Kiritimati is an island in
the Pacific Ocean in the island-nation of Kiribati. In 1892 Great
Britain annexed the Ellis Islands, Phoenix Islands, Line Islands and
Ocean Islands. In 1915 they became the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Crown
Colony. In 1974 Tuvalu voted to separate from the Gilberts (now known
as Kiribati), and did so in 1978.
In Gilbertese, the language of Kiribati, "ti" is
pronounced as a sibilent "s", so Kiritimati is pronounced Kee-rees-mas
or "Christmas. The map on the stamp below shows a silhouette map of
Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean. It was discovered on Christmas
Day, 1777 by James Cook, hence its name.
There is another, better
known Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean off the icoast of Java.
Some say It
was discovered on Christmas Day 1643 by Captain William Mynors of the
British East India Company. Others say no one knows who discovered it,