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Kiribati (where ti is pronounced s) is a republic in the Pacific Ocean consisting of thirty-six islands and numerous uninhabited coral atolls, spread over 3.5 million square kilometres of ocean, and situated near the International Date Line where it crosses the Equator. The islands were settled by Micronesian people dating as early as 3000 BC, and subsequently influenced by Polynesian and Melanesian cultures. The island group was named the Gilbert Islands after British captain Thomas Gilbert in 1820, and the first British settlers arrived in the region in 1837. The Gilbert and Ellice Islands were proclaimed a protectorate in 1892, and formally became a British Crown colony in 1916. In 1975, Ellice Islands constitutionally separated from the Gilbert Islands and became Tuvalu, with the Gilbert Islands obtaining self-government. Independence was recognized in 1979 and the islands renamed the Republic of Kiribati. The capital and largest city is South Tarawa. Estimated population of Kiribati in 2010 was 103,500.