Banaba - A Promised Land in the Diaspora
The forgotten people of the Pacific
Banaba (/bəˈnɑːbə/; also Ocean Island), an island of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean, and as a solitary raised coral island west of the Gilbert Island chain, it is the Westernmost of Kiribati, that is 185 miles (298 km) east of Nauru.
It has an area of 6.0 km and the highest point on the island is also the highest point in Kiribati, at 81 metres (266 ft) high.
Along with Nauru and Makatea (French Polynesia), it is one of the important elevated phosphate-rich islands of the Pacific.
Banabans are Micronesians with a language that is very similar to the Gilbertese language of Kiribati.
The Banaban population was moved from the island of Banaba (Ocean Island), then in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands and now in Kiribati, to Rabi in eastern Fiji in 1942, when the British Phosphate Commission was mining it.
Between 1900 and 1979 almost Ocean Island’s entire surface was removed.
Many Banabans remain on the island of Rabi (Vanua Levu), though others have migrated to Suva and elsewhere.