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Kiribati Old History

 

Kiribati has been populated for at least 3,000 years. In the 19th century, Europeans began to come in larger numbers. They did some trading and carried away islanders to work on plantations elsewhere. The Gilbert Islands, today's Tungaru, ended up together with the Ellice Islands, today Tuvalu, under British rule from 1892. During World War II, Tungaru was occupied by Japan and fierce battles were fought between the United States and Japan on the Tarawa Atoll.

Kiribati's first inhabitants arrived from Asia. Their descendants later mingled with Fiji and Tongans. Until modern times, small local kingdoms waged war on each other over territories and influence.

  • AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Kiribati, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

A shipwrecked European is said to have flown ashore on an island as early as the 16th century, where he came to leave many descendants, but only towards the end of the 18th century did Europeans begin to seriously explore the area. In the 19th century, the islands were attacked by British and American whaling vessels and merchant vessels that bought coconut oil. Thousands of islanders were forcibly recruited for plantation work on other Pacific islands and in South America.

Old History of Kiribati

Together with the Ellice Islands (Tuvalu), the Gilbert Islands (Tungaru) became a British protectorate in 1892 and a British colony in 1916. Several islands gradually joined. In 1920, the British began to break down phosphate on a large scale on the island of Banaba, which had been annexed as early as 1900 after discovering large assets of guano (bird droppings rich in phosphate).

During World War II, Japan occupied Tungaru in 1942-1943. Tarawa became the site of some of the toughest battles between Japan and the United States in the Pacific. In 1957, Britain conducted three atmospheric nuclear tests near the Kiritimati Atoll and in 1962 the United States tested nuclear weapons in the area.

 
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