- Gilbert and Ellice Islands
Infobox Former Country
native_name = Gilbert and Ellice Islands
common_name = Gilbert and Ellice Islands
continent = Oceania
status = Colony
empire = British Empire
event_start = Protectorate
year_start = 1892
date_start = 1892
event1 = Colony
date_event1 = 1916
year_end = 1976
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
image_map_caption = Location of Gilbert and Ellice Islands
national_anthem = "
God Save the Queen"
common_languages = English
title_leader = King
List of British monarchs
representative1 = List of High Commissioners
currency = Pound sterling
footnotes =|The Gilbert and Ellice Islands were a British
protectoratefrom 1892 and colony from 1916 until 1 January 1976when the islands were divided into two different colonies which became independent nations shortly after. The Gilbert Islandshave been the major part of the nation of Kiribatisince 1979, and the Ellice Islandsbecame Tuvaluin 1978.
The protectorate was generally established on this area (but not on these islands) by the
Pacific Islands Protection Actof 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 Commissionerwas appointed in 1893. The islands became a Crown Colonyon 12 January 1916. The colony's capital was mainly on Banaba Island(Ocean Island) and after World War IIon Tarawa, first in Betioisland then near Bairiki.
The sixteen islands of the Gilberts, declared a
protectorateby Captain Davis, R. N. of HMS "Royalist" between 27 Mayand 17 June 1892, were discovered intermittently from perhaps as early as 1537 up to 1826. The Ellice Islands were declared a protectorateby Captain Gibson, R. N. of HMS "Curaçao" between 9th and 16 Octoberof 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 Islandand Washington Island were included in it together with the islands of the Tokelauor 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 Islandswere added in 1937 and the five islands of the Central and Southern Line Islandswere 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 Islandsin 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.
The Islands used their own
postage stamps from 1911; see postage stamps and postal history of the Gilbert and Ellice Islandsfor 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 UniversityPress, 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"
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.