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Kiribati

Driving Directions Kiribati

KIRIBATI is a republic in Micronesia that comprises three groups of coral atolls, and one isolated volcanic island spread over a vast expanse of the central Pacific. The group includes the former Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands (now Rawaki), and the southern Line Islands and, until independence from Great Britain in 1979, was named the Gilbert and Ellice Islands.

The capital, Bairiki, is located on an atoll, Tarawa, and the most significant island is Kiritimati, formerly known as Christmas Island.

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The climate is maritime equatorial with a rainy season from October to March.

Ocean Island (Banaba) was a rich source of phosphate deposits (guano), but the exhaustion of the reserves has left severe environmental damage causing most Banabans to resettle elsewhere.

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Agriculture and fishing are the leading employers, while coconuts and copra form the major commercial crops. Tourism is becoming increasingly essential but overseas aid remains a vital part of the economy.

As with the other states of Micronesia, Kiribati has significant strategic importance.

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