As the story goes, back in 1995, President Teburoro Tito adjusted the International Date Line on the island of Kiribati. Originally in 1995 the International Date Line bisected the main island, so he had it moved to the west of the Line Islands, a Kiribati possession. This move also made Tonga and the easternmost parts of New Zealand, are at least an hour east of the International Date Line. Therefore by this change, Kiribati was the first country to reach 12:01 AM on January 1, 2000.
January 1st 2000, 1995
Head of State(s):
President Teburoro Tito
Island of Kiribati
- Date Line Politics
How did the Republic of Kiribati become the first country to enter the new millenium? By shifting the International Date Line more than 2,000 miles east. So that it will be 2000 in Kiribati while it’s still 1999 in Hawaii.
- Millennium celebrations
Some countries in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and hence close to the International Date Line engaged in “Millennium politics” to argue they were the first to enter the new millennium. Variously, the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji and Kiribati all laid debatable claims to the status – by moving the dateline itself, institution of daylight savings and claiming “first territory”, “first land”, “first inhabited land” or “first city”.
- Millennium Celebrations – Millennium Island
The dawn of the new millennium of the year 2000 was first experienced by the people of the Pacific Island nation of the Republic of Kiribati.