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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Pitcairn
Region: Oceania
Population: 54
Language(s): English, Pitcairnese, Tahitian
Literacy Rate: NA

Pitcairn is located in the South Pacific. Discovered in 1767, Pitcairn is named after Major Pitcairn's son, who had first spotted the island. Populated with only 54 people of English and Polynesian background, the island's natives specialize in farming, fishing, and stamp production as their main source of income. Pitcairn is most widely known as a research site for National Geographic and for being the setting of Charles Nordhoff's classic Mutiny on the Bounty.

Due to the small population, most of the island's children attend schools in Auckland, New Zealand. Auckland begins educating students when they are four years old and continue through high-school age. Like the United States, Auckland offers many of the same academic opportunities, including math, science, and music. However, students usually attend schools in a four-term calendar fashion, which is unlike the two terms that many U.S. schools follow.

Seven people attend the one room schoolhouse located on the island, six of which are the children, and one teacher who has been sent from New Zealand. Attached to the schoolhouse lies the museum that contains examples of the island's flora and fauna that the students study. Most of the children study in this schoolhouse until they are 12 or 13, then they are sent to New Zealand for higher education.

There are many different higher education schools in Auckland such as high schools, colleges, and universities. Research done by research engineer, Lynn Salmon, who has traveled Pitcairn, found that once the students had left the island to study abroad they usually never returned. Higher education and better opportunity for Pitcairn's students lies in Auckland's medicine and education/teaching professions.

Although Pitcairn is very small, the future may hold high hopes. With the age of technology and more researchers interested in this island, the possibility for newer equipment is possible; hopefully, then, this island can provide a higher education program and more opportunities for its students.


Coney, S. "New Zealand's Students Struggle in Debt." The Lancet, 1996. Available from http://www.findarticles.com.

Salmon, L. "You Can't Get There From Here: Trip to the Pitcairn Islands." The Lancet, 1997. Available from http://www.thesalmons.org/lynn/pitcarin3.html.

Deanna Edens

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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 Pitcairnesea mixture of eighteenth century English and a Tahitian dialectis 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.


"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