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The Gilbert Islands became a British protectorate in 1892 and a colony in 1915; they were captured by the Japanese in the Pacific War in 1941. The islands of Makin and Tarawa were the sites of major US amphibious victories over entrenched Japanese garrisons in 1943. The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati.


Oceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about halfway between Hawaii and Australia

Natural Resources

phosphate (production discontinued in 1979), coconuts (copra), fish

Population - distribution

I-Kiribati, English (official)
TARAWA (capital) 46,000 (2014)
Conventional long form
Republic of Kiribati
Conventional short form
Local long form
Republic of Kiribati
Local short form
presidential republic
Geographic coordinates
1 21 N, 173 02 E
Time difference
UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Island countries. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted by the time of independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Earnings from fishing licenses and seafarer remittances are important sources of income, however, remittances and the number of seafarers employed declined in the global crisis, but has since improved. In 2013, fishing license revenues contributed close to half of government’s total revenue and total remittances from seafarers were equivalent to 6% of GDP.
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ 44,743,513
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 167,484,389
Exports of goods and services
US$ 19,402,319
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 1,697,857
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 11,105,150
copra, breadfruit, fish
fishing, handicrafts
fish, coconut products
food, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel
Country Risk Rating
Business Climate Rating

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