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Kiribati Islands Information

 Land and Ocean

The Republic of Kiribati comprises of 33 islands located somewhere at the heart of the Pacific Ocean. The islands are small and scattered over 3.5 million square kilometres (1.35 million sq.miles) of ocean. These islands are fragmented extending 3,870 km from Banaba (Ocean Island) in the far-west to Kiritimati (Christmas Island) in the far-east end.

The land and ocean areas of Kiribati are distributed throughout the three island groups namely the Gilbert, Phoenix and Line Group.

The Gilbert Group (also called Western Group) consists of 17 islands (12 atolls, 4 low coral islands and 1 raised limestone island). The sizes of the islands vary from 4.73 sq.km to 37.63 sq.km. South Tarawa is the capital island with the highest number of 40311 out of the total population of 92533. Almost 1/2 of the population of Kiribati lives on this island (2005 census)

The Phoenix Group (also called Central Group) consists of 8 low islands with closed lagoons. All the islands in this group are uninhabited exept Kanton with only 41 people (2005 census).

The Line Group (or Eatern Group) also consists of 8 islands - 3 in the North namely Teraina (Washngton), Tabuaeran (Fanning) and Kiritimati (Christmas) and the rest are in the South (Millenium Island - formerly Caroline is among them). Teraina, Tabuaeran and Kiritimati are the ones having few thousands people while the 5 remaining islands are still without people (2005 census).

Republic of Kiribati – islands, groups and ocean

              

Climate

Kiribati is located in the dry belt of the equatorial oceanic climate zone meaning its daily temperatures vary from 26 to 32 degrees celcius. Annual rainfall varies annually and between islands. In the Gilbert group, rainfall ranges from 1000 mm to 3000 mm. The Line group has the highest rainfall of about 700 mm to 4000 mm.

There are two main climatic seasons - Dry and Wet seasons. Dry season is from June to November with southeast winds and Wet season is from December to May along with northeast winds. The former usually brings less rain while the latter brings more rain. Droughts are usually experienced during dry months whereas storms are usually experienced during wet season.

Gilbert Group - 17 islands

Table of Information about these islands.

Abbreviation: DFT = Distant From Tarawa
                   FEC = First European Contact 

 Islands Lands sq.km Popu 2005 censusRainfall mm DFT km  FEC year
 Makin 7.89 2385 3139 190 Grijalva 1537
 Butaritari 13.94 3280 3208 173 Quiros 1606
 Marakei 14.13 2741 1711 82 Duperry 1924
 Abaiang 17.48 5502 2173 51 Gilbert 1788
 Tarawa N 15.26 5678 - - Gilbert/Marshall 
 Tarawa S 15.76 40311 1982 - Gilbert/Marshall
 Mwaiana 16.72 1908 1539 45 Patterson 1809
 Kuria 15.48 1082 1352 134 Gilbert/Marshall
 Aranuka 11.16 1158 1221 146 Gilbert/Marshall
 Abemama 27.37 3404 1537 152 Bishop 1799
 Nonouti 19.85 3179 1559 266 Bishop 1799
 Tabiteuea N 37.63 3600 1142 294 Bishop 1799
 Tabiteuea S 37.63 1298 1142 294 Bishop 1799
 Onotoa 15.62 1644 1286 - J Clerk 1826
 Beru 17.65 2169 1292 403 J Clerk 1826
 Nikunau 19.08 1912 1259 496 Byron 1765
 Tamana 14.73 875 1273 544 J Carey 1804
 Arorae 9.46 1256 1529 620 Patterson 1804
 Banaba 6.29 301 1577 450 Gardner 1810
 Line/Phoenix  8850   
 Total population  92533   

There are 17 islands making up the Gilbert Group. Tab-S and Tab-N made up Tabiteuea Island. The islands are arranged from the most north down to south.

Phoenix Group – 8 low islands.

 Islands Rainfall mm Size Discovered
 *Phoenix na less than 1.2 km long
& 0.8 km wide
 American ship
Phoenix prior 1828
 *Sydney (Manra) 1042.42 triangular: sides 2.8 km
base 3.2 km
 Capt Emment 1823
 *Gardner (Nikumaroro) 1418.03 0.4 km wide around its lagoon Capt Coffin 1828
 *McKean na 0.8 km long 700 m wide Lieut Wilkes 1840
 *Birnie na 1.2 km long & widest part
is 500 m
 Capt Emment 1823
 *Hull (Orona) 1277.82 1.2 km long & around its lagoon Lieut Wilkes 1840
 Tunaari (Kanton) 793.21 14.4 km long & 500 m at 
widest part
 American whalers
& British warships
 *Enderbury na 2.9 km long & 1.2 km wide Capt Coffin 1823

 All the above Phoenix Islands marked with (*) remain uninhabited except Kanton (Tunaari) 

Line Group - 8 islands
Abbreviations: DFT = Distant From Tarawa
                     FEC = First European Contact

 

 Islands Around Wide Area Popu Rain DFT kmFEC 
 Teraina 14 1-2 9.55  2873 2900 Capt Fanning
 Tabuaeran 51 1 33.7  2070 3000 Capt Fanning
 Kiritimati 160 15 388.4  761 3200 Capt Cook
 Malden na - - - - -
 Starbuck na - - - - - -
 Millennium na - - - - - -
 Vostok na - - - - - -
 Flint na - - - - - -

 

Note: The last 5 islands in the above table remain uninhabited! Millenium Island (formerly Caroline) is one of them!

 Islands Reputed Area  Discovered
 Malden 8100 hectaresLord Bryron 1825
 Starbuck 1520 hectares Capt Starbuck 1823
 Millennium 227 hectares Capt W.R Broughton 1820
 Vostok 66 hectares Capt Von Bellinghousen 1820
 Flint 324 hectares Unknown

Note: The above table contains important information of the South islands in the Line Group

Info source: CDRC material - This is Kiribati (6th edition) plus internet.