Gilbert and Ellice Islands

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3-pence stamp of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, 1939

The Gilbert and Ellice Islands were a British protectorate from 1892 and colony from 1916. They are formed from two groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean. On 1 January 1976 the islands were split into two different colonies that became independent states. The Gilbert Islands have been the biggest part of the nation of Kiribati since 1979, and the Ellice Islands became Tuvalu in 1978.