Pitcairn Islands

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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

Location

Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about midway between Peru and New Zealand

Geographic coordinates

25.04° S, 130.06° W

Area 234/257

total: 47 sq km

land: 47 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

about three-tenths the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

51 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; hot and humid; modified by southeast trade winds; rainy season (November to March)

Terrain

rugged volcanic formation; rocky coastline with cliffs

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Big Ridge 347 m

Natural resources

miro trees (used for handicrafts), fish

note: manganese, iron, copper, gold, silver, and zinc have been discovered offshore

Land use

agricultural land: 0%

arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%

forest: 74.5%

other: 25.5% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

typhoons (especially November to March)

Environment - current issues

deforestation (only a small portion of the original forest remains because of burning and clearing for settlement)

Geography - note

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

Nationality

noun: Pitcairn Islander(s)

adjective: Pitcairn Islander

Ethnic groups

descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives

Languages

English (official), Pitkern (mixture of an 18th century English dialect and a Tahitian dialect)

Religions

Seventh-Day Adventist 100%

Population 238/238

48 (July 2014 est.)

Population growth rate 198/233

0% (2014 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 0% of total population (2012)

rate of urbanization: NA

Sex ratio

NA

Infant mortality rate

total: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Life expectancy at birth

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Total fertility rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands

conventional short form: Pitcairn Islands

etymology: named after Midshipman Robert PITCAIRN who first sighted the island in 1767

Government type

NA

Capital

name: Adamstown

geographic coordinates: 25.04° S, 130.05° W

time difference: UTC-9 (4 hours behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Independence

none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926); Discovery Day, 2 July (1767)

Constitution

several previous; latest drafted 10 February 2010, presented 17 February 2010, effective 4 March 2010 (2015)

Legal system

local island by-laws

Citizenship

see United Kingdom

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal with three years residency

Executive branch

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

Legislative branch

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 independent

Judicial branch

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

Political parties and leaders

none

Political pressure groups and leaders

none

International organization participation

SPC, UPU

Flag description

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)

National anthem

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

Economy - overview

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.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$NA

Agriculture - products

honey; wide variety of fruits and vegetables; goats, chickens; fish

Industries

postage stamps, handicrafts, beekeeping, honey

Labor force 233/233

15 (2004)

Labor force - by occupation

note: no business community in the usual sense; some public works; subsistence farming and fishing

Budget

revenues: $746,000

expenditures: $1.028 million (FY04/05)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Exports

$NA

Exports - commodities

fruits, vegetables, curios, postage stamps

Imports

$NA

Imports - commodities

fuel oil, machinery, building materials, flour, sugar, other foodstuffs

Exchange rates

New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -

1.45 (2015)

1.22 (2013)

1.22 (2013)

1.23 (2012)

1.26 (2011)

Communications

Telephone system

general assessment: satellite-based phone services

domestic: local phone service with international connections via Internet

international: country code - 872; satellite earth station - 1 (Inmarsat)

Broadcast media

satellite TV from Fiji-based Sky Pacific offering a wide range of international channels

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (15 ham radio operators (VP6)) (2004)

Internet country code

.pn

Internet hosts 217/232

26 (2012)

Transportation

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Adamstown (on Bounty Bay)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none