|The Gilbert Islands of the south Pacific were made a British protectorate in 1892. The indigenous inhabitants were primarily Micronesians but that did not stop Britain from bringing together the Gilberts and the Ellice Islands (mostly Polynesians) in 1915 as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. During World War II, the Japanese occupied the Gilberts, but the Allies were successful in recapturing them in 1943, reportedly with some of the worst fighting seen in the Pacific theater. Self-rule was granted in 1971 and four years later, the Ellice Islands became Tuvalu. The next year, the Gilberts declared independence as well, becoming Kiribati.