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Australia-Oceania :: Pitcairn Islands
(overseas territory of the UK)
Page last updated on September 01, 2015
 
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Pitcairn Islands
  • Introduction :: PITCAIRN ISLANDS

  • Pitcairn Island was discovered in 1767 by the British and settled in 1790 by the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. Pitcairn was the first Pacific island to become a British colony (in 1838) and today remains the last vestige of that empire in the South Pacific. Outmigration, primarily to New Zealand, has thinned the population from a peak of 233 in 1937 to less than 50 today.
  • Geography :: PITCAIRN ISLANDS

  • Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about midway between Peru and New Zealand
    25 04 S, 130 06 W
    Oceania
    total: 47 sq km
    land: 47 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 234
    about three-tenths the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    51 km
    territorial sea: 3 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; hot and humid; modified by southeast trade winds; rainy season (November to March)
    rugged volcanic formation; rocky coastline with cliffs
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Big Ridge 347 m
    miro trees (used for handicrafts), fish
    note: manganese, iron, copper, gold, silver, and zinc have been discovered offshore
    agricultural land: 0%
    arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
    forest: 74.5%
    other: 25.5% (2011 est.)
    NA
    typhoons (especially November to March)
    deforestation (only a small portion of the original forest remains because of burning and clearing for settlement)
    Britain's most isolated dependency; only the larger island of Pitcairn is inhabited but it has no port or natural harbor; supplies must be transported by rowed longboat from larger ships stationed offshore
  • People and Society :: PITCAIRN ISLANDS

  • noun: Pitcairn Islander(s)
    adjective: Pitcairn Islander
    descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives
    English (official), Pitkern (mixture of an 18th century English dialect and a Tahitian dialect)
    Seventh-Day Adventist 100%
    48 (July 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 238
    0% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    urban population: 0% of total population (2012)
    rate of urbanization: NA
    NA
    total: NA
    male: NA
    female: NA
    total population: NA
    male: NA
    female: NA
    NA
    NA
    NA
    NA
  • Government :: PITCAIRN ISLANDS

  • conventional long form: Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands
    conventional short form: Pitcairn Islands
    overseas territory of the UK
    NA
    name: Adamstown
    geographic coordinates: 25 04 S, 130 05 W
    time difference: UTC-9 (4 hours behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926); Discovery Day, 2 July (1767)
    several previous; latest made 10 February 2010, presented 17 February 2010, effective 4 March 2010 (2010)
    local island by-laws
    18 years of age; universal with three years residency
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by UK High Commissioner to New Zealand and Governor (nonresident) of the Pitcairn Islands Jonathan SINCLAIR (since August 2014); Commissioner (nonresident) Leslie JAQUES (since September 2003) serves as liaison between the governor and the Island Council
    head of government: Mayor and Chairman of the Island Council Shawn CHRISTIAN (since 13 November 2013)
    cabinet: none
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor and commissioner appointed by the monarch; island mayor directly elected by majority popular vote for a 3-year term; election last held on 12 November 2013 (next to be held not later than December 2016)
    election results: Shawn CHRISTIAN elected mayor and chairman of the Island Council; Island Council vote count in third round - Shawn CHRISTIAN 20, Simon YOUNG 19
    description: unicameral Island Council (10 seats; 4 members directly elected by proportional representation vote, 1 nominated by the elected Council members, 2 appointed by the governor, and 3 ex-officio members - the governor, deputy governor, and commissioner; elected members serve 1-year terms)
    elections: last held on 13 November 2013 (next to be held not later than December 2015)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - 5 independents
    highest resident court(s): Pitcairn Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, 2 judges, and the Supreme Court chief justice (ex-officio member); Pitcairn Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 2 judges); note - appeals beyond the Pitcairn Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London); the Court of Appeal was established in 2000 by an Order in Council
    judge selection and term of office: all judges of both courts appointed by the governor of the Pitcairn Islands on the instructions of the Queen of England through the Secretary of State; all judges appointed until retirement, normally at age 75
    subordinate courts: Magistrate's Court
    none
    none
    SPC, UPU
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Pitcairn Islander coat of arms centered on the outer half of the flag; the green, yellow, and blue of the shield represents the island rising from the ocean; the green field features a yellow anchor surmounted by a bible (both the anchor and the bible were items found on the HMS Bounty); sitting on the crest is a Pitcairn Island wheelbarrow from which springs a slip of miro (a local plant)
    name: "We From Pitcairn Island"
    lyrics/music: unknown/Frederick M. LEHMAN
    note: serves as a local anthem; as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)
  • Economy :: PITCAIRN ISLANDS

  • The inhabitants of this tiny isolated economy exist on fishing, subsistence farming, handicrafts, and postage stamps. The fertile soil of the valleys produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including citrus, sugarcane, watermelons, bananas, yams, and beans. Bartering is an important part of the economy. The major sources of revenue are the sale of postage stamps to collectors and the sale of handicrafts to passing ships.
    $NA
    honey; wide variety of fruits and vegetables; goats, chickens; fish
    postage stamps, handicrafts, beekeeping, honey
    15 (2004)
    country comparison to the world: 233
    note: no business community in the usual sense; some public works; subsistence farming and fishing
    revenues: $746,000
    expenditures: $1.028 million (FY04/05)
    1 April - 31 March
    $NA
    fruits, vegetables, curios, postage stamps
    $NA
    fuel oil, machinery, building materials, flour, sugar, other foodstuffs
    New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -
    1.206 (2014)
    1.2187 (2013)
    1.23 (2012)
    1.263 (2011)
    1.3874 (2010)
  • Communications :: PITCAIRN ISLANDS

  • general assessment: satellite-based phone services
    domestic: local phone service with international connections via Internet
    international: country code - 872; satellite earth station - 1 (Inmarsat)
    satellite TV from Fiji-based Sky Pacific offering a wide range of international channels
    AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (15 ham radio operators (VP6)) (2004)
    .pn
    satellite-based local phone service and broadband Internet connections available in all homes
  • Transportation :: PITCAIRN ISLANDS

  • major seaport(s): Adamstown (on Bounty Bay)
  • Military :: PITCAIRN ISLANDS

  • defense is the responsibility of the UK
  • Transnational Issues :: PITCAIRN ISLANDS

  • none
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