July 12 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Kiribati from the United Kingdom in 1979.
The initial Micronesian population, which remains the overwhelming majority today, was visited by Polynesian and Melanesian invaders before the first European sailors visited the islands in the 17th century. For much of the subsequent period, the main island chain, the Gilbert Islands, was ruled as part of the British Empire.
The country gained its independence in 1979 and has since been known as Kiribati.
Kiribati, officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean. Its islands are dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometers (1,351,000 square miles).