The Republic of Kiribati has officially adopted the name Kiribati after gaining independence. The name Kiribati derives from the main archipelago that is part of the country. It is one of the few countries that does not have an army because it depends instead on New Zealand and Australian forces; the police service handles every aspect of the police.
Kiribati is an island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean. Its capital is the atoll of Tarawa and half of the population resides in the city. It consists of thirty-three atolls and coral islands and Banaba; a raised coral island. Its total area is 310 square meters distributed in 1,351,000 square miles. Kirimati is the largest atoll with an area of 150 square miles and represents almost half of the country. The atoll was used as a nuclear test site by the United States and the British in the 1960s. In 1979 Kiribati gained independence from the United Kingdom and is a member of the Commonwealth, World Bank, United Nations and International Monetary Fund.
- Places of interest
One of the main landmarks of the country is the Koinava Cathedral which was built in 1907 in the Abaiang Atoll. The Bangabangas of Banaba Island are limestone quarries and have significant cultural values only women can access the caves. The Tabiteuea in the Gilbert Islands is an artificial structure that serves as a traditional meetinghouse built without nails or nails. Butaritary navigation stones are a set of coral slabs that sailors use to navigate. The stone ruins of Malden Island are remains of structures built by the Polynesians who inhabited the island.
- Main challenges faced
Global warming is negatively affecting the island; sea level rise is threatening to submerge some of the low islands. The country has set up strategies to mitigate the negative effects of emerging oceans, including the purchase of an eight-square-mile island in Fiji in the event that the island is submerged; meanwhile, it is used to produce agricultural products. In addition to sea level rise, the main island of the county is facing an overpopulation with a population density similar to that of Hong Kong or Tokyo.
- Spoken languages
The languages spoken by the people of Kiribati are Micronesian, Gilbertesi and English. English is the official language of the country and is widely spoken in the capital. The country’s population has been relatively static due to migration to the growing urban environment of South Tarawa, where two-fifths of the population reside. The rural population resides in tightly packed villages dominated by large open meeting houses. Half of the population is Roman Catholic, while a large percentage of the rest are Kiribati Protestants.
- Famous residents
One of the most famous residents of the country is Karotu Bakaane; a professional footballer who has represented the country in international games. David Katoatau is also famous for being the first Kiribati player to win a gold medal after winning the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold in the 105kg weightlifting group. Anote Tong was president of Kiribati for three terms from July 2003 to March 2016. The former president has a Chinese legacy and was rewarded with leadership and the environment for his role in environmental conservation. In 2015 he received the Sunhak prize for peace, in 2012 he was awarded a leadership prize by the Hillary Institute of International Command.