Happy New Year, Kiritimati!

Kiritimati is the first inhabited place on Earth to experience the New Year each year.

Kiritimati or Christmas Island is a Pacific Ocean atoll in the northern Line Islands and part of the Republic of Kiribati was discovered by Captain James Cook on Christmas Eve (24 December) 1777. It was claimed by the United States under the Guano Islands Act of 1856, though little actual mining of guano took place.

The entire island is a Wildlife Sanctuary; access to five particularly sensitive areas is restricted.

The name “Kiritimati” is a rather straightforward transliteration of the English word “Christmas” into Gilbertese – where the ‘ti’ combination is pronounced ‘s’ – and thus pronounced [kəˈrɪsməs]. Similarly Kiribati is a transliteration of Gilberts with the K replacing the G and the R replacing the L.

This part of the Republic of Kiribati is in the world’s furthest forward time zone.

So we say- Happy New Year to 2010!


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