Thanks to information received from Sorin Cosoveanu, I've added populations from the 2010 census, and revised the areas to what I assume are the current official figures. He also pointed me to source , from which I gleaned information about further subdivisions.
Erratum: the Gilbert Islands were named for Thomas Gilbert, not Joseph Gilbert.
Kiribati is one of those countries where it's hard to know how to specify the capital. At independence, the government was seated in the town of Bairiki, which is in Teinainano Urban Council, which is the southern part of Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. More recently, the Parliament moved to Ambo, which is also in Teinainano. Many sources list Tarawa as the capital of Kiribati, but some give Bairiki. The largest dimension of Tarawa isn't much more than 20 miles, and Bairiki is about 5 miles from Ambo, but on a different island.
|Language||English (en), Gilbertese|
|Time zone||(see table)|
The British Empire acquired the islands composing this country over the years, a few at a time, as protectorates. On 1915-11-12 a colony was created, under the name of Gilbert and Ellice Islands. As time went by, the colony was augmented by the Phoenix Islands, the Union Islands, and the Line Islands. The Union Islands were offered to New Zealand. On 1926-02-11, New Zealand took over their administration. On 1949-01-01 they became an overseas territory of New Zealand under the name of Tokelau Islands. Due to a territorial dispute, the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to form a condominium of Canton and Enderbury Islands on 1939-04-06. The Gilbert and Ellice Islands were occupied by Japan during World War II. On 1975-10-01, the Ellice Islands broke off as a separate country, Tuvalu. The remaining territory was renamed the Gilbert Islands. It became independent and took the name Kiribati on 1979-07-12. Shortly afterward, the United States renounced its claim to Canton, Enderbury, and other islands in the Phoenix and Line groups.
Gilbertese form of Gilbert[ Island]s, for Thomas Gilbert, ship captain
Kiribati is divided into three island groups. They have no administrative function, but serve as a convenient geographical subdivision of Kiribati.
Kiribati is divided into 23 island councils, 3 town councils, and unorganized territory. Source  reaffirms this, but also contains a table of provinces, showing the country divided into Northern, Central, Southern, and Northern Line Islands. Judging from populations, the first three are equivalent to Gilbert Islands and the last one contains all the populated places in Line Islands and Phoenix Islands.
The sequence of groups from west to east and their approximate limits of longitude is Gilbert, 180°, Phoenix, 165° W., Line.
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