Pitcairn Island

Facts & Figures

Status: Overseas territory

Governor: Victoria Treadell (2010)

Island Mayor: Shawn Christian (2013)

Total area: 18.15 sq mi (47 sq km)

Population (2011): 48; density per sq mi: 3.31

Capital: Adamstown

Major sources and definitions

Pitcairn Island, in the South Pacific about midway between Australia and South America, consists of the island of Pitcairn and the three uninhabited islands of Henderson, Duicie, and Oeno. Pitcairn was settled in 1790 by British mutineers from the ship Bounty, commanded by Capt. William Bligh. One of the most remote islands in the world, it was annexed as a British colony in 1838. Overpopulation forced removal of the settlement to Norfolk Island in 1856, but about 40 persons soon returned.

The descendants of First Mate Fletcher Christian, the eight other mutineers, and the dozen or so Tahitians who accompanied them still inhabit the island. In addition to English, the residents of Pitcairn speak a dialect that is a mixture of Tahitian and 18th-century English.

In 2004, a sex-abuse scandal brought the obscure island worldwide media attention. Four men were convicted of multiple sex offenses against women and young girls and received jail sentences ranging from two to six years; two others were sentenced to community service. Jay Warren, the island's magistrate, was found innocent.

In March 2010, a new constitution was introduced. The constitution covered all basic human rights and, for the first time, gave the island an attorney general.

In November 2013, Shawn Christian was elected mayor. He succeeded Mike Warren who had been mayor since 2007.

See also Encyclopedia: Pitcairn Island and The Bounty, Pitcairn Island, and Fletcher Christian's Descendants.

MontserratOverseas Territories and Crown Dependencies of the United KingdomSt. Helena