Introduction ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands
There are 27 coral islands in the group. Captain William KEELING discovered the islands in 1609, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century. From the 1820s to 1978, members of the CLUNIE-ROSS family controlled the islands and the copra produced from local coconuts. Annexed by the UK in 1857, the Cocos Islands were transferred to the Australian Government in 1955. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island and the ethnic Malays on Home Island.
Geography ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Southeastern Asia, group of islands in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Indonesia, about halfway from Australia to Sri Lanka
12 30 S, 96 50 E
total: 14 sq km
country comparison to the world: 239
land: 14 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes the two main islands of West Island and Home Island
about 24 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
0 km
26 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Current Weather
tropical with high humidity, moderated by the southeast trade winds for about nine months of the year
flat, low-lying coral atolls
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
cyclone season is October to April
fresh water resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs
islands are thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation; site of a World War I naval battle in November 1914 between the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German raider SMS Emden; after being heavily damaged in the engagement, the Emden was beached by her captain on North Keeling Island
People ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands
596 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 236
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
0% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
noun: Cocos Islander(s)
adjective: Cocos Islander
Europeans, Cocos Malays
Sunni Muslim 80%, other 20% (2002 est.)
Malay (Cocos dialect), English
Government ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands
conventional long form: Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
conventional short form: Cocos (Keeling) Islands
non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department
name: West Island
geographic coordinates: 12 10 S, 96 50 E
time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
none (territory of Australia)
none (territory of Australia)
Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act of 1955 (23 November 1955) as amended by the Territories Law Reform Act of 1992
based upon the laws of Australia and local laws
18 years of age
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by the Australian governor general
head of government: Administrator (nonresident) Brian LACY (since 5 October 2009)
cabinet: NA
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elections: the monarchy is hereditary; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia and represents the monarch and Australia
unicameral Cocos (Keeling) Islands Shire Council (7 seats)
elections: held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held in May 2007 (next to be held in May 2009)
Supreme Court; Magistrate's Court
The Cocos Islands Youth Support Centre
none (territory of Australia)
none (territory of Australia)
the flag of Australia is used
Economy ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Coconuts, grown throughout the islands, are the sole cash crop. Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but additional food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia. There is a small tourist industry.
note: the Cocos Islands Cooperative Society Ltd. employs construction workers, stevedores, and lighterage workers; tourism employs others
60% (2000 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
vegetables, bananas, pawpaws, coconuts
copra products and tourism
Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar - 1.2894 (2009), 1.2059 (2008), 1.2137 (2007), 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005)
Communications ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands
287 (1992)
country comparison to the world: 229
general assessment: connected within Australia's telecommunication system; a local mobile-cellular network is in operation
domestic: NA
international: country code - 61; telephone, telex, and facsimile communications with Australia and elsewhere via satellite; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat) (2001)
1 local radio station staffed by community volunteers; broadcasts of several Australian radio and TV stations are received via satellite (2009)
35,312 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 97
Transportation ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands
1 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 232
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)
total: 22 km
country comparison to the world: 219
paved: 10 km
unpaved: 12 km (2007)
Port Refuge
Military ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands
defense is the responsibility of Australia; the territory has a five-person police force
Transnational Issues ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands