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Christmas Island
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Christmas Island


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

Geographic coordinates:  10 30 S, 105 40 E

Map references:  Southeast Asia

Area:  total: 135 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 135 sq km

Area - comparative:  about 0.7 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  80 km

Maritime claims:   200 NM territorial sea: Climate:  tropical; heat and
humidity moderated by trade winds

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 (1998 est.)

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:  474 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: NA% 15-64 years: NA% 65 years and over: NA%

Population growth rate:  -9% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  NA births/1,000 population

Death rate:  NA deaths/1,000 population

Net migration rate:  NA migrant(s)/1,000 population

Sex ratio:  NA

Infant mortality rate:  NA deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:  total population: NA years female: NA years
male: NA years

Total fertility rate:  NA children born/woman

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

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:  NA

Constitution:  NA

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 William Leonard TAYLOR (since 4 February 1999) 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 one-year terms) election results:
percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 9 elections: last held NA
December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2002)

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, slated to begin
operation in 2003.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $NA

GDP - real growth rate:  NA%

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $NA

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA%

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  NA%

Labor force:  NA

Labor force - by occupation:  tourism 400 people, mining 100 people (1995)

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $NA expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures
of $NA

Industries:  tourism, phosphate extraction (near depletion)

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  NA kWh

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: NA% hydro: NA% other:
NA% nuclear: NA%

Electricity - consumption:  NA kWh

Agriculture - products:  NA

Exports:  $NA

Exports - commodities:  phosphate

Exports - partners:  Australia, NZ

Imports:  $NA

Imports - commodities:  consumer goods

Imports - partners:  principally Australia

Debt - external:  $NA

Economic aid - recipient:  $NA

Currency:  Australian dollar (AUD)

Currency code:  AUD

Exchange rates:  Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.9354 (January 2002),
1.9320 (2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497 (1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997)

Fiscal year:  1 July - 30 June

Communications Christmas Island

Telephones - main lines in use:  NA

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:   service provided by the Australian network domestic:
earth stations - one Intelsat earth station provides telephone and telex
service (2000)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (1998)

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

Railways:  24 km to serve phosphate mines

Highways:  total: 140 km (not including 100 km that is maintained by
private industry) paved: 30 km unpaved: 110 km (1999)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Flying Fish Cove

Merchant marine:  none (2002 est.)

Airports:  1 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001)

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 January 2002




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