Chain of islands, central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands. The Line Islands extend 1,600 mi (2,600 km) and have a land area of 193 sq mi (500 sq km). Of the northern group, Teraina (Washington) Island and the Tabuaeran (Fanning) and Kiritimati (Christmas) atolls belong to the Republic of Kiribati, while Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, and Jarvis Island are U.S. territories. Kiribati also holds the central group (Malden and Starbuck islands) and the southern group (Vostok and Flint islands and Caroline Atoll).
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The Line Islands, or Equatorial Islands, are a group of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean south of the Hawaiian Islands, eight of which belong to Kiribati, while three are United States territories grouped with the United States Minor Outlying Islands. Those that are part of the Republic of Kiribati are in the world's furthest forward time zone, UTC+14. The time of day is the same as in Hawaii, but the date is one day ahead. The time is 25 hours ahead of some other islands in Oceania.
All the islands in this group are or were claimed by the United States except Filippo Reef.
The group is geographically divided in three subgroups, Northern, Central, and Southern Line Islands. The Central Line Islands are sometimes grouped with the Southern Line Islands. The table is listing the islands from north to south.
|Northern Line Islands (Fanning's Group)|
|Kingman Reef||0.03||60||U.S. unincorporated territory|
|Palmyra Atoll||6.56||15||U.S. incorporated territory|
|Teraina (Washington Island)||14.2||2*||Kiribati Island Council|
|Tabuaeran (Fanning Island)||33.7||110||Kiribati Island Council|
|Kiritimati (Christmas Island)||c.322||c.320||Kiribati Island Council|
|Central Line Islands|
|Jarvis Island||4.45||-||U.S. unincorporated territory|
|Malden Island||39.3||13*||part of Kiribati|
|Filippo Reef||-||1.5||outside EEZ|
|Starbuck Island||21||25||part of Kiribati|
|Southern Line Islands|
|Caroline Island||3.76||2.5||part of Kiribati|
|Vostok Island||0.24||-||part of Kiribati|
|Flint Island||3||-||part of Kiribati|
* 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.
Only three islands are inhabited, with a total population of 8,809 (census of 2005), of which 5,115 are on Kiritimati, 2,539 on Tabuaeran, and 1,155 on Teraina. The total population of these three atolls in 1900 was about 300.
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. That cable functioned between 1902 and 1963 except for a short period in 1914.
Copra and "Petfish" are the main export products (with seaweed).