Republic of Kiribati

Ribaberiki Kiribati (Gilbertese)
Motto: "Te Mauri, Te Raoi ao Te Tabomoa"
"Health, Peace and Prosperity"
Anthem: Teirake Kaini Kiribati
(English: "Stand up, Kiribati")
Location of Kiribati
Location of Kiribati
and largest city
1°28′N 173°2′E / 1°28′N 173°2′E / 1.467; 173.033
Official languages
Ethnic groups
98.8% Gilbertese
1.2% Others[1]
Demonym(s)I-Kiribati and Kiribatian
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic with an executive presidency
• President
Taneti Maamau
Teuea Toatu
LegislatureHouse of Assembly
• from the United Kingdom
12 July 1979
• Total
811 km2 (313 sq mi) (172nd)
• 2015 census
• Density
152[6]/km2 (393.7/sq mi) (73rd)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
• Total
$250 million
• Per capita
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
$187 million
• Per capita
HDI (2018)Increase 0.623[8]
medium · 132nd
CurrencyKiribati dollar
Australian dollar (AUD)
Time zoneUTC+12, +13, +14
Driving sideleft
Calling code+686
ISO 3166 codeKI

Kiribati (i/),[9] officially the Republic of Kiribati (Gilbertese: Ribaberiki Kiribati),[1][4][10] is a country in the central Pacific Ocean. The permanent population is just over 110,000 (2015), more than half of whom live on Tarawa atoll. The state comprises 32 atolls and one raised coral island, Banaba. They have a total land area of 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi)[11] and are dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres (1.3 million square miles). In terms with its Exclusive Economic Zone in the Pacific, it straddles all three primary geographic regions; Banaba (Melanesian-Micronesian Border), the Gilbert Islands (Micronesia) and the Line and Phoenix Islands (Polynesia).

Their spread straddles the equator and the 180th meridian, although the International Date Line goes round Kiribati and swings far to the east, almost reaching the 150°W meridian. This brings the Line Islands into the same day as the Kiribati Islands. Kiribati's easternmost islands, the southern Line Islands, south of Hawaii, have the most advanced time on Earth: UTC+14 hours. Kiribati is the only country in the world to be situated in all four hemispheres.

Kiribati gained its independence from the United Kingdom, becoming a sovereign state in 1979. The capital, South Tarawa, 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.

Kiribati is a member of the Pacific Community (SPC), Commonwealth of Nations, the IMF, and the World Bank, and became a full member of the United Nations in 1999.


The name Kiribati was adopted in 1979 at independence. It is the Gilbertese rendition of Gilberts. This name derives from the English pronunciation of the name of the main archipelago that forms the nation. It was named in 1820 by Adam Johann von Krusenstern as « îles Gilbert », in English the Gilbert Islands, after the British captain Thomas Gilbert. He and captain John Marshall sighted some of the islands in 1788, while crossing the Outer Passage route from Port Jackson to Canton.[12][13]

The main archipelago was named îles Gilbert (Gilbert Islands in English) in about 1820 by Russian admiral Adam von Krusenstern and French captain Louis Duperrey. Both of their maps, published in 1820, were written in French. In English, the archipelago, the Southern part notably, was often referred to as the Kingsmills in the 19th century, although the name Gilbert Islands was used increasingly, including in the Western Pacific Order in Council of 1877 and in the Pacific Order of 1893.[14]

The name Gilbert was incorporated into the name of the entire Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony from 1916 and was retained after the Ellice Islands became the separate nation of Tuvalu in 1976. The spelling of Gilberts in the Gilbertese language as Kiribati may be found in books in Gilbertese prepared by missionaries and others (see e.g. Hawaiian Board of Missionaries, 1895).[15]

It is often suggested that the indigenous name for the Gilbert Islands proper is Tungaru (see e.g. Arthur Grimble, 1989[16]). However, the name Kiribati was chosen as the name of the new independent nation by local consensus, on such grounds that it was modern,[17] and to acknowledge the inclusion of islands (e.g. the Phoenix Group and Line Islands), which were never considered part of the Tungaru (or Gilberts) chain.[18][19]

The pronunciation differs: Kiribas is the official pronunciation as ti in the Gilbertese language makes an s sound.