A Brief History
On July 12, 1979, the island nation of Kiribati came into being as the Republic of Kiribati, a group of islands in the Gilbert Island chain of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. Prior to independence, Kiribati was a territory of the United Kingdom.
Consisting of a single island and 32 coral atolls, the nation is home to about 120,000 residents. It is the main island and capital you may be familiar with, Tarawa atoll, which itself is divided into North and South Tarawa Islands. Half the population of Kiribati lives on Tarawa.
World War II in the Pacific saw a terrible battle over Tarawa between the US Navy and US Marine Corps and the Imperial forces of Japan in 1943, a bloody three-day battle that saw over 1000 US Marines killed and over 4600 Japanese deaths. The grim battle resulted in only 17 captured Japanese survivors, an indication of just how difficult the battle for the Pacific islands was going to be.
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you know anyone that has been to Kiribati? Did they like it? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Sherrod, Robert. Tarawa: The Incredible Story of One of World War II’s Bloodiest Battles. Skyhorse, 2013.
Walsh, Michael R. A History of Kiribati: From the Earliest Times to the 40th Anniversary of the Republic. Independently published, 2020.
The featured image in this article, a map of Kiribati, is in the public domain. This may be because it was taken by an employee of the Congress as part of that person’s official duties, or because it has been released into the public domain and posted on the official websites of a member of Congress. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.