Because the islands that compose it are spread widely apart, the South Pacific nation of Kiribati is the only country on Earth that resides in all four hemispheres simultaneously.
While at face-value this may seem like trivia, something to say at a party to sound worldly, the uniquely expansive geography of Kiribati has actually played an important role in the country’s history, as well as instigated one of the most interesting geographic events of the last fifty years. An event that not only changed Kiribati forever, but the entire geography of the South Pacific, and even our understanding of what it means to map our planet.
However, without context, that statement seems a little ambitious, so let’s start with a little history.
Like many South Pacific island nations, Kiribati was once a European colony…
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