Line Islands

Line Islands
Native name:
Teraina Islands
KI Line islands.PNG
Line Islands is located in Kiribati
Line Islands
Line Islands
Line Islands is located in Pacific Ocean
Line Islands
Line Islands
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates2°00′S 156°30′W / 2°00′S 156°30′W / -2; -156.5
Total islands11
Area503.28 km2 (194.32 sq mi)
Administrative divisionNone
Largest Island settlementKiritimati (pop. 6,447)
Statusunincorporated (Kingman Reef, and Jarvis Island)
Incorporated (Palmyra Atoll)
Map of Kiribati CIA WFB.png

The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of atolls (with partially or fully enclosed lagoons) and coral islands (with a surrounding reef). Kingman Reef is largely submerged and Filippo Reef is shown on some maps, although its existence is doubted. The islands were formed by volcanic activity and are located in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands. The 11 islands stretch for 2,350 kilometres (1,460 miles) in a northwest–southeast direction, making it one of the longest island chains of the world. Eight of the islands form part of Kiribati, while the remaining three (Kingman Reef, Palmyra Island and Jarvis Island) are United States territories grouped with the United States Minor Outlying Islands. Only Kiritimati and Tabuaeran atolls and Teraina Island have a permanent population.

The International Date Line passes through the Line Islands. The Line Islands that are part of Kiribati are in the world's farthest forward time zone, UTC+14:00. The time of day is the same as in the U.S. state of Hawaii, but the date is one day ahead. The time is 1 day and 2 hours ahead of some other islands in Oceania like Baker Island, which uses UTC−12:00.


Most 18th-century visitors to these isles overlooked the tell-tale signs of former Polynesian settlement. This is true of Captain Cook, who landed on Kiritimati (Christmas Is) in 1777, and Captain Fanning during his visits to Teraina (Washington Is) and Tabuaeran (Fanning Atoll) in 1798. Archaeologists have since identified remains of coral marae platforms and/or village complexes on all three, as well as on Malden, Millennium Atoll and Flint Island. These remains are dateable as far back as the 14th century, and show that the inhabitants of the Line Islands were more than just castaways.[1][better source needed]

Whaling ships were regular visitors to the islands in the 19th century, in search of water, wood and provisions. The first recorded visit was by the whaler Coquette to Christmas Island (Kiritimati) in 1822.[2] The islands of Fanning and Washington were annexed as part of the British Colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1916,[3] followed in 1919 by the similar annexation of Christmas Island.[4] However, these annexations were contested by the government of the United States, citing its Guano Islands Act of 1856, which allowed for very wide-ranging territorial claims. The latter claims persisted until relinquished under the Treaty of Tarawa, which recognised Kiribati's sovereignty over the majority of the Line Islands chain. In the meantime, the Line Islands featured briefly in biennial reports furnished by the Colony's resident commissioner to the Colonial Office and Parliament in London (e.g., see the 1966 and 1967 report[5]).

The group is geographically divided into three subgroups; The Northern, Central, and Southern Line Islands. The Central Line Islands are sometimes grouped with the Southern Line Islands. The table below lists the islands from North to South.

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Sòaⁿ Kûn-tó
беларуская: Лайн
български: Лайн (острови)
bosanski: Linijska ostrva
brezhoneg: Inizi al Linenn
čeština: Liniové ostrovy
Deutsch: Line Islands
Esperanto: Liniaj Insuloj
한국어: 라인 제도
Bahasa Indonesia: Kepulauan Line
íslenska: Línueyjar
עברית: איי ליין
Кыргызча: Лайн
latviešu: Lainas salas
lietuvių: Linijinės salos
Limburgs: Line-eilenj
македонски: Линиски Острови
მარგალური: ლაინიშ კოკეფი
Nederlands: Line-eilanden
日本語: ライン諸島
polski: Line Islands
română: Insulele Line
Simple English: Line Islands
slovenčina: Line Islands
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Linijski otoci
suomi: Linesaaret
svenska: Line Islands
татарча/tatarça: Лайн утраулары
Türkçe: Line Adaları
українська: Острови Лайн
Tiếng Việt: Quần đảo Line
粵語: 線島群島
中文: 莱恩群岛