The Only Country to Span All Four Hemispheres
Hint: It's not America (though I'm sure you could have guessed that).
Hi! I’m Joey, founder of Fun Fact Friyay — the newsletter for curious people. In today’s issue, we’re getting our world travel on.
Kiribati is the only country that’s in all four hemispheres.
The island nation of Kiribati is home to about 120,740 people, making it the 178th most populous country (in between St. Lucia and Grenada, if you’re scoring at home).
Kiribati is made up of Banaba, a stationary island, and 32 atolls across the Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands, and Line Islands.
Because of how far those islands are spread out, Kiribati has a presence in the North, South, West, and East hemispheres. In fact, its total diameter is technically larger than that of Australia.
Despite this cool claim to fame, Kiribati has some economic troubles — namely, it has very few natural resources. It had lucrative phosphate minerals, but that supply had disappeared by the time the country gained its independence in 1979.
Kiribati’s only other major exports include fish and copra, which is the inner part of a coconut (not to be confused with Copra Kai, the straight-to-DVD spin-off of The Karate Kid).
So, Kiribati mainly subsists on imports and makes money through fishing licenses, work remittances, aid from other countries, and tourists.
A few other notable things about the country:
Kids start school at age six and have free education for nine years.
The country was used for nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s by the U.S. and British governments. And they didn’t even evacuate the islands, which seems like a terrible idea.
The Bokikokiko, seen here doing a pull-up on a branch, is the only land wildlife species endemic to Kiribati.
The next time you stop outside, give a little tip of the cap to Kiribati. It’ll see you no matter which hemisphere you’re in.
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