Line Islands

The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands, that stretches for 2,350 km 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 are United States territories grouped with the United States Minor Outlying Islands.

Those 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 Hawaiʻi, but the date is one day ahead. The time is 26 hours ahead of some other islands in Oceania like Baker Island which uses UTC−12:00.

The United States previously claimed all the Line Islands under the Guano Islands Act. This claim was relinquished under the Treaty of Tarawa, which recognised Kiribati's sovereignty over the majority of the chain.

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.

Atoll/Island/Reef Island Area
km²
Lagoon
km²
Population Coordinates Status

Northern Line Islands (Fanning's Group)

Kingman Reef 0.01 60 0 6°24′N 162°24′W / 6.4°N 162.4°W / 6.4; -162.4 (Kingman Reef) U.S. unincorporated territory
Palmyra Atoll 3.9 8 4 5°52′N 162°6′W / 5.867°N 162.1°W / 5.867; -162.1 (Palmyra Atoll) U.S. incorporated territory
Teraina (Washington Island) 9.55 2* 1,155 4°43′N 160°24′W / 4.717°N 160.4°W / 4.717; -160.4 (Teraina) part of Kiribati
Tabuaeran (Fanning Island) 33.73 110 2,539 3°52′N 159°22′W / 3.867°N 159.367°W / 3.867; -159.367 (Tabuaeran) part of Kiribati
Kiritimati (Christmas Island) 388.39 217.61 5,115 1°53′N 157°24′W / 1.883°N 157.4°W / 1.883; -157.4 (Kiritimati) part of Kiribati

Central Line Islands

Jarvis Island 5 - 0 0°22′S 160°03′W / 0.367°S 160.05°W / -0.367; -160.05 (Jarvis Island) U.S. unincorporated territory
Malden Island 39.3 13* 0 4°01′S 154°59′W / 4.017°S 154.983°W / -4.017; -154.983 (Malden Island) part of Kiribati
Filippo Reef - 1.5 0 5°30′S 151°50′W / 5.5°S 151.833°W / -5.5; -151.833 (Filippo Reef) outside EEZ (existence uncertain)
Starbuck Island 16.2 4* 0 5°37′S 155°56′W / 5.617°S 155.933°W / -5.617; -155.933 (Starbuck Island) part of Kiribati

Southern Line Islands

Caroline Island 3.76 6.3 0 9°57′S 150°13′W / 9.95°S 150.217°W / -9.95; -150.217 (Caroline Island) part of Kiribati
Vostok Island 0.24 - 0 10°06′S 152°25′W / 10.1°S 152.417°W / -10.1; -152.417 (Vostok Island) part of Kiribati
Flint Island 3.2 0.01* 0 11°26′S 151°48′W / 11.433°S 151.8°W / -11.433; -151.8 (Flint Island) part of Kiribati
Line Islands 503.28 422.42 8,813

* The lagoon areas marked with an asterisk are contained within the island areas of the previous column because they are, unlike in the case of a typical atoll, inland waters completely sealed off from the sea.

Kiritimati is the largest atoll in the world in terms of land area. The islands were annexed by Britain in 1888 with a view to laying the Pacific cable, with Tabuaeran (then Fanning Island) as a relay station. The cable was laid and was operational between 1902 and 1963 except for a short period in 1914.

Copra and "Petfish" are the main export products (with seaweed).

Famous quotes containing the words line and/or islands:

    Today, the notion of progress in a single line without goal or limit seems perhaps the most parochial notion of a very parochial century.
    Lewis Mumford (1895–1990)

    we are so many
    and many within themselves
    travel to far islands but no one
    asks for their story....
    Denise Levertov (b. 1923)