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Stories From Kiribati

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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 census

Rainfall 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

Abema​ma​

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 km

FEC

Teraina

14

1-2

9.55


2873

2900

Capt Fanning

Tabuaeran

51

1

33.7


2027

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 hectares

Lord 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.

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