[ Kiritimati map]
Kiritimati or Christmas Island is a Pacific Ocean coral atoll in the northern Line Islands. It is part of the Republic of Kiribati. The vast majority of the people in Kirimati speak Gilbertese (or I-Kiribati). English, which is the official language, is also widely spoken, especially on Tarawa. The island has a population of 6,000.
Nuclear tests were conducted on and around Christmas Island by the United Kingdom in the late 1950s, and by the United States in 1962. During these tests the island was not evacuated. Therefore, British, New Zealand, and Fijian servicemen, as well as local islanders, were exposed to radiation from the blasts.