The official name is the Republic of Kiribati. It is located in the center of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. According to Countryaah, the area is 811 km2, and the population is 98.5 thousand people (2003). The official language is English. The capital is Tarawa Atoll (30 thousand people, 1998). Public holiday – Independence Day July 12 (since 1979). The monetary unit is the Australian dollar.
Member of the UN (since 1999), IMF (since 1986), Pacific Islands Forum (formerly UTF).
The Republic of Kiribati is located between 4° north and 3° south latitude and 173° and 177° east longitude on the Gilbert (16 islands), Line (8, including the world’s largest atoll Kiritimati, 388 km2), Phoenix (8) and Banaba, scattered in the ocean over an area of 5.2 million km2.
All islands are ring atolls (height up to 2 m). The length of the coastline is 1143 km. The highest point is on Banaba (81 m). There are no rivers or streams. Soils are constantly dry. Pandanus, breadfruit, papaya, etc. grow. On densely populated islands, natural vegetation has been almost completely replaced by coconut palms and vegetable gardens. Only rats are found, colonies of sea birds are significant.
Natural resources: fish and seafood in the 200-mile economic zone (3.6 million km2).
The climate is tropical. Temperature during the year: +25-33°С. The distribution of precipitation over the islands, seasons and years is extremely uneven – from less than 100-200 to 2500 mm per year. Heavy rains, typhoons and tornadoes are possible from November to April.
St. 1/2 of the population is concentrated on the Gilbert Islands (in the local dialect of Kiribati it is pronounced – kiribas). Grows relatively fast. The indigenous population prevails – Kiribati (Micronesians). There are also Polynesians and Europeans. Kiribati and English dialects are used (mainly in Tarawa). Life expectancy for men is 58 years, for women – 64. Child mortality is 51 people. per 1000 newborns.
Catholics – 52% of believers, Protestants-Congregationalists – 40%. There are also adherents of local beliefs and other religions.
In 1892 Great Britain established a protectorate over the Gilbert and Ellis Islands (now Tuvalu). In 1975, the Polynesian Ellis Islands, at the request of their inhabitants, were administratively separated from the Micronesian Gilbert Islands. In 1977, the latter received the rights of internal self-government, and in 1979 they became the independent state of Kiribati.
Kiribati is a republic. The head of state and government is the president (since 2003 A. Tong), who is elected in general elections (the next in 2007) for 4 years. Presidential candidates are chosen by the House of Assembly from among its members. The House consists of 40 deputies directly elected for 4 years (next elections in 2007), another one represents the island of Banaba, the Attorney General is an ex officio deputy. The government, in addition to the president, includes the vice-president appointed by him, the attorney general and ministers from among the members of parliament.