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Kiritimati(kərĭs`məs), largest atoll in the Pacific (1990 pop. 2,537), 222 sq mi (575 sq km), in the Line IslandsLine Islands
or Equatorial Islands,
coral group, 43 sq mi (111 sq km), central and S Pacific. Once valuable for their guano deposits, the islands now have coconut groves, airfields, and meteorological stations.
..... Click the link for more information. , one of the island groups that compose the Republic of KiribatiKiribati
, officially Republic of Kiribati (2015 est. pop. 112,000), 342 sq mi (886 sq km), consisting of 33 islands scattered across 2,400 mi (3,860 km) of the Pacific Ocean near the equator.
..... Click the link for more information. . It was previously called Christmas Island when it made up part of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The island's chief agricultural product is copra. The airstrip there is used an emergency runway for trans-Pacific commercial flights. The atoll was explored by Capt. James CookCook, James,
1728–79, English explorer and navigator. The son of a Yorkshire agricultural laborer, he had little formal education. After an apprenticeship to a firm of shipowners at Whitby, he joined (1755) the royal navy and surveyed the St.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1777, annexed by Great Britain in 1888, and included in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony in 1919. British nuclear tests were conducted on the atoll in 1957 and 1958 and U.S. tests in 1962.
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an island in the central Pacific, in Kiribati: one of the Line Islands; the largest atoll in the world. Pop.: 3225 (1995)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005