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Christmas Island

Christmas Island

Basic Data

Official Country Name: Christmas Island
Region (Map name): Oceania
Population: 2,564
Language(s): English, Chinese, Malay
Literacy rate: N/A

Named for the day of its discovery in 1643, Christmas Island is the top of a 50 million-year-old extinct volcano rising out of the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia.

Islanders enjoy freedom of speech and press. Because the population is so small, no major newspapers are printed locally. The only publication is a newspaper called The Islander, which appears fortnightly. The full-color, tabloid-sized publication is produced by the Shire of Christmas Island, the local government body.

There is one radio station on the island, transmitting on both AM and FM frequencies for approximately 1,000 radios. It is staffed by volunteer announcers. Islanders own approximately 600 televisions, but there are no local broadcast stations. There are two Internet service providers.

The island has never had an indigenous population, but British settlement began in the late 1800s, and it was annexed by the United Kingdom in 1888. Under British rule, the island became a major region for phosphate mining, a mineral byproduct of volcanic eruptions.

In 1958, the UK transferred sovereignty of the island to Australia. The population of Christmas Island is approximately 1,300, and inhabitants speak a mix of English, Chinese, and Malay. Christmas Island is administered by Australia under the Australian Department of the Environment, Sport, and Territories. The Christmas Island Shire Council is popularly elected to one-year terms. Although phosphate mining ceased temporarily between 1987 and 1991, the island has sustained considerable environmental damage. Today more than two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park, and local authorities are cooperating to restore the landscape and preserve the nesting sites of endangered birds. These goals also support the island's economy, as environmental-based tourism is a growing business.

Bibliography

Christmas Island Web site. 2002. Available from www.christmas.net.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). World Fact Book 2001. Available from www.cia.gov.

Jenny B. Davis

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Christmas Island

Christmas Island

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Christmas Island
Region: Oceania
Population: 2,564
Language(s): English, Chinese, Malay
Literacy Rate: NA

The territory of Christmas Island is 870 miles northwest of Australia. Seventy-three percent of the population is Chinese; however, English is the primary language taught in school. The rest of the population is Malaysian, European, or Australian. The educational system recognizes and celebrates the various multicultural holidays and ceremonies.

Children between the ages of 6 and 15 must attend school or some other government program. The Christmas Island High School provides education through tenth grade only; students must transfer to the mainland or elsewhere to complete the last two years of high school or university. Home schooling is a common trend, but parents must apply for approval. As of September 2000, there were a total of 450 students: 64 students enrolled in preprimary school, 271 in primary school, and 115 in secondary school.

The educational system is based on the Australian curriculum. Teachers on the Island come from Western Australia. Since 1990, more money has been allocated to ensure that students receive a comparable education to the mainland, despite the remote location. Recent improvements include the acquisition of computers and a technology laboratory for students, a new science laboratory, and a new library.


Bibliography

Australian State Department of Education, 1997. Available from http://www.eddept.wa.edu.au.


LeAnna DeAngelo

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Christmas Island (in the Indian Ocean)

Christmas Island, tropical island (2001 pop. 1,508), 60 sq mi (155 sq km), an external territory of Australia, in the Indian Ocean c.200 mi (320 km) S of Java. The majority of the inhabitants are descendants of Chinese and Malays who came to work the extensive phosphate deposits. Mining began in the 1890s and stopped in 1987 as high-quality deposits were exhausted. It was revived in 1990 to extract lower-grade phosphate. Much of the island is now a national park, and there is limited tourism. The island was annexed by Great Britain in 1888 and became part of the former Straits Settlements in 1889. In 1958 it was ceded to Australia. The island has been used to detain and process Asian asylum seekers who are intercepted at sea and to hold criminals who have had their visas revoked.

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Christmas Island

Christmas Island Island in the e Indian Ocean, 320km (200mi) s of Java. Once under British domination, it was annexed to Australia in 1958. It has important lime phosphate deposits. Area: 135sq km (52sq mi). Pop. (2001 est.) 2771.

http://www.christmas.net.au

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Christmas Island (in the Pacific Ocean)

Christmas Island, atoll: see Kiritimati.

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Christmas Island

Christmas Island See Kiritimati

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