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
total: 47 sq km
country comparison to the world: 233
land: 47 sq km
water: 0 sq km
about 0.3 times the size of Washington, DC
0 km
51 km
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Current Weather
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: Pawala Valley Ridge 347 m
miro trees (used for handicrafts), fish
note: manganese, iron, copper, gold, silver, and zinc have been discovered offshore
arable land: NA
permanent crops: NA
other: 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 ::Pitcairn Islands
48 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 237
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA (2009 est.)
0% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
urban population: 0% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
noun: Pitcairn Islander(s)
adjective: Pitcairn Islander
descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives
Seventh-Day Adventist 100%
English (official), Pitkern (mixture of an 18th century English dialect and a Tahitian dialect)
Government ::Pitcairn Islands
conventional long form: Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands
conventional short form: Pitcairn Islands
overseas territory of the UK
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)
The Pitcairn Constitution Order 2010, effective 4 March 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 George FERGUSSON (since April 2006); Commissioner (nonresident) Leslie JAQUES (since September 2003) serves as liaison between the governor and the Island Council
head of government: Governor George FERGUSSON (since April 2006); Mayor and Chairman of the Island Council Mike WARREN (since 1 January 2008)
cabinet: NA
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elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor and commissioner appointed by the monarch; island mayor elected by popular vote for a three-year term; election last held in December 2007 (next to be held in December 2010)
election results: Mike WARREN elected mayor and chairman of the Island Council
unicameral Island Council (11 seats; mayor, deputy mayor, 4 members elected by popular vote, 1 member appointed by the governor, 3 ex officio members including governor, deputy governor, and commissioner; deputy mayor and elected members serve two-year terms)
elections: last held on 24 December 2009 (next to be held on 24 December 2011)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - all independents
Magistrate's Court; Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; judicial officers are appointed by the governor
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)
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. In October 2004, more than one-quarter of Pitcairn's small labor force was arrested, putting the economy in a bind, since their services were required as lighter crew to load or unload passing ships.
15 able-bodied men (2004)
country comparison to the world: 228
note: no business community in the usual sense; some public works; subsistence farming and fishing
revenues: $746,000
expenditures: $1.028 million (FY04/05)
honey; wide variety of fruits and vegetables; goats, chickens, fish
postage stamps, handicrafts, beekeeping, honey
NA kWh; note - electric power is provided by a small diesel-powered generator
fruits, vegetables, curios, stamps
fuel oil, machinery, building materials, flour, sugar, other foodstuffs
New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar - 1.6204 (2009), 1.4151 (2008), 1.3811 (2007), 1.5408 (2006), 1.4203 (2005)
Communications ::Pitcairn Islands
1 (there are 17 telephones on one party line); (2004)
country comparison to the world: 230
general assessment: satellite phone services
domestic: domestic communication via radio (CB)
international: country code - 872; satellite earth station - 1 (Inmarsat)
no local broadcast television or radio stations (2009)
20 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 219
Transportation ::Pitcairn Islands
Adamstown (on Bounty Bay)
Military ::Pitcairn Islands
defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues ::Pitcairn Islands