Kiribati is an independent republic made up of a scattered group of 33 low-lying coral islands located approximately 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) southwest of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. The country attained independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. The islands of Kiribati are divided into three groups—the Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands, and the Line Islands. The total land area of Kiribati is 811 square kilometers (310 mi2); the islands stretch nearly 4,000 kilometers from east to west and over 2,000 kilometers (1,250 mi) from north to south. Twenty-one of the islands are inhabited, with a total population of approximately 114,000 in 2016, of which nearly half live in the capital Tarawa.

Kiribati is on the United Nations list of the world’s 50 least developed ...

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