Pitcairn





Pitcairn

Basic Data

Official Country Name: Pitcairn
Region (Map name): Oceania
Population: 54,000
Language(s): English, Pitcairnese,Tahitian
Literacy rate: N/A

Pitcairn is located in the South Pacific, halfway between Peru and New Zealand. The remote island's place in history was secured in 1790 when Fletcher Christian and the surviving mutinous sailors from the British ship Bounty decided it would make an ideal hideaway. Today, the island's inhabitants are direct descendants of this notorious bunch. In 1838, Pitcairn became the first Pacific island to become a British colony, and it remains a dependent territory. The chief of state is the British monarch, represented locally by a non-resident Governor, usually the British High Commissioner to New Zealand, who in turn is represented on the island by a Commissioner. The head of government is an Island Magistrate, who chairs a 10-member Island Council. The population is approximately 54 thousand. The official language is English, but Pitcairnese—a mixture of eighteenth century English and a Tahitian dialect—is also spoken. Pitcairn has a small yet diverse economy, including fishing, farming, handi-crafts, postage stamps, Internet domain names, phone cards, and honey.

The Pitcairn media enjoys freedom of speech and press. The island's sole publication is the Pitcairn Miscellany, which began publishing in 1957. The monthly English-language newspaper began as a one-page bulletin, but it has since expanded to two, two-sided mimeographed pages and its circulation exceeds 3,000.

There is one radio station on Pitcairn, which is AM, and no television stations. The local government runs the sole Internet service provider.

Bibliography

"Brief History of Pitcairn Newspapers," Pitcairn Island Web site. Available from http://www.lareau.org/pitcmisc.html .

"CocoNET Wireless," The University of Queensland, Australia (1995). Available from http://www.uq.edu.au .

"Country Profile," Worldinformation.com (2002). Available from http://worldinformation.com .

"Pitcairn," CIA World Fact Book (2001). Available from http://www.cia.gov .

"pn Policies," Pitcairn Islands. Available from http://www.government.pn .

Jenny B. Davis

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