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     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.

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     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, or when.

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