Introduction ::Christmas Island
Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK in 1888. Phosphate mining began in the 1890s. The UK transferred sovereignty to Australia in 1958. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.
Geography ::Christmas Island
Southeastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia
10 30 S, 105 40 E
total: 135 sq km
country comparison to the world: 221
land: 135 sq km
water: 0 sq km
about three-quarters the size of Washington, DC
0 km
138.9 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Current Weather
tropical with a wet season (December to April) and dry season; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds
steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Murray Hill 361 m
phosphate, beaches
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (mainly tropical rainforest; 63% of the island is a national park) (2005)
the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
loss of rainforest; impact of phosphate mining
located along major sea lanes of Indian Ocean
People ::Christmas Island
1,402 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 233
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
0% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
NA (2009 est.)
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
noun: Christmas Islander(s)
adjective: Christmas Island
Chinese 70%, European 20%, Malay 10%
note: no indigenous population (2001)
Buddhist 36%, Muslim 25%, Christian 18%, other 21% (1997)
English (official), Chinese, Malay
Government ::Christmas Island
conventional long form: Territory of Christmas Island
conventional short form: Christmas Island
non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department
name: The Settlement
geographic coordinates: 10 25 S, 105 43 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
none (territory of Australia)
none (territory of Australia)
Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
Christmas Island Act of 1958-59 (1 October 1958) as amended by the Territories Law Reform Act of 1992
under the authority of the governor general of Australia and Australian law
18 years of age
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) represented by the Australian governor general
head of government: Administrator Brian LACY (since 5 October 2009)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia and represents the monarch and Australia
unicameral Christmas Island Shire Council (9 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held on 17 October 2009 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 9
Supreme Court; District Court; Magistrate's Court
none (territory of Australia)
none (territory of Australia)
territorial flag; divided diagonally from upper hoist to lower fly; the upper triangle is green with a yellow image of the Golden Bosun Bird superimposed, the lower triangle is blue with the Southern Cross constellation, representing Australia, superimposed; a centered yellow disk displays a green map of the island
note: the flag of Australia is used for official purposes
Economy ::Christmas Island
Phosphate mining had been the only significant economic activity, but in December 1987 the Australian government closed the mine. In 1991, the mine was reopened. With the support of the government, a $34 million casino opened in 1993, but closed in 1998.
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
tourism, phosphate extraction (near depletion)
consumer goods
Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar - 1.2894 (2009), 1.2059 (2008), 1.2137 (2007), 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005)
Communications ::Christmas Island
general assessment: service provided by the Australian network
domestic: GSM mobile-cellular telephone service replaced older analog system in February 2005
international: country code - 61-8; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat provides telephone and telex service) (2005)
1 community radio station; broadcasts of several Australian radio and television stations are received via satellite (2009)
2,542 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 151
464 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 216
Transportation ::Christmas Island
1 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 234
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)
total: 140 km
country comparison to the world: 210
paved: 30 km
unpaved: 110 km (2007)
Flying Fish Cove
Military ::Christmas Island
defense is the responsibility of Australia
Transnational Issues ::Christmas Island