The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Line Islands

The Line Islands are a group of mostly atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands.

The Line Islands form the time zone with the earliest time in the world: UTC + 14. The time of the day is the same as in Hawai'i, but one day ahead, and even 25 hours ahead of some other islands in Oceania.

Northern Line Islands

Lagoon shore at Fanning Atoll
Lagoon shore at Fanning Atoll

The Northern Line Islands lie between the equator and 6N, and about 160W. A few belong to the United States, but most are now part of the Republic of Kiribati. They include:

Kiribati possessions (two names, one in Gilbertese one in English, both constitutional):

Kiritimati is probably the largest and the oldest atoll in the Pacific (it is about 90 statute miles (150 km) in circuit and has the greatest land area of any atoll in the world), and was discovered by Captain Cook in 1777. The islands were annexed by Britain in 1888 with a view to laying the Pacific cable with Tabuaeran (then Fanning Island) as a relay station. That cable functioned between 1902 and 1963 except for a short period in 1914 when German naval forces landed at Fanning to cut the cable.

The total population of the three islands in 1900 was about 300. Currently there are about 5,300 people on Kiritimati, 1,800 on Tabuaeran, and 2,000 on Teraina (also known as Washington Island) for a total of 9,100 on the Kiribatese portion.

Copra and Petfish are the main export products (with seaweeds).

The American possessions in the Northern Line Islands are uninhabited:

Southern Line Islands

The Southern Line Islands are all uninhabited.

Kiribati possessions:

The one American island in this group is uninhabited:

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