Gilbert and Ellice Islands

Gilbert and Ellice Islands

Infobox Former Country
native_name = Gilbert and Ellice Islands
conventional_long_name =
common_name = Gilbert and Ellice Islands
continent = Oceania
region =
country =
era =
status = Colony
empire = British Empire
event_start = Protectorate
year_start = 1892
date_start = 1892
event1 = Colony
date_event1 = 1916
event2 =
date_event2 =
event_end =
year_end = 1976
date_end = January 1, 1976
p1 = British Western Pacific Territories
flag_p1 = Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
s1 = Kiribati
flag_s1 = Flag of Gilbert and Ellice Islands.svg
s2 = Tuvalu
flag_s2 = Flag of Tuvalu (1976-1978).svg

flag_type =

flag_type =

symbol_type =

image_map_caption = Location of Gilbert and Ellice Islands
capital =
national_motto =
national_anthem = "God Save the Queen"
common_languages = English
title_leader = King
leader1 = List of British monarchs
title_representative = High Commissioner
representative1 = List of High Commissioners
religion =
stat_area1 =
stat_pop1 =
stat_year1 =
currency = Pound sterling
government_type =
footnotes =|
The Gilbert and Ellice Islands were a British protectorate from 1892 and colony from 1916 until 1 January 1976 when the islands were divided into two different colonies which became independent nations shortly after. The Gilbert Islands have been the major part of the nation of Kiribati since 1979, and the Ellice Islands became Tuvalu in 1978.

The protectorate was generally established on this area (but not on these islands) by the Pacific Islands Protection Act of 1857, and then in 1877 for the Western Pacific Territories, but the protectorate on the Gilbert group and on the Ellice group was formal and effective only from 1892, and a High Commissioner was appointed in 1893. The islands became a Crown Colony on 12 January 1916. The colony's capital was mainly on Banaba Island (Ocean Island) and after World War II on Tarawa, first in Betio island then near Bairiki.

The sixteen islands of the Gilberts, declared a protectorate by Captain Davis, R. N. of HMS "Royalist" between 27 May and 17 June 1892, were discovered intermittently from perhaps as early as 1537 up to 1826. The Ellice Islands were declared a protectorate by Captain Gibson, R. N. of HMS "Curaçao" between 9th and 16 October of the same year; Banaba (or Ocean Island) was included within the protectorate in 1900 and then in the colony in 1916. In the same year, Fanning Island and Washington Island were included in it together with the islands of the Tokelau or Union Islands; Christmas Island was included in 1919 but was contested by the USA. The Tokelaus were detached in 1925 (but not formally until just after WWII); the Phoenix Islands were added in 1937 and the five islands of the Central and Southern Line Islands were added in 1972.

In 1974, ethnic differences within the colony caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands (later Kiribati). The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu.


The islands were named the Gilbert Islands in 1820 by a Russian admiral, Johann von Krusenstern, and French captain Louis Duperrey, after a British captain, Thomas Gilbert, who crossed the archipelago in 1788.

The Ellice Islands were named after Edward Ellice, a British politician and merchant, by Captain Arent de Peyster, who sighted the islands in 1819 sailing on the ship "Rebecca". Ellice owned the cargo of the ship.

Postage stamps

The Islands used their own postage stamps from 1911; see postage stamps and postal history of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands for more details.


Barrie Macdonald, "Cinderellas of the Empire": towards a history of Kiribati and Tuvalu, Suva, Fiji : Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, 2001, ISBN 982-02-0335-X (Australian National University Press, first published it in 1982).

Sir Arthur Grimble: "A Pattern of Islands". A sympathetic and often amusing account by a British official sent to the islands in his early 20's who stayed to become Commissioner.Not in print but available second hand. US title: "We Chose the Islands"

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gilbert and Ellice Islands —   [ gɪlbət ænd elɪs aɪlandz], ehemalige britische Kronkolonie im Pazifik, heute die Staaten Kiribati und Tuvalu …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Gilbert and Ellice Islands — Îles Gilbert et Ellice Pour les articles homonymes, voir Gilbert et Ellice (homonymie). Îles Gilbert et Ellice Gilbert and Ellice Islands …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gilbert and Ellice Islands — /el is/ a former British colony, comprising the Gilbert Islands (now Kiribati), the Ellice Islands (now Tuvalu), and other widely scattered islands in the central Pacific Ocean. * * * Former British colony, western central Pacific Ocean. The… …   Universalium

  • Gilbert and Ellice Islands — Gil′bert and El′lice Is′lands [[t]ˈɛl ɪs[/t]] n. pl. geg a former British colony, comprising the Gilbert Islands (now Kiribati), the Ellice Islands (now Tuvalu), and other widely scattered islands in the central Pacific Ocean …   From formal English to slang

  • Postage stamps and postal history of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands — Originally mail service to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands was ad hoc, depending on which ships were calling at the various islands. A regular service began in 1911; Edward VII postage stamps of Fiji were overprinted GILBERT ELLICE / PROTECTORATE… …   Wikipedia

  • Gilbert and Ellice Islands —  Equatorial islands in Pacific Ocean; part of the Republic of Kiribati …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Gilbert and Ellice Islands — /gɪlbət ən ˈɛləs/ (say gilbuht uhn eluhs) plural noun former name of Kiribati and Tuvalu …  

  • Gilbert and Ellice Islands — noun a former British possession in Micronesia • Instance Hypernyms: ↑possession • Part Holonyms: ↑Micronesia, ↑Federated States of Micronesia, ↑TT …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ellice Islands — Tuvalu …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gilbert- und Ellice-Inseln — Lage der Gilbert und Ellice Inseln Flagge der Gilbert und Ellice Inseln von 1937 1979 Als Gilbert und Ellice Inseln wurde eine …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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