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Pitcairn Islands


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Pitcairn Islands

The smallest national population in the world lives on the small Pacific island of Pitcairn, home to just 48 people. The population is made up of the descendants of the mutineers from the Bounty and the Tahitian women they kidnapped. Islanders speak Pitcairn, a combination of 18th century naval English and Tahitian. 

 

The Pitcairn Islands 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 and overseas territory of the European Union in the Pacific. The four islands – named Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno – are spread over several hundred miles of ocean and have a total land 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 48 inhabitants (from four families as of 2010: Christian, Warren, Young, and Brown), Pitcairn is the least populous 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.



Geography

The Pitcairn Islands form the southeasternmost extension of the geological archipelago 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, owing to its outer shores' being steep limestone cliffs covered by sharp coral.The Pitcairn Islands were formed by a centre of upwelling magma called the Pitcairn hotspot.The other islands are at a distance of more than 100 km (62 mi) and are not habitable.



Tourism

Tourism plays a major role on Pitcairn providing the locals 80% of their annual income. Since 2009, the Government has been operating the MV Claymore II as the island's only dedicated passenger/cargo vessel providing tourists with adventure tourism holidays to Pitcairn for three- or ten-day visits. Tourists stay with local families and get to experience the island's history while contributing to the local economy. Some families have invested in private self-contained units for tourists to rent. Each year approximately ten cruise ships call at the island for a few hours generating income for the locals from the sale of souvenirs, landing fees and the stamping of passports. Children under the age of 16 years require a completed entry clearance application in order to visit the island.


bounty bay

Society

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 licence 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.
The unique cuisine and rich cultural heritage of the Pitcairn Islanders is detailed in a cookbook: "A Taste of Pitcairn: The First Pitcairn Island Cookbook", by Pitcairn resident Meralda Warren (updated ed. 2005).
Fishing and swimming are two popular recreational activities. A birthday celebration or the arrival of a ship or yacht will involve the entire Pitcairn community in a public dinner in the Square, Adamstown. Tables are covered in a variety of foods, including fish, meat, chicken, philhi, baked rice, boiled plun (banana), breadfruit, vegetable dishes, an assortment of pies, bread, breadsticks, an array of desserts, pineapple, watermelon and more.
Public work, which by law is required of all men and women between the ages of 16 and 65, ensures the ongoing maintenance of the island's numerous roads and paths. The island has a labour force of only 15 men and women (as of 2004).

 

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