History 歷史背景

Legends and prehistory researches tell of the migrations to settle Kiribati were from south-east Asia and, much later, from Samoa in the 14th or 15th century A.D. In the 1500‟s these islands were sited by Spanish explorers and by 1788 the visiting British mariner Captain Thomas Gilbert gave them their first European name, “Gilbert Islands.” European discovery of the Western Pacific in the 18th century brought them into contact with the Chinese and other Pacific Islanders as well. These foreign populations have left many traces in the Gilbert Islands, both physical and cultural. I-Kiribati speak a language of the Austronesian family, which extends across Southeast Asia and most of the Pacific Islands.

On the 27th May and 17th June 1892, Kiribati became part of the British Protectorate and 16 islands of the Gilberts where declared a Protectorate by Captain E. H. M Davis, R. N. of H.M.S. Royalist. Banaba (Ocean Island) was included within the Protectorate in 1900. In 1916 the Protectorate became the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony (now Kiribati and Tuvalu). Kiribati was legally separated from Ellice Islands on October 1 1975, following an overwhelming support for separation in a referendum held in the previous year. Internal self-government was attained in two stages and it finally became the fully independent republic of Kiribati on 12th July 1979.

Tarawa Atoll and Butaritari Atoll, and other islands of the Gilbert group were occupied by Japan during World War II. Tarawa was the site of one of the bloodiest battles in US Marine Corps history. Marines landed in November 1943; with the Battle of Tarawa fought at Kiribati's former capital Betio on Tarawa Atoll.

根據傳說以及史前研究,吉里巴斯人的祖先是從東南亞遷移至此定居,到比較近期的 14 或 15 世紀,則有來自薩摩亞的移民。 16 世紀西班牙探險家觀測到這些島嶼,而到了 1788 年,來訪的英國船長湯馬士.吉爾伯特(Thomas Gilbert)替其命名為「吉爾伯特群島」。歐洲人在 18 世紀發現西太平洋,讓中國人和其他太平洋島國的居民接觸到這些群島。這些外來人口在吉爾伯特群島留下了許多實體和文化的蹤跡。吉里巴斯的語言屬於從東南亞分布到大多數太平洋島嶼的澳斯楚尼西亞(Austronesian)語系。

1892 年5月27日和6月17日,吉里巴斯成了英國保護領地的一部分,吉爾伯特群島的16座島嶼被皇家海軍 H.M.S. Royalist 戰艦的 E. H. M Davis 上校宣布為保護領地。巴納巴島(Banaba,亦稱大洋島 Ocean Island)在 1900 年被納入保護領地。 1916 年,保護領地成了「吉爾伯特及埃里斯群島」殖民地(Gilbert and Ellice Islands,現今的吉里巴斯和吐瓦魯)。1974 年埃里斯群島(現今的吐瓦魯)舉行公投,壓倒性多數的選民支持和吉爾伯特群島分離,於是在 1975 年10月1日兩組群島正式分開。吉爾伯特群島分兩階段達成內部自治,終於在 1979 年7月 12 日成為完全獨立的吉里巴斯共和國。

塔拉瓦環礁(Tarawa)、布塔里塔里環礁(Butaritari)和吉爾伯特群島(Gilbert)的其它島嶼在第二次世界大戰期間被日本佔領。在 1943 年11月,美國海軍陸戰隊由塔拉瓦環礁的比休島(Betio,吉里巴斯前首都)登陸,為史上中一場最血腥戰役「塔拉瓦戰役(Battle of Tarawa)」。