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Flag of Christmas Island
Map of Christmas Island
Introduction Christmas Island
Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began 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
Southeastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia
Geographic coordinates:
10 30 S, 105 40 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
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
138.9 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
tropical with a wet and dry season; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds; wet season (December to April)
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% (mainly tropical rainforest; 63% of the island is a national park) (2005)
Irrigated land:
Natural hazards:
the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
Environment - current issues:
loss of rainforest; impact of phosphate mining
Geography - note:
located along major sea lanes of Indian Ocean
People Christmas Island
1,493 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Death rate:
Net migration rate:
Sex ratio:
Infant mortality rate:
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Total fertility rate:
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Christmas Islander(s)
adjective: Christmas Island
Ethnic groups:
Chinese 70%, European 20%, Malay 10%
note: no indigenous population (2001)
Buddhist 36%, Muslim 25%, Christian 18%, other 21% (1997)
English (official), Chinese, Malay
Government Christmas Island
Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of Christmas Island
conventional short form: Christmas Island
Dependency status:
non-self governing territory of Australia; administered by the Australian Department of Transport and Regional Services
Government type:
name: The Settlement
geographic coordinates: 18 44 N, 64 19 W
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
none (territory of Australia)
none (territory of Australia)
National holiday:
Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
Christmas Island Act of 1958-59 (1 October 1958) as amended by the Territories Law Reform Act of 1992
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 Neil LUCAS (since 30 January 2006)
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 in May 2005 (next to be held in May 2007)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 9
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; District Court; Magistrate's Court
Political parties and leaders:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of Australia)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (territory of Australia)
Flag description:
territorial flag; divided diagonally from upper hoist to lower fly; the upper triangle is green with a yellow image of the Golden Bosun Bird superimposed, while the lower triangle is blue with the Southern Cross constellation, representing Australia, superimposed; a centered yellow disk displays a green map of the island; the flag of Australia is used for official purposes
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):
Labor force:
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Agriculture - products:
tourism, phosphate extraction (near depletion)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: NA
hydro: NA
nuclear: NA
other: NA
Exports - commodities:
Exports - partners:
Australia, NZ (2004)
Imports - commodities:
consumer goods
Imports - partners:
principally Australia (2004)
Economic aid - recipient:
Currency (code):
Australian dollar (AUD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.3095 (2005), 1.3598 (2004), 1.5419 (2003), 1.8406 (2002)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Christmas Island
Telephones - main lines in use:
Telephones - mobile cellular:
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 - 61-8; satellite earth stations - one INTELSAT earth station provides telephone and telex service (2005)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2006)
1,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
0; note - TV broadcasts received via satellite from mainland Australia (2006)
600 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
2,368 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
464 (2001)
Transportation Christmas Island
1 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2006)
total: 142 km
paved: 32 km
unpaved: 110 km (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Flying Fish Cove
Military Christmas Island
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Australia
Transnational Issues Christmas Island
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007