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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

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

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
25 04 S, 130 06 W

Natural resources:
miro trees (used for handicrafts), fish
note: manganese, iron, copper, gold, silver, and zinc have been discovered offshore

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pawala Valley Ridge 347 m

rugged volcanic formation; rocky coastline with cliffs

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

total: 47 sq km
land: 47 sq km
water: 0 sq km

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

51 km

Area - comparative:
about 0.3 times the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:

Environment - current issues:
deforestation (only a small portion of the original forest remains because of burning and clearing for settlement)

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
typhoons (especially November to March)

Land use:
arable land: NA
permanent crops: NA
other: NA

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)


Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives

48 (July 2008 est.)

Population growth rate:
0% (2008 est.)

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

Death rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Birth rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Seventh-Day Adventist 100%

noun: Pitcairn Islander(s)
adjective: Pitcairn Islander

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday:
Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)

18 years of age; universal with three years residency

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)

Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
unicameral Island Council (10 seats; 5 members 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 24 December 2006 (next to be held in December 2007)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - all independents

Legal system:
local island by-laws

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

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands
conventional short form: Pitcairn Islands

Political parties and leaders:

name: Adamstown
geographic coordinates: 25 04 S, 130 05 W
time difference: UTC-9 (4 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

30 November 1838; reformed 1904 with additional reforms in 1940; further refined by the Local Government Ordinance of 1964

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 Mike WARREN (since 1 January 2008)
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 in December 2007)
election results: Jay WARREN elected mayor and chairman of the Island Council

Administrative divisions:
none (overseas territory of the UK)

Judicial branch:
Magistrate's Court; Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; Judicial Officers are appointed by the Governor

  Economy Back To Top

GDP (purchasing power parity):

Exchange rates:
New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar - 1.4151 (2008 est.), 1.3811 (2007), 1.5408 (2006), 1.4203 (2005), 1.5087 (2004)

Labor force:
15 able-bodied men (2004)


Currency (code):
New Zealand dollar (NZD)

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.

Imports - commodities:
fuel oil, machinery, building materials, flour, sugar, other foodstuffs

postage stamps, handicrafts, beekeeping, honey

Electricity - production:
NA kWh; note - electric power is provided by a small diesel-powered generator


Labor force - by occupation:
note: no business community in the usual sense; some public works; subsistence farming and fishing

Currency code:

Exports - commodities:
fruits, vegetables, curios, stamps

Economic aid - recipient:
$3.465 million (2004)

revenues: $746,000
expenditures: $1.028 million (FY04/05)

Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:

Telephones - main lines in use:
1 (there are 17 telephones on one party line); (2004)


Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (15 Ham radio operators (VP6)) (2004)


Telephone system:
general assessment: satellite phone services
domestic: domestic communication via radio (CB)
international: country code - 872; satellite earth station - 1 (Inmarsat)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):

Internet hosts:
12 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Adamstown (on Bounty Bay)

  Military Back To Top

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:

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