Battlefield Tourism in Kiribati

The anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War, in then Japanese-controlled Kiribati, has been marked in the Pacific nation today.

20 November marks the 77th anniversary of the start of the US Marines invasion.

The Islands of Kiribati lay claim to a number of the bloodiest battles that were fought out in World War II. Seventy years on and much of the evidence of these battles still remain available for travellers to view as a living museum of this part of history; in particular Tarawa, Butaritari and Abemama of the Gilbert group, and Banaba island.

Tarawa, Photo from

To mark the occasion the Tourism Authority of Kiribati released a series of videos and personal interviews from the i-Kiribati survivors of the 1943 battles of Tarawa and Makin.

The locally produced videos share very personal stories of trauma and survival by i-Kiribati children who witnessed the atrocities of the war first hand.

The Authority’s Marketing Head, Sarah Teetu, said the stories of the battles hold a significant place in Kiribati’s history.

The remnants of the Second World War are still visible throughout Kiribati and the Authority wants to encourage battlefield travellers to visit.

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