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Flag of Pitcairn Islands
Map of 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
Geographic coordinates:
25 04 S, 130 06 W
Map references:
total: 47 sq km
land: 47 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.3 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
51 km
Maritime claims:
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pawala Valley 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:
arable land: NA%
permanent crops: NA%
other: NA%
Irrigated land:
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 Pitcairn Islands
45 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.01% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Death rate:
NA deaths/1,000 population
Net migration rate:
Sex ratio:
Infant mortality rate:
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Total fertility rate:
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Pitcairn Islander(s)
adjective: Pitcairn Islander
Ethnic groups:
descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives
Seventh-Day Adventist 100%
English (official), Pitcairnese (mixture of an 18th century English dialect and a Tahitian dialect)
Government Pitcairn Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands
conventional short form: Pitcairn Islands
Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK
Government type:
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)
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)
30 November 1838; reformed 1904 with additional reforms in 1940; further refined by the Local Government Ordinance of 1964
Legal system:
local island by-laws
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 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 Jay WARREN (since 15 December 2004)
cabinet: NA
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 December 2004 (next to be held December 2007)
election results: Jay WARREN elected mayor and chairman of the Island Council
Legislative branch:
unicameral Island Council (10 seats - 5 elected by popular vote, 1 nominated by the 5 elected members, 2 appointed by the governor including 1 seat for the Island Secretary, the Island Mayor, and a commissioner liaising between the governor and council; elected members serve one-year terms)
elections: last held in 24 December 2005 (next to be held December 2006)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - all independents
Judicial branch:
Magistrate's Court; Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; Judicial Officers are appointed by the Governor
Political parties and leaders:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
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 coat of arms is yellow, green, and light blue with a shield featuring a yellow anchor
Economy Pitcairn Islands
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. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Labor force:
15 able-bodied men (2004)
Labor force - by occupation:
note: no business community in the usual sense; some public works; subsistence farming and fishing
revenues: $746,000
expenditures: $1.028 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (FY04/05)
Agriculture - products:
honey; wide variety of fruits and vegetables; goats, chickens
postage stamps, handicrafts, beekeeping, honey
Electricity - production:
NA kWh; note - electric power is provided by a small diesel-powered generator
Exports - commodities:
fruits, vegetables, curios, stamps
Imports - commodities:
fuel oil, machinery, building materials, flour, sugar, other foodstuffs
Economic aid - recipient:
$3.465 million (2004)
Currency (code):
New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
New Zealand dollars per US dollar - 1.4203 (2005), 1.5087 (2004), 1.7221 (2003), 2.1622 (2002)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Pitcairn Islands
Telephones - main lines in use:
1 (there are 17 telephones on one party line); (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: satellite phone services
domestic: domestic communication via radio (CB)
international: country code - 872; satellite earth station (Inmarsat)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0, note - 15 Ham radio operators (VP6) (2004)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
8 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
Transportation Pitcairn Islands
total: 6 km
unpaved: 6 km (dirt roads)
Ports and terminals:
Adamstown (on Bounty Bay)
Military Pitcairn Islands
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues Pitcairn Islands
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007