The Republic of Kiribati is formed by 33 islands – 32 atolls and one raised coral island, Banaba. The capital on South Tarawa consists of a number of islets.
Of the 33 islands, 20 are inhabited. They are scattered over a vast area of ocean. Kiribati extends 1,800 miles (2,900km) eastward from the 16 Gilbert Islands, where the population is concentrated.
The islands straddle the Equator. They border the International Date Line at its easternmost point.
The leaves of coconut and pandanus palms are used for traditional island houses. Breadfruit trees are common, too. The five most cultivated crops are Chinese cabbage, pumpkin, tomato, watermelon and cucumber.
Kiribati is one of the low-lying Pacific island states. It is seen as highly vulnerable to rising sea levels and global warming. Kiribati frequently lends its voice to calls for action on climate change.
Its flag represents the ocean. The top half is red with a yellow frigate bird flying over a yellow rising sun. The lower half is blue with three wavy horizontal white stripes. The wife of writer Robert Louis Stevenson once designed a flag for Kiribati. Her design showed a shark with a crown on its head.
Kiribati joined the Commonwealth in 1979. It first competed in the Commonwealth Games in 1998. Two competitors took part in Weightlifting. Four years later, 15 I-Kiribatis competed in Track and Field, Weightlifting, Triathlon and Table Tennis.