Gilbert and Ellice Islands: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About Gilbert and Ellice Islands, information, history size, location, population, people, culture, and government.

Gilbert and Ellice Islands

Size--376 sq. mi. (974 sq. km.). Population--60,000.

Scattered over one million sq. mi. of ocean, most of these islands are small coral atolls about 2,000 mi. southwest of Hawaii. They have been a British Colony since 1892, but independence is likely in a few years. The Gilbertese, who are Micronesian, are notorious for their fierce opposition to foreigners. The Ellice Islanders, who are Polynesian, were more passive and found their population cut from 20,000 to 3,000 after foreigners began visiting their islands regularly in the 1st half of the 19th century. In recent years the Ellice Islanders have protested unequal access to government programs and have threatened to separate from the Gilberts.

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