The flag of Kiribati consists of the upper half — red with a yellow frigate bird flying over a yellow rising sun, and the lower half — blue with three horizontal wavy white stripes to represent the ocean.
The British acquired extensive colonies and protectorates in the Pacific Ocean during the 19th century, including the Gilbert Islands, with their Micronesian population, and the nearby Ellice Islands, which were dominated by Polynesians. In anticipation of independence from Britain, a referendum was held and the two territories were separated in 1976. The former Gilbert Islands were proclaimed the independent Republic of Kiribati, the name being simply the local spelling and pronunciation of "Gilberts". The new flag, hoisted at independence on July 12, 1979, was based on the coat of arms granted to the islands in 1937.
Abemama kingdom, April 15, 1884 – June 28, 1884
Abemama kingdom, June 28, 1884 – 1889
Abemama kingdom, 1889-1895
British Gilbert Islands, 1895-1937
Gilbert and Ellice Islands, May 1937 – October 1, 1975
British Gilbert Islands, October 1, 1975 – July 12, 1979