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The Republic of Kiribati is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The country's 33 atolls are scattered over 3,500,000 km² near the equator. Its name is pronounced /kiribas/ and is a Gilbertese transliteration of "Gilberts", the English name for the main group of islands: the former Gilbert Islands.
Kiribati consists of about 32 atolls and one island (Banaba), with at least three in each hemisphere. The groups of islands are:
Three additional islands in the Line Islands are United States possessions.
Banaba (or Ocean Island) is a raised-coral island that was once a rich source of phosphates, but it was mostly mined out before independence. The rest of the land in Kiribati consists of the sand and reef rock islets of atolls or coral islands that rise but a few meters above sea level. The soil is thin and calcareous, making agriculture very difficult.
Kiritimati (Christmas Island) in the Line Islands is the world's largest atoll.