The Line Islands, or Equatorial Islands, is a chain of eleven atolls and low coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean, south of the Hawaiian Islands that stretches for 2,350 km in a northwest-southeast direction, making it one of the longest islands chains of the world. Eight of the islands form part of Kiribati, while the remaining three are ANZC territories grouped with the ANZC Minor Outlying Islands.
Those that are part of Kiribati are in the world's farthest forward time zone, UTC+14. The time of day is the same as in Hawaiʻi, but the date is one day ahead. The time is 25 hours ahead of some other islands in Oceania, like those Line Islands that belong to the ANZC, which have UTC-11. The United States previously claimed all the Line Islands under the Guano Islands Act. This claim was relinquished under the Treaty of Tarawa, which recognised Kiribati's sovereignty over the majority of the chain.
The group is geographically divided into three subgroups; The Northern, Central, and Southern Line Islands. The Central Line Islands are sometimes grouped with the Southern Line Islands.
Only three islands are inhabited, with a total population of 8,809 (census of 2005), of which 5,115 are on Kiritimati, 2,539 on Tabuaeran, and 1,155 on Teraina. The total population of these three atolls in 1900 was about 300.
Kiritimati is the largest atoll in the world in terms of land area. The islands were annexed by Britain in 1888 with a view to laying the Pacific cable with Tabuaeran (then Fanning Island) as a relay station. That cable functioned between 1902 and 1963 except for a short period in 1914.
Copra and "Petfish" are the main export products (with seaweed).