• Kiribati was originally named the Gilbert Islands after British naval captain Thomas Gilbert came across the islands in 1788.

  • Britain declares a protectorate over the Gilbert Islands and the neighboring Ellice Islands. 

  • The Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony is formed. Over the next twenty years, other island groups in the area, including the Line Islands and the Phoenix Islands, are added to the colony.

  • Japanese forces occupy the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony during World War II.

  • The Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony split into two separate territories. 

  • The Gilbert Islands obtain internal self-government.

  • The Gilbert Islands become an independent republic within the Commonwealth under the name of Kiribati. 

  • Kiribati creates the world's third-largest marine reserve. 

  • Kiribati government approves a plan to buy 6,000 acres of land on Fiji for use if rising sea levels necessitate relocation of Kiribati citizens.

Sources:

BBC News open_in_new
Britannica open_in_new