Kiribati is pronounced like kee-ree-bus, which is the native pronunciation of Gilberts. This is a small island republic located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and has a population of around 70,000 Micronesians. Kiribati was previously part of the British Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony; however, in 1979 it became independent. Kiribati is comprised of three island groups, the Gilbert, Line, and Phoenix Islands. Sitting over the equator, this beautiful country has it all, deep blue ocean, coral reefs, pristine beaches, and coconut trees. The “town” of Tarawa is not a small town, rather it is a chain of [...]
Kiribati is a small island in the Pacific that has been inhabited for many centuries. The most organized of the civilizations start in the 16th century when the many whalers and slave traders started using the island as an out post and port. The problem was that the many Europeans brought with them diseases that attacked the natives who were without medications of any kind. This caused an uprising in the land and the Europeans were forced into battle with many of the tribes. The natives were no match for the Europeans and they were either slaughtered or enslaved, which largely depleted the population. In the early 1900’s saw the island fall under British rule and in 1916 was made a British colony under the official flag. This would last until WWII when the Japanese seized the island. This set the stage for the bloodiest battle for land between the Japanese and the US ever fought during the great war. At this point the island fell under US rule and then claimed independence from the UK some years later. As of now it is an independent country of the area and is completely self-governed.
Water sports are vast around this island as it is mainly a resort area these days. Wind surfing is highly popular with regular surfing making a good run as well. The wind surfing is a booming industry on the island as the native people will rent the equipment to all who come near. Swimming is important and is actually part of the culture. Free diving for fish, mussels and other underwater life is impressive and is demonstrated many times during the week. Fishing is also present and is a big industry for the natives and the charter boats run constantly carrying throngs of tourists hoping to catch a trophy.
There is a small but thriving native culture on the island even though they were primarily wiped out during the 16th century by disease and slavery. British culture is very prevalent across the land as they ruled for many years and several British people stayed with the island to head industry.
Activities are limited as the island is actually very poor in respect to others of the same size. There are some resort facilities that cater to the tourists and that is starting to make some economic head way for the small island. Native villages still exist and make for an interesting afternoon learning about the old ways and purchasing home made crafts.