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tiistai 27. syyskuuta 2016

Kiribati, Cool Facts #146

<= 145. Fiji                                                                                                    147. Marshall Islands => 



Kiribati is one of the four countries in the world, which have a flag that is entirely based on their coat-of-arms. The other countries are Kosovo, Austria and Switzerland. 

Symbolism in the flag of Kiribati: 

Blue and white waves: represent the Pacific Ocean and the three island groups of Gilbert, Phoenix and Line Islands The Sun: refers to Kiribati's position astride the Equator 
Frigatebird: symbolizes command of the sea, freedom and Kiribati cultural dance patterns
17 Rays of the sun: 16 Gilbert Islands and Banaba (former Ocean Island) 

History of the flag
The coat-of-arms dates back to the year 1937 when Kiribati and Tuvalu were one single colony under the name the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The colony got the coat-of-arms as the state ensign of the colony on the British Blue Ensign. When Kiribati became independent they decided to use the coat-of-arms as the model for their flag. 

Kiribati coat-of-arms
Flag of Gilbert and Ellice Islands 

2. Kiribati in British Colonial Period 

Pre-European Time 
Between 3000BC and 1300AD Micronesians inhabited the islands first and the islands were invaded by people from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. In the 1400s the population from Samoa mixed with the local population creating the unique Micronesian culture.

European settlements
In the 1830s Europeans established the first permanent settlements in the Gilbert Islands, when whaling and missions posts were established. The Chinese and Samoan residents started arriving at that time as well.

British Protectorate
In 1892 Gilbert Islands together with Ellice Islands became a British protectorate. In 1900 Banaba (Ocean Island) was added to the protectorate.

British Colony
The protectorate became the crown colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1916. The Line Islands and Fanning Island were added to the colony in 1919. The British started mining phosphate on Banaba island in the 1920s. In 1937 the Phoenix Islands were added to the colony.

World War II
The Japanese occupied some of the islands of Kiribati between 1941-1943. In 1943 one of the bloodiest battles in US Marine Corps history was fought between the American and Japanese troops.

Post War time
The British resettled the whole population of Banaba to Rabin Island in Fiji and allowed the people return after the phosphate was mined completely in Banaba. Kiritimati was used by the British as a nuclear weapon test site in 1957. In 1964 the nuclear weapon tests ended completely.

Independence
The Ellice Islands were separated from the colony in 1975 and three years later in 1978 it became the independent Tuvalu. One year later in 1979 Gilbert Islands became the independent Kiribati.


Gilbert and Ellice Islands map
Stamps of Gilbert and Ellice Islands


3. Climate Refugees of Kiribati

Climate change
Kiribati will be probably the first country in the world, which will be covered by water due to the raising sea level caused by climate change.

Acts to avoid the catastrophe
In 2008 Kiribati officials asked Australia and New Zealand to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugees. The government of Kiribati purchased the 2200 hectare Natoavatu Estate on Fiji in 2012. The government was also reported to have plans to evacuate the entire population of Kiribati to Fiji.

Geography of Kiribati:

Gilbert Islands - the chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands form the main part of Kiribati, where more than 90% of the population lives

Phoenix Islands - group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area is one of the world's largest protected areas

Line Islands - one of the longest island chains of the world with a distance of 2350 kilometers, eight of the bigger islands form part of Kiribati the remaining three belong to USA


Kiritimati Island (Christmas Island)

4. Gilbertese Language of Kiribati 

The main language of Kiribati is the Oceanic language called "Gilbertese". Gilbertese is one of the few Oceanic languages, which has retained its position in the country despite the use of English. English isn't used much outside of the island capital of Tarawa and when it's used it's usually mixed with Gilbertese. 

Biggest Oceanic languages:

Eastern Fijian - 659,210 
Samoan - 510,000 cited 2005
Gilbertese - 120,000 cited 1988-2010
Tongan - 96,000 cited 1998 
Tahitian - 68,000 cited 2008 
Kuanua (Tolai) - 61,000 cited 1991
Maori - 60,000 cited 2009
Western Fijian - 57,000 cited 1977

Map showing where Oceanic languages are spoken
5. Economy of Kiribati 

Kiribati belongs to the Least Developed Countries of the world. 

Natural resources: 

Phosphate - commercially viable deposits on Banaba were exhausted at the time of independence
Copra and fish - represent the bulk of exports and production

Other sources of money: 

Selling fishing licenses to USA, South Korea and Russia
Worker remittances from abroad
Tourism has become more important

Kiribati benefits from international development assistance programs (2009 information): 

Multilateral donors
European Union - 9 million US dollars 
United Nations Development Programme - 3,7 million US dollars
WHO - 100,000 US dollars 

Bilateral donors
Australia - 11 million US dollars

Taiwan - 10,6 million US dollars
New Zealand - 6,6 million US dollars 
Japan - 2 million US dollars
Other donors - 16,2 million US dollars


Map of the Least Developed Countries (LDC)


Timeline

3000BC-1300AD Micronesians inhabited the islands first and the islands were invaded by people from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji
1400s The population from Samoa mixed with the local population creating the unique Micronesian culture
1700s The Kiribati islands were mapped
1830s Permanent European settlement started in the Gilbert Islands as whaling and mission posts were established, Chinese and Samoan residents started arriving as well
1892 Gilbert Islands together with Ellice Islands became a British protectorate
1900 Ocean Island was added to the protectorate
1916 The protectorate became the crown colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands
1919 The Line Islands and Fanning Island were added to the colony
1920s The British started mining phosphate on Banaba island
1937 Phoenix Islands were added to the colony
1941-1943 The Japanese occupied some of the islands of Kiribati
1943 One of the bloodiest battles in US Marine Corps history between the American and Japenese troops
1945 The British resettled the whole population of Banaba to Rabin Island in Fiji and allowed the people return after the phosphate was mined completely
1957 Kiritimati was used by the British as a nuclear weapon test site
1964 The nuclear weapon tests ended
1975 The Ellice Islands were separated from the colony and in 1978 it became the independent Tuvalu
1979 Gilbert Islands became the independent Kiribati
1999 Kiribati gained UN membership
2002 Kiribati passed a law that enabled the government to shut down newspapers
2003 Anote Tong won the elections and he was re-elected in 2007 and 2011 
2008 Kiribati officials asked Australia and New Zealand to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugees
2012 Kiribati purchased the 2200 hectare Natoavatu Estate on Fiji and the government was reported to have plans to evacuate the entire population of Kiribati to Fiji

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Kiribati
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_and_Ellice_Islands
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Islands
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbertese_language
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiribati
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Least_Developed_Countries
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_Islands
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Islands
"Maailman maat - liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen

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