Kiribati Facts: 41 Facts about Kiribati

Last updated on February 15th, 2020

Kiribati, officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean. The country has a limited population and is facing critical issue regarding its existence due to climate change. With these 41 facts about Kiribati, let’s learn more about its people, climate, culture, history, independence and much more.

1. The locals of Kiribati are called I-Kiribati. They pronounce ‘ti’ as ‘s’. Therefore, they pronounce ‘Kiribati’ as ‘Kiribas’.

2. Kiribati became a full member of the United Nations in 1999. The country is also a member of the IMF, the World Bank and the Commonwealth of Nations.

3. Kiribati is roughly the four-time of Washington, DC.

4. The Australian dollar is the national currency of Kiribati.

5. Kiribati’s capital city, Tarawa, itself is an island. The capital lies halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

6. Kiribati is made up of 33 coral islands divided among three groups of islands: the Line Islands, the Phoenix Islands, and the Gilbert Islands. Most of these islands are coral atolls. According to Britannica – “Atolls form when corals build a colony, or reef, around the top of a volcanic island. Eventually, the reef reaches the surface of the water and becomes land.”

7. Of the 33 islands of Kiribati, 21 are inhabited. The Banaba Island in the Gilbert Islands is a raised limestone island while all of the remaining 32 islands are atolls meaning they are ring shaped with central lagoons.

8. Cultivation of crops on the island nation is very difficult due to poor soil and variation in rainfalls. However, there is plenty of seafood available in the island country.

9. Kiribati is susceptible to experience a rise in sea level due to global warming and such a rise in the water level of the sea will cause contamination of fresh water with salt water making it unsuitable for drinking. Moreover, the island will become uninhabitable.

10. There is a lot of solid waste which is produced in the country and sadly the country does not have a suitable waste disposal or waste management system in place to take care of this issue.

Flag of Kiribati

Flag of Kiribati
Flag of Kiribati. Source – CIA

11. According to a UN report, the wildlife in the area has been described as “among the most critically threatened in the world.” Pollution from various sources plays a significant role in deteriorating the quality of life of the inhabitants of this island nation.

12. The majority of the population of Kiribati is Christian. Freedom of religion is a fundamental right and this right is well respected in the country.

13. Due to the lack of natural resources, Kiribati is amongst the world’s poorest countries. The country supports its economy with the help of tourism, which constitutes almost 20% of its GDP.

14. Kiribati is the only nation in the world that lies in all four hemispheres (North, South, east and West) of the world.

15. The New Year arrives first in Kiribati and then in any other country in the world. This is because Kiribati is furthest ahead of Greenwich meantime at GMT+14.

16. More than 90% of the nation’s population lives on the Gilbert Islands. And the majority of it lives on Tarawa.

17. The highest point of the country is just 81 m above sea level.

18. Due to the rise in sea level, two small uninhabited islands disappeared below the sea in 1999.

Kiribati on Map

Kiribati on Map
Kiribati on Map

19. The nation is under threat of being engulfed by the sea in the coming 50 years or more.

20. The country has bought 6000 acres of land from Fiji to relocate its people at a safer place. Fiji is more than 1000 miles away from Kiribati. (However, there will always be a chance that human race will survive once again and adjust with the changes coming its way. The human race is apt at surviving and this we know for sure.)

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