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Kiribati Flag

Up until 1979, Kiribati was known as The Gilbert Islands, and was a British protectorate along with the Ellice Islands to the south. Before independence, Kiribati used the British blue ensign with the shield from the Arms of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Protectorate, as did the Ellice Islands (now known as Tuvalu) from which the Gilberts had been partitioned in 1975.

Those arms had been granted in 1937 and showed a yellow Frigate bird above a rising sun over the Pacific Ocean, a theme that was used in the flag of Kiribati. The Frigate bird is a symbol of authority, freedom and traditional dances, the sun represents the equator, which passes through Kiribati, and the blue and white stripes represent the Pacific Ocean, 5 million sq. km of which belongs to Kiribati.

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