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The Earliest Place On Earth: Kiribati 🗿
Kiribati straddles the international date line. Their solution: make a new time zone! (🗿Amazing Places Series)
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The Earliest Place on Earth:
One of the strangest things about the Diomede Islands is that they are in different days despite being only 2.5 miles apart. Diomede is not the only place like that. There’s actually a chain of islands in the Pacific that has its own time, the earliest time on earth.
Kiribati (pronounced “Kiribas”) is a country made up of small islands in the pacific that is far away from most other places. Its islands are spread out over 1.4 million miles of ocean. From end to end its like going from Chicago to LA, but its total land is only about half the size of the city of LA. It’s actually the only country in the world that sits in all 4 hemispheres.
The country’s islands span across the international date line, so that means that different parts of the country are in different days. In an effort to sync business days for ppl working on both sides of the nation, in 1995, Kiribati moved the international date line around its islands. So instead of a 24-hour difference, they made 2 new time zones to put everything on the same day. That gave the farthest islands of Kiribati - called the line islands - the earliest time zone on earth. The 8000 people that live there are technically the first to experience a new day and the first to celebrate the new year.
They actually renamed one of the islands Millennium Island in honor of being the first to pass the new millennium.
The moving of the date line had some funky consequences. Other places nearby that share virtually the same sunrise and sunset, like Hawaii, are actually experiencing a completely different day.
Kiribati is a fascinating place for lots of other reasons too. It’s one of the world’s most endangered nations due to rising seas, so the government bought 5500 acres in Fiji to relocate its population. Yes, they bought land in another country to move their country. Let’s hope they don’t have to.
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