Pitcairn Island – population 48 or thereabouts


Even the government of Pitcairn is a little unsure of the population, listing it on their website as about 50.  Pitcairn does have compulsory education between the ages of five and sixteen, and in the year 2000 all 7 children on the island were attending school.  You would think that one of them had learnt to count. (At the age of 16 they are required to perform Public work to ensure the ongoing maintenance of the island’s roads and paths.)

Pitcairn is the only permanently inhabited island of a group of five volcanic islands in the south Pacific.   Anyone who has ever heard of it knows that it was originally settled by Christian Fletcher and other mutineers from HMAV Bounty and their Tahitian “companions” – the men were no better than slaves, and the women concubines.

The island is approximately 3 square miles (think 12 Manhattan blocks)and is accessible only by sea through Bounty Bay and up the steep “Hill of Difficulty” to the capital, Adamstown. The population has risen and waned – at one point all 200 odd Pitcairn Islanders accepted the offer to be relocated to Norfolk Island, a veritable metropolis more than 13 square miles housing about 2000.  Incredibly, a few years later, some of them chose to return to Pitcairn.

A British Overseas Territory, Pitcairn is governed from New Zealand, and the Queen is Head of State.  Supply ships call in regularly, and tourism brings around ten cruise ships a year.  Although they only stay a few hours they contribute to the island’s economy by buying locally made souvenirs including stamps.  MV Claymore II, operated by the government, is the island’s only vessel. It brings tourists to Pitcairn for adventure tourism visits.

The climate is kind and the soil fertile.  The Islanders are able to grow enough produce to feed themselves and export dried fruit including papayas, pineapples, bananas, and mangoes. Their honey is sold in London.There is one licensed cafe and bar,and alcohol and cigarettes are available at the Government.


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