Republic of Kiribati
Political Status: Formerly the Gilbert Islands; became a British protectorate in 1892; annexed as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony in 1915, the Ellice Islands becoming independent as the state of Tuvalu in 1978; present name adopted upon becoming an independent member of the Commonwealth on July 12, 1979.
Area: 313 sq. mi. (811 sq. km.).
Population: 84,494 (2000C); 97,000 (2007E); neither figure includes upward of 2,500 Kiribati nationals living abroad.
Major Urban Center (2005E): BAIRIKI (South Tarawa, 48,000).
Official Language: I-Kiribati (Gilbertese); English is also widely spoken.
Monetary Unit: Australian Dollar (market rate November 1, 2008: 1.15 dollars = $1US). The British Pound is also in circulation.
President (Beretitenti): Anote TONG (Boutokaan te Koaua); popularly elected on July 5, 2003, succeeding Teburoro TITO (Maneaban te Mauri), whose ...