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Christmas Island[Country flag of Christmas Island]
[Country map of Christmas Island]

Introduction Christmas Island
Background:
Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement was begun by the UK in 1888. Phosphate mining began in the 1890s. The UK transferred sovereignty to Australia in 1958. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.
Geography Christmas Island
Location:
Southeastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia
Geographic coordinates:
10 30 S, 105 40 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
Area:
total: 135 sq km
land: 135 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
about three-quarters the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
138.9 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:
tropical with a wet and dry season; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds; wet season December to April
Terrain:
steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Murray Hill 361 m
Natural resources:
phosphate, beaches
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100%
note: mainly tropical rainforest; 63% of the island is a national park (2001)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
Environment - current issues:
NA
Geography - note:
located along major sea lanes of Indian Ocean
People Christmas Island
Population:
361 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
Population growth rate:
0% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
NA
Death rate:
NA
Net migration rate:
NA
Sex ratio:
NA
Infant mortality rate:
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Total fertility rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: Christmas Islander(s)
adjective: Christmas Island
Ethnic groups:
Chinese 70%, European 20%, Malay 10%
note: no indigenous population (2001)
Religions:
Buddhist 36%, Muslim 25%, Christian 18%, other 21% (1997)
Languages:
English (official), Chinese, Malay
Literacy:
NA
People - note:
the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports a population of 1,508 as of the 2001 Census
Government Christmas Island
Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of Christmas Island
conventional short form: Christmas Island
Dependency status:
territory of Australia; administered by the Australian Department of Transport and Regional Services
Government type:
NA
Capital:
The Settlement
Administrative divisions:
none (territory of Australia)
Independence:
none (territory of Australia)
National holiday:
Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
Constitution:
Christmas Island Act of 1958-59 (1 October 1958)
Legal system:
under the authority of the governor general of Australia and Australian law
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by the Australian governor general
head of government: Administrator Evan WILLIAMS (since 1 November 2003)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia and represents the monarch and Australia
Legislative branch:
unicameral Christmas Island Shire Council (9 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held 3 May 2003 (next to be held in 2005)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 9
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; District Court; Magistrate's Court
Political parties and leaders:
none
Political pressure groups and leaders:
none
International organization participation:
none
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of Australia)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (territory of Australia)
Flag description:
the flag of Australia is used; note - in early 1986, the Christmas Island Assembly held a design competition for an island flag, however, the winning design has never been formally adopted as the official flag of the territory
Economy Christmas Island
Economy - overview:
Phosphate mining had been the only significant economic activity, but in December 1987 the Australian Government closed the mine. In 1991, the mine was reopened. With the support of the government, a $34 million casino opened in 1993. The casino closed in 1998. The Australian Government in 2001 agreed to support the creation of a commercial space-launching site on the island, projected to begin operations in the near future
GDP (purchasing power parity):
NA
GDP - real growth rate:
NA
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA
industry: NA
services: NA
Labor force:
NA
Labor force - by occupation:
NA
Budget:
revenues: NA
expenditures: NA, including capital expenditures of NA
Agriculture - products:
NA
Industries:
tourism, phosphate extraction (near depletion)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: NA
hydro: NA
nuclear: NA
other: NA
Exports:
NA
Exports - commodities:
phosphate
Exports - partners:
Australia, NZ
Imports:
NA
Imports - commodities:
consumer goods
Imports - partners:
principally Australia
Economic aid - recipient:
NA
Currency (code):
Australian dollar (AUD)
Currency code:
AUD
Exchange rates:
Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.3598 (2004), 1.5419 (2003), 1.8406 (2002), 1.9334 (2001), 1.7248 (2000)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Christmas Island
Telephones - main lines in use:
NA
Telephones - mobile cellular:
NA
Telephone system:
general assessment: service provided by the Australian network
domestic: GSM mobile telephone service replaced older analog system in February 2005
international: country code - 61-891; satellite earth stations - one Intelsat earth station provides telephone and telex service (2000)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)
Radios:
1,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
NA
Televisions:
600 (1997)
Internet country code:
.cx
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
NA
Transportation Christmas Island
Highways:
total: 240 km
paved: 30 km
unpaved: 210 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Flying Fish Cove
Airports:
1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Military Christmas Island
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Australia
Transnational Issues Christmas Island
Disputes - international:
none

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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