Beach on Henderson Island in Pitcairn Group of Islands http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Henderson01_AKK.jpg Angela K. Kepler
Pitcairn Islands is a British Overseas Territory in the South Pacific Ocean. They are some of the most remote islands in the world. Comprising four islands namely Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno, with hundreds of miles of ocean between them, Pitcairn Islands cover a total area of just 47 sq km (18.1 sq mi).
The namesake Pitcairn Island is the second largest in the group. It is also the only one inhabited. Pitcairn measures 3.2 km (2 miles) across, and is the site of the capital and only major settlement, Adamstown. The population of Pitcairn Islands is less than 50 (2011 estimate).
Ducie Atoll, Pitcairn Islands http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ducie02_AKK.jpg Angela K. Kepler
Pitcairn Islands are eights hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-8). The New Zealand dollar is used here as the official currency. Most of the people here are either British, Polynesian or mixed. The phone IDD code here is +870.
Polynesians have lived on Pitcairn Islands for centuries when it was first sighted on 26 January 1606 by Portuguese sailor Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, who was sailing under the Spanish flag. The islands were first sighted by a British on 3 July 1767, when it was discovered by the crew of the HMS Swallow under Captain Philip Carteret. Carteret wrongly recorded its longitude, making it difficult to locate for Captain James Cook, who came the same way in 1773.
Pitcairn Islands are perhaps most famous for being the settlement of the mutineers of the ship Bounty. They arrived on Pitcairn Island in 1790 and began a life there with some Tahiti companions - some of whom may have been kidnapped by them or enticed to follow them from Tahiti. While alcoholism, infighting and disease claimed most of the mutineers, the remainder turned to the Bible - they had with them the Bounty's copy - and have their belief turned them into a peaceful society. Efforts by Adventist missionaries in the 1890's succeeded in converting the population to the faith.
The church at Adamstown, Pitcairn Island http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pitcairn_-_Church_of_Adamstown.jpg Makemake
Pitcairn Island became a British colony in 1838. By the 1850's the population of the island had outstrip its ability to sustain itself. An appeal to the British government resulted in the mass relocation of the whole population to Norfolk Island on 3 May 1856, arriving there after a grueling five-week voyage. However, some of the Pitcairners returned to their home island within the next five years.
In 1902, neighbouring Henderson Island, Oeno Island and Ducie Island were added to form the Pitcairn Islands group. It was formally known as the Pitcairn Group of Islands in 1938. Today there are just about 50 people living on Pitcairn Islands.
Planning your visit to Pitcairn Islands
This is a very remote destination without air connection. The only way to reach Pitcairn Island is via commercial cruise ships that make a stopover there. Among commercial tour operators to Pitcairn Island includes Pacific Expedition (www.pacific-expeditions.com), which offers one-week voyages to Pitcairn Islands for US$1900. Alternatively, you just have to sail there yourself in your personal boat.
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