(formerly Gilbert Islands). Group of 16 atolls in W Pacific SSE of Marshall Is. and NE of Solomon Is.; ca. 2,800 mi. NE of Australia. Land area: ca. 100 sq. mi. Brit. protectorate 1892; made part of Gilbert and Ellice islands colony 1915; Ellice islands separated 1975 and became indep. Tuvalu 1978; Gilbert Islands became indep. 1979 as Rep. of Kiribati (pron. Kiribass). Ethnic groups: nearly all Micronesian; some Polynesians. Languages: Gilbertese and Eng. (official). Religions: RC and Prots. evenly divided. ABCFM began work 1857, LCMS 1870. After WW I the ABCFM turned its work over to the LMS.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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