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|Maps of Pitcairn|
Ducie and Oeno Islands Pitkern Ailen
|Flag - Coat of arms
||Anthem: "Come ye Blessed"|
"God Save the Queen"
(and largest city) - Adamstown
|Official language(s) -
||Ethnic groups - British, Polynesian, or (mixed
||British Overseas Territory
||Sovereign - Elizabeth II
||High Comissioner - Victoria Treadell
||Mayor - Mike Warren
||Total - 47 km2 |
18.1 sq mi
||2008 estimate - 50 (223rd (last)
||Density - 1/km2 (197th)|
||New Zealand dollar (||Time zone -
||Internet TLD -
||Calling code -
||The Pitcairn Islands (pronounced /ˈpɪtkɛərn/ ; Pitkern: Pitkern Ailen ), officially named the Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands , form a group of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. The islands are a British overseas territory (formerly a British colony), the last remaining in the Pacific. The four islands – named Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno – are spread over several hundred miles of ocean and have a total area of about 18 square miles (47 km2). Only Pitcairn, the second largest and measuring about 2 miles (3.2 km) across, is inhabited.
The islands are best known as home of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians (or Polynesians) who accompanied them, an event retold in numerous books and films. This history is still apparent in the surnames of many of the islanders. With only about 50 inhabitants (from four families as of 2010: Christian, Warren, Young and Brown), Pitcairn is the least populous and most remote jurisdiction in the world (although it is not a sovereign nation). The United Nations Committee on Decolonisation includes the Pitcairn Islands on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
|1 - History
||2 - Politics
||3 - Military
||4 - Geography
||5 - Flora and fauna
||6 - Economy
||7 - Demographics
||8 - Culture and society
||9 - Media and communications
||9.1 - Radio
||9.2 - Monday-Friday:
||9.3 - Saturdays
||9.4 - Sundays:
||10 - Transport
||11 - Gallery
||12 - See also
||13 - References
||History of the Pitcairn Islands
||The mutineers turning Bligh and part of the officers and crew adrift from the Bounty , 29 April 1789
||The original settlers of the Pitcairn Islands were Polynesians who appear to have lived on Pitcairn and Henderson for several centuries. Although archaeologists believe that Polynesians were living on Pitcairn as late as the 15th century, the islands were uninhabited when they were discovered by Europeans.
Ducie and Henderson Islands are believed to have been discovered by Europeans on 26 January 1606 by Portuguese sailor Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, sailing for the Spanish crown, who named them La Encarnación ("The Incarnation") and San Juan Bautista ("Saint John the Baptist"), respectively. However, some sources express doubt about exactly which of the islands were visited and named by Queirós, suggesting that Queirós’ La Encarnación may actually have been Henderson Island, and San Juan Bautista may have been Pitcairn Island. [ 5
Pitcairn Island was sighted on 3 July 1767 by the crew of the British sloop HMS Swallow , commanded by Captain Philip Carteret. It was named after Midshipman Robert Pitcairn, a fifteen-year-old crew member who was the first to sight the island. Robert Pitcairn was the son of British Marine Officer John Pitcairn.
|Geodesy Collection on Pitcairn Island
||Carteret, who sailed without the newly invented accurate marine chronometer, charted the island at 25° 2’ south and 133° 21’ west of Greenwich, but although the latitude was reasonably accurate the longitude was incorrect by about 3°. This made Pitcairn difficult to find, as highlighted by the failure of Captain James Cook to locate the island in July 1773. [ 6 [ 7
In 1790, nine of the mutineers from the Bounty and Tahitian companions (six men, 11 women and a baby), some of whom may have been kidnapped from Tahiti, settled on Pitcairn Island and set fire to the Bounty [ 8 . The wreck is still visible underwater in Bounty Bay. The ship itself was discovered in 1957 by National Geographic explorer Luis Marden. Although the settlers were able to survive by farming and fishing, the initial period of settlement was marked by serious tensions among the settlers. Alcoholism, murder, disease and other ills took the lives of most mutineers and Tahitian men. John Adams and Ned Young turned to the scriptures using the ship's Bible as their guide for a new and peaceful society. Young eventually died of an asthmatic infection. The Pitcairners also converted to Christianity; later they would convert from their existing form of Christianity to Seventh-day Adventism after a successful Adventist mission in the 1890s. After the rediscovery of Pitcairn, John Adams was granted amnesty for his mutiny.
Ducie Island was rediscovered in 1791 by the British Captain Edwards aboard HMS Pandora , while searching for the Bounty mutineers. He named it after Francis, Lord Ducie, a captain in the Royal Navy. It was annexed by Britain on 19 December 1902, and in 1938 it was formally incorporated into Pitcairn to become part of a single administrative unit (the "Pitcairn Group of Islands"). Henderson Island was rediscovered on 17 January 1819 by a British Captain James Henderson of the British East India Company ship Hercules . On 2 March 1819, Captain Henry King, sailing aboard the Elizabeth , landed on the island to find the king's colours already flying. His crew scratched the name of their ship into a tree, and for some years the island's name was Elizabeth or Henderson. Henderson Island was annexed by Britain and incorporated into Pitcairn in 1938. Oeno Island was discovered on 26 January 1824 by U.S. Captain George Worth aboard the whaler Oeno . On 10 July 1902, Oeno was annexed by Britain. It was incorporated into Pitcairn in 1938.
The islanders reported that it was not until 27 December 1795 that the first ship since the Bounty was seen from the island, but as she did not approach the land, they could not make out to what nation she belonged. A second appeared some time in 1801, but did not attempt to communicate with them. A third came sufficiently near to see their habitations, but did not venture to send a boat on shore. The American trading ship Topaz under the command of Mayhew Folger was the first to visit the island and communicate with them when they spent 10 hours at Pitcairn in February 1808. A report of Folger's find was forwarded to the Admiralty mentioning the mutineers and a more precise location of the island—25° 2’ S latitude, 130° W longitude [ 9 —however, this rediscovery was not known to Sir Thomas Staines, who commanded a Royal Navy flotilla of two ships (HMS Briton and HMS Tagus) which found the island at 25° .4’ S (by meridian observation) on 17 September 1814. Staines sent a party ashore and wrote a detailed report for the Admiralty. [ 10 [ 11 [ 12
|Church of Adamstown
||Pitcairn Island became a British colony in 1838 and was among the first territories to extendvoting rights to women. By the mid-1850s the Pitcairn community was outgrowing the island and its leaders appealed to the British government for assistance. They were offered Norfolk Island and on 3 May 1856, the entire community of 193 people set sail for Norfolk on board the Morayshire , arriving on 8 June after a miserable five-week trip. But after eighteen months on Norfolk, seventeen of the Pitcairners returned to their home island; five years later another twenty-seven did the same.
Since a population peak of 233 in 1937, the island has been suffering from emigration, primarily to New Zealand, leaving some fifty people living on Pitcairn (December 2009: 45 islanders on Electoral Roll)
In 2004 charges were laid against seven men living on Pitcairn and six living abroad with sex-related offences dating back a number of years. On 25 October 2004, six men were convicted, including Steve Christian, the island's mayor at the time. After the six men lost their final appeal, the British government set up a prison on the island at Bob's Valley (Pitkern: Walley). The men began serving their sentences in late 2006, as of 2010 all men have served their sentences or been granted home detention status (Pitcairn News, 2010).
||Politics of the Pitcairn Islands
||Politics of the Pitcairn Islands takes place in a framework of a parliamentaryrepresentative democraticdependency, whereby the Mayor is the head of government. The territories' constitution is the Local Government Ordinance of 1964. In terms of population, the Pitcairn Islands is the smallest democracy in the world.
||The Pitcairn Islands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, meaning defence is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence and Her Majesty's Armed Forces.
||Geography of the Pitcairn Islands
||View of Bounty Bay
||Map of Pitcairn Islands. Source:CIA World Factbook
||The Pitcairn Islands form the southeasternmost extension of the geologicalarchipelago of the Tuamotus of French Polynesia, and consist of four islands: Pitcairn Island, Oeno Island (atoll with five islets, one of which is Sandy Island), Henderson Island and Ducie Island (atoll with four islets).
The only permanently inhabited island, Pitcairn, is accessible only by boat through Bounty Bay.
Henderson Island, covering about 86% of the territory's total land area and supporting a rich variety of animals in its nearly inaccessible interior, is also capable of supporting a small human population, but access is difficult due to its outer shores being steep limestone cliffs made of sharp coral.
The other islands are at a distance of more than 100 km (60 mi) and are not habitable.
|Satellite photo of Pitcairn Island
||Island or atoll - Type - Land area|
(km²) - Total area
(km²) - Pop.
July 2008 - Coordinates
|Ducie Island - Atoll
||– - 24°40′09″S 124°47′11″W / 24.66917°S 124.78639°W
||Henderson Island - Uplifted coral island
||– - 24°22′01″S 128°18′57″W / 24.36694°S 128.31583°W
||Oeno Island - Atoll
||– - 23°55′26″S 130°44′03″W / 23.92389°S 130.73417°W
||Pitcairn Island - Volcanic island
||50 - 25°04′00″S 130°06′00″W / 25.0666667°S 130.1°W
(all islands) - –
||50 - 23°55'26" to 25°04'00"S,|
124°47'11" to 130°44'03"W
|* Includes reef flat and lagoon of the atolls.
||Flora and fauna
||About nine plant species are thought to occur only on Pitcairn. These include tapau, formerly an important timber resource, and the giant nehe fern (Angiopteris chauliodonta). Some, such as red berry (Coprosma rapensis var. Benefica), are perilously close to extinction. The Pitcairn Islands are one of two places (the other being Mangareva) in the world in which the plant species "Glochidion pitcairnense" occurs (Pitcairn Islands Environment Management Plan, 2008).
In terms of fauna, an interesting and rare introduction is the Galapagos giant tortoise (Testudo elephantopus). The sole surviving tortoise, Ms T (also known as Turpen), was one of five, which arrived on Pitcairn between 1937 and 1951, brought to the island by Irving Johnson, skipper of the 96 foot Brigantine Yankee. Turpen usually resides at Tedside by Western Harbour. A protection order makes it an offence should anyone kill, injure, capture, maim or cause harm or distress to the tortoise (Endangered Species Protection Ordinance, 2004 revised edition).
The birds of Pitcairn fall into several groups. These include seabirds, wading birds and a small number of resident land bird species. Of 20 breeding species, Henderson Island has 16, including the unique flightless Henderson rail (Nesophylax alter); Oeno 12; Ducie 13 and Pitcairn six. Of the birds breeding on Pitcairn the best known are the Fairy Tern (Gygis alba), the Common Noddy (Anous stolidus) and the Red-tailed Tropic Bird (Phaethon rubricauda). The Pitcairn Island Warbler (Acrocephalus vaughani) or known by Pitcairners as a sparrow, is a native species, dark-brown above and yellowish to buff below. It use to be common throughout the island but was placed on the endangered status list in 2008 (see Pitcairn Reed-warbler).
||Pitcairn Island as seen from a Globe view with other Pacific Islands
||The fertile soil of the Pitcairn valleys (Pitkern: walleys), like Isaac's Valley on the gentle slopes south-east of Adamstown, produces a wide variety of fruits: including bananas (Pitkern: plun), papaya (paw paws), pineapples, mangoes, watermelons, rockmelons, passionfruit, breadfruit, coconuts, avocadoes, and citrus (including oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons and limes); and vegetables include: sweet potatoes (kumura), carrots, sweet corn, tomatoes, taro, yams, peas, and beans. Arrowroot (Tacca leontopetaloides) and sugarcane are grown and harvested to produce arrowroot flour and molasses. Pitcairn Island is remarkably productive and its benign climate allows a wide range of tropical and temperate crops to be grown (Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC): Pitcairn Islands-Joint Country Strategy, 2008).
Fish are plentiful in the seas around Pitcairn, and Pitcairners love their fishing. Crayfish and a large variety of fish are caught for meals and for trading aboard passing ships. Almost everyday someone will go fishing, whether it is from the rocks, from a longboat or diving with a spear gun. There are numerous types of fish around the island. Fish such as Nanwee, White Fish, Moi and Opapa are caught in shallow water, while Snapper, Big Eye and Cod are caught in deep water and Yellow Tail and Wahoo are caught by trolling. A range of minerals have been discovered within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends 370kms offshore and comprises 880,000 sq kms, including manganese, iron, copper, gold, silver and zinc (Commonwealth Secretariat Yearbook 2010: Pitcairn Economy).
The Pitcairners are involved in creating magnificent crafts and curios. Typical wood carvings include sharks, fish, whales, dolphins, turtles, vases, birds, walking sticks, book boxes and the famous models of the Bounty. Miro (Thespesia populnea), a dark, durable and beautifully grained wood, is preferred for carving. Islanders also produce exquisite tapa cloth and painted hattie leaves (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Profile on Pitcairn Islands, British Overseas Territory, 11 February 2010).
The major sources of revenue, until recently, have been the sale of coins and postage stamps to collectors, .pn domain names, and the sale of handicrafts to passing ships, most of which are plying the United Kingdom to New Zealand route via the Panama Canal (Pitcairn Island Report prepared by Jaques and Associates, 2003 p.18). Trade is restricted by the jagged geography of the island, which lacks a harbour or airstrip, forcing all trade to be made by longboat to visiting ships. Occasionally, passengers from expedition-type cruise ships will come ashore for a day, weather permitting (Jaques, p.21).
Today Pitcairn exports its renowned honey to New Zealand and to the United Kingdom, where it is stocked in London by Fortnum and Mason and Partridges in Sloane Square. The honey has become a favourite of Her Majesty, The Queen and Prince Charles (Evening Standard, 8 January 2010 "I'll let you off, Mr Christian: you make honey fit for a queen"). The Pitcairners also export dried fruits including bananas, papaya, pineapples and mangoes to New Zealand (Pitcairn Islands Study Center, News Release: Products from Pitcairn, 7 November 1999).
Electricity on the island is provided by gas/diesel generators.
||Demographics of the Pitcairn Islands
||The majority of the resident Pitcairn Islanders are the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and Tahitians (or Polynesians). Pitkern is a creole language derived from 18th century English, with elements of the Tahitian language. It is spoken as a first language by the population and is taught alongside standard English at the island's only school. It is closely related to the creole language Norfuk, spoken on Norfolk Island, because Norfolk was repopulated in the mid-19th century by Pitcairners. In September 2003, a baby was born on the island for the first time in 17 years (Pitcairn Miscellany, 2003). Another child, Adrianna Tracey Christian, was born on Pitcairn on 3 March 2007 (Miscellany, 2007). In February 2005, Shirley and Simon Young became the first married outsider couple in recorded history to obtain citizenship on Pitcairn. All of the Pitcairn Islanders are Seventh-day AdventistChristians. [ 13
||Culture and society
||Pitcairn culture, like its language, is a mix of English and Tahitian (or Polynesian) influences. A successful Seventh-day Adventist mission in the 1890s was important in shaping Pitcairn society. In recent years, the church has declined, with only about eight islanders worshipping regularly, but most of them still attend church on special occasions. [ 14 The Sabbath is observed as a day of rest and as a mark of respect for observant Adventists.
The once-strict moral codes, which prohibited dancing, public displays of affection, smoking, and consumption of alcohol, have been relaxed in recent years. Islanders and visitors no longer require a six-month license to purchase, import, and consume alcohol (Pitcairn Island Government Ordinance). There is now one licensed cafe and bar on the island, and the Government Store sells alcohol and cigarettes.
Education is free and compulsory between the ages of five and 15. [ 15 All of the island’s seven children were enrolled in school in 2000. [ 15 The island's children have produced a book in Pitkern and English called "Mi Bas Side orn Pitcairn: My Favourite Place on Pitcairn".
|Media and communications
||Telephones: Pitcairn uses New Zealand's international dialing code, +64. Each and every building on the Island has a telephone for local and international calls (installed Sept. 2006, replacing a single wired party line
||Radio: There is no broadcast station. Marine band walkie-talkie radios are used to maintain contact among people in different areas of the island. Foreign stations can be picked up on Shortwave Radio.
||Amateur Radio: QRZ.COM lists amateur radio operators as Dave Brown (VP6DB), Terry Young (VP6TY, VR6TY and VR8TY), Meralda Warren (VP6MW), Betty Christian (VP6YL), Tom Christian (VR6TC), Brian Young (VP6BX) and the Pitcairn Island AR Club Station (VP6RAC). [ 16 Islanders keep schedules: 2200-2300 UTC most days of the week, Dave Brown VP6DB is on the air at 14.226.5 MHz and 14.247 MHz. 2330-0100 UTC on Tuesdays, Tom Christian VP6TC is on the air at 21.348 MHz, or at 14.181 MHz. 1700 UTC on Wednesdays, Betty Christian VP6YL is available at 21.325 MHz, 1700 UTC on Fridays, you might be able to speak with Tom Christian VP6TC at 21.248 MHz. [ 17
||Television: There are 9 live English TV channels from satellite, CNN, Australia Network, BBC Kids, ESPN International, TVNZ One, TV2, TVNZ6, Boomerang tv network and TCM Movies; most homes have DVD-players to watch videos and now some have Blu-Ray players. Free-To-Air satellite dishes can be used to watch foreign TV.
||Local Television: Paradise Television Network-private,
||Internet: There is one Government-sponsored satellite internet connection, networked to all houses on the island providing 256kbps broadband. Pitcairn's country code (top level domain) is .pn .
||Radio Pitcairn Islands the first radio station operated by Pitcairn Islands Media Corporation is located in studios and offices in Adamstown, Pitcairn Island. It operates one radio station on both AM and FM Bands under the name Radio Pitcairn Islands. It broadcasts in English and Pitkern island-wide. The signal can be found on 628MW on the AM band and 92FM (92.1,92.3 and 92.5) on the FM band.
||When Radio Pitcairn Islands is off air, Radio Australia and BBC World Service is broadcast.
||The settlers of the Pitcairns all arrived by some form of boat or ship; the most famous was the Bounty , on which the mutiny occurred and which was burned in Bounty Bay.
Pitcairn Island does not have an airport or seaport; the islanders rely on longboats to ferry people and goods between ship and shore through Bounty Bay. The island does have one small harbor and launch ramp that is used to dock and load long-boats, but it is so small and the water so shallow that only small-craft can fit (Pitkern Ilan, David Evans, 2007).
To get to Pitcairn today, you can travel on board Pitcairn's new dedicated Passenger / Cargo supply ship chartered by the Pitcairn Island Government, the MV Claymore II , from Mangareva, Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. Mangareva itself is reachable by air from the French Polynesian capital Papeete (Lonely Planet South Pacific, 3rd ed. 2006, "Pitcairn Getting There" pp.429-30).
There is one 6.4-kilometre (4 mi) paved road leading up from Bounty Bay through Adamstown. On land, walking has historically been the way of getting around, but now all islanders drive all-terrain vehicles (i.e. quadbikes). Each adult on Pitcairn owns a HONDA 4x4 ATV.