual population growth rate of around 2.5% and severe overcrowding in the capital on South Tarawa, a program of migration has been implemented to move nearly 5,000 inhabitants to outlying atolls, mainly in the Line Islands. The Phoenix Islands have never had any permanent population. A British effort to settle Gilbertese there in the 1930's failed due to lack of water. A new program of settlement to the Phoenix Islands was begun in 1995.