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Tarawa - The Republic Of Kiribati's Capital


The Republic of Kiribati's capital, Tarawa, is located on an atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is made up of North Tarawa, which has 6,629 people and is similar to other, more remote islands in the Gilberts group.

South Tarawa, as of 2015 had 56,388 people, or half of the country's total population. Tarawa is an ancient Gilbertese form for Te Rawa, meaning "The Passage," since Tarawa is quite a unique atoll in Kiribati, having a big ship passage or canal to the lagoon.

In the popular etymology based on Kiribati mythology, Nareau, the God-spider, distinguished Karawa, the sky, from Marawa, the sea, and from Tarawa, the land. The atoll was the site of the Battle of Tarawa during World War II.

Climate Of Tarawa Island

Tarawa features a tropical rainforest climate under the Köppen climate classification. The climate is pleasant from April to October, with predominant northeastern winds and stable temperatures at close to 30 °C. From November to March, western gales bring rain and occasional cyclones.

COPYRIGHT_JANE: Published on https://www.janeresture.com/tarawa/ by Jane Resture on 2022-10-03T07:04:42.707Z

Precipitation varies significantly between islands. The annual average is 3,000 mm in the north and 500 mm in the south of the Gilbert Islands. Most of these islands are in the dry belt of the equatorial oceanic climatic zone and experience prolonged droughts.

Tarawa Island Coastal View
Tarawa Island Coastal View

The History Of Tarawa Island

Thomas Gilbert, captain of the East India Company vessel Charlotte, was the first European to describe Tarawa, arriving on June 20th, 1788. He called it Matthew Island, after the owner of his ship, the Charlotte. He named the lagoon Charlotte Bay. Gilbert's sketches from 1788 still exist.

The Tarawa Post Office opened on January 1, 1911. Sir Arthur Grimble was a cadet administrative officer stationed at Tarawa in 1926 when he was named Resident Commissioner of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony.

Tarawa was a Japanese-held territory during World War II, and on November 20, 1943, the bloody Battle of Tarawa took place there. On that day, United States Marines landed on Tarawa and suffered heavy losses from Japanese soldiers occupying entrenched positions on the atoll.

To upgrade the main road that passes through Tarawa from a dirt road, the Kiribati government started a road restoration project in 2014 that was partially funded by the World Bank.

The Geography Of Tarawa Island

North Tarawa, which is made up of the developed islands at the south of the atoll, west of the airport at Bonriki, and where the vast majority of the population resides, and South Tarawa, which consists of the tiny islands extending north of the airport and has a population of fewer than 7,000, are divided administratively.

Arriving in Tarawa, Kiribati

Supply By Boat To Tarawa Island

Supply boats occasionally depart Fiji. There’s no point quoting schedules or details as there are none. Just ask around in Suva, Nadi, or Lautoka harbors. Captains usually accept hitchhikers for a small fee.

Prepare for the worst: no comfort, bad food. And for the best: excellent company, Polynesian and Micronesian hospitality, and adventure. Private yachts cruising the Pacific sometimes also take passengers.

The Battle Of Tarawa

In the Battle of Tarawa during World War II, the U.S. opened its Central Pacific Campaign against Japan by conquering the highly defended, Japanese-held island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. The 18,000 U.S. It was anticipated that the Marines sent to tiny Betio would easily secure it, but issues quickly surfaced.

People Also Ask

Do People Live On Tarawa Island?

In Tarawa, there are a lot of people living there. Most people reside in single-story housing.

Who Lives On Tarawa?

On South Tarawa, to the east of Betio, nearly 120,000 people call Kiribati their home.

What Is Tarawa Called Today?

The Republic of Kiribati's capital, Tarawa, is located on an atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.


A perfect place to visit and enjoy the summer holidays! Tarawa, a coral atoll of the Gilbert Islands and capital of Kiribati, in the west-central Pacific Ocean. It sits 2,800 miles northeast of Australia and is the most populated atoll in the Gilberts.

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About The Authors

Jane Resture

Jane Resture - Since she embarked on her first world trip in 2002, Jane Resture spent the past decades sharing her personal journey and travel tips with people around the world. She has traveled to over 80 countries and territories, where she experienced other cultures, wildlife she had only read about in books, new foods, new people, and new amazing experiences. Jane believes that travel is for everyone and it helps us learn about ourselves and the world around us. Her goal is to help more people from more backgrounds experience the joy of exploration because she trusts that travel opens the door to the greatest, most unforgettable experiences life can offer and this builds a kinder, more inclusive, more open-minded world.

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