One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A country in the south-western Pacific Ocean including the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands, the Phoenix Islands, and Banaba (Ocean Island); population 112,000 (estimated 2015); official languages, English and I-Kiribati (local Austronesian language); capital, Bairiki (on Tarawa).
Inhabited by Micronesian people, the islands were sighted by the Spaniards in the mid 16th century. Britain declared a protectorate over the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1892, and they became a colony in 1915. British links with the Ellice Islands (now Tuvalu) ended in 1975, and in 1979 Kiribati became an independent republic within the Commonwealth
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