coral and phosphate formation, part of Kiribati, in the west-central Pacific Ocean. It is located 250 miles (400 km) west of the nearest Gilbert Islands and has a circumference of about 6 miles (10 km). Banaba is the location of the highest point in Kiribati, reaching 285 feet (87 metres) above sea level. Sighted in 1804 by the British ship Ocean, the island was annexed by Britain in 1900. In that same year the mining and shipping of phosphate from the island began. By the early 1970s, annual production reached a high of 550,000 tons, but deposits were exhausted by the time of Kiribati's independence in 1979. The island was made part of the crown colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1919 and was occupied by Japanese forces from 1942 to 1945. The Japanese deported many of the local Micronesian inhabitants (including both Banabans and Gilbertese) to the Gilbert and Caroline islands and in August 1945, after Japan had already agreed to the terms of surrender, massacred all but one of the remaining 150 Gilbertese
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