Pitcairn Islands

Polynesians were the first inhabitants of the Pitcairn Islands, but the islands were uninhabited by the time they were discovered by Europeans in 1606. Pitcairn Island was rediscovered by British explorer Philip CARTERET in 1767, although he incorrectly plotted the coordinates. In 1789, Fletcher CHRISTIAN led a mutiny on the HMS Bounty and after several months of searching for Pitcairn Island, he landed on it with eight other mutineers and their Tahitian companions. They lived in isolation and evaded detection by English authorities until 1808, by which point only one man, 10 women, and 23 children remained. In 1831, with the population growing too big for the island - there were 87 people - the British attempted to move all the islanders to Tahiti, but they were soon returned to Pitcairn Island. The island became an official British colony in 1838 and in 1856, the British again determined that the population of 193 was too high and relocated all of the residents to Norfolk Island. Several families returned in 1858 and 1864, bringing the island’s population to 43, and almost all of the island’s current population are descendants of these returnees. 

The UK annexed the nearby islands of Henderson, Oeno, and Ducie in 1902 and incorporated them into the Pitcairn Islands colony in 1938, although all three are uninhabited. The population peaked at 233 in 1937 as outmigration, primarily to New Zealand, has thinned the population. Only two children were born between 1986 and 2012, and in 2005, a couple became the first new outsiders to obtain citizenship in more than a century. Since 2013, the Pitcairn Islands has tried to attract new migrants but has had no applicants because it requires prospective migrants to front significant sums of money and prohibits employment during a two-year trial period, at which point the local council can deny long-term resident status.

Pitcairn Islands
Pitkern Ailen (Pitcairn-Norfolk)
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
Anthem: "God Save the King"
Duration: 50 seconds.
Local anthem: "Come Ye Blessed"
Map showing location of the Pitcairn Islands (circled at the lower-right and magnified in an inset)
Map showing location of the Pitcairn Islands (circled at the lower-right and magnified in an inset)
Sovereign state  United Kingdom
Settlement 15 January 1790
British colony 30 November 1838
and largest settlement
Adamstown[note 1]
25°04′S 130°06′W
Official languages
Ethnic groups

Pitcairn Islanders
  • Pitcairn Islanders
  • Pitkern
  • Pitcairnese
Government Devolved locally governing dependency
• Monarch
Charles III
• Governor
Iona Thomas
Steve Townsend
• Mayor
Simon Young
Legislature Island Council
Government of the United Kingdom
• Minister
David Rutley
• Total
47 km2 (18 sq mi) (not ranked)
Highest elevation

330 m (1,080 ft)
• 2021 estimate
47[2] (last)
• Density
1/km2 (2.6/sq mi) (not ranked)
GDP (nominal) 2005 estimate
• Total
• Per capita
Currency New Zealand dollar (NZ$)[a] (NZD)
Time zone UTC-08:00
Driving side left
Calling code +64
UK postcode
ISO 3166 code PN
Internet TLD .pn
Website www.government.pn
  1. ^ The Pitcairn Islands dollar is also official legal tender, although it does not circulate as widely.

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