Key Facts

The Line Islands are the secondary chain of atolls making up the country of Kiribati and also include the unincorperated and uninhabited US territories of Kingman Reef and Jarvis Island and the incorporated US territory of the Palmyra Atoll, which is inhabited by only 4-25 researchers and US governmental staff at any time. The three other inhabited islands or atolls, Teraina, Tabuaeran and Kiritimati (spelled “Kirismas” = Christmas) host a total of 8,800 people. Finally, there is doubt over the existence and no claim on the so-called Filippo Reef, which is probably a phantom island that never existed. While the first European explorers who reached the Line Islands in the late 18th century all reported that the islands have no signs of any human history or current settlement, it has since been proven that Polynesians have indeed lived on the now inhabited islands and the tiny Caroline and Flint Islands for over 1000 years. The islands used to be British from 1888 until 1979, when Kiribati became independent. Most of the population today lives on the Kiritimati island, spread across the settlements of Tabwakea, London, Banana, Poland and Paris. The unusual names are often credits to missionaries (a French missionary lived in Paris) or engineers (a Polish engineered lived in the Poland settlement) who somehow helped the local population to settle.

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Not much is known about sports in the Line Islands. None of the i-Kiribati Olympician ever came from the Line Islands and it is thus unknown which kind of sport the locals play. Only in football, the islands do participate in the nationwide annual tournament that is played in Tarawa on the Gilbert Islands. In the latest 2019 edition, teams representing Teraina, Tebuaeran and Kiritimati all participated in the group stages of the tournament, while none of them made it to the semi finals.

Football on Kiritimati

Uncharted Football x Line Islands

As two of the Uncharted Football team members, Paul and Sascha, are linked to CONIFA, they are working with the Kiribati Island Football Association for several years now. Paul has helped to get football shirts, boots and balls over to Kiribati a few times to equip the local football scene with equipment, while Sascha has mostly helped getting the paperwork in order to finally join the the Oceanian football governing body OFC  and FIFA.

Uncharted Football plans a visit to Kiribati in 2020 to further inspect the status quo, the current needs and pathways for future development in the Line Islands and, hopefully, the other parts of the country.