The Kiribati Islands

Part of the British Colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, the Gilberts adopted the name Kiribati at independence in 1979. The state comprises 33 islands in the mid-Pacific ocean.
Kiribati consists of three groups of tiny very low-lying coral atolls scattered across 1,930,000 sq miles of ocean. Most of the islands have central lagoons.
Central islands have a maritime equatorial climate. Those to north and south are tropical, with constant high temperatures. There is little rainfall.
People & Society:
Local people still refer to themselves as Gilbertese. Apart from the inhabitants of the island of Banaba, who employed anthropologists to establish their racial distinction, almost all people are Micronesian. Most are poor subsistence farmers. The islands are effectively ruled by traditional chiefs, though there is a party system based on the British model.
The Economy:
Until 1980 when deposits tun out, phosphate from Banaba provided 80% of exports. Since then, coconuts, copra, and fish, have become the main exports, but they islands are still dependent on foreign aid.
***Insight:In 1981, the UK paid A$10 million to Banabans for the destruction of their island by mining.
Official name: Republic of Kiribati
Date of formation:1979
Capital: Bairiki (Tarawa Atoll)
Population: 91,985
Total Area: 274sq miles (710 sq km)
Density: 336 people per sq mile
Languages: English, Kiribati, Other
Religions:Catholic 53%, Kiribati Protestant 39%, other 8%
Ethni Mix: Micronesian 98%, Other 2%
Government: Non-party Democracy
Currency: Australian $ = 100 cents

Source: Atlas, Dorling Kindersley Limited