Christmas Island Population: 2,205

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Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK in 1888 with the discovery of the island's phosphate deposits. Following the Second World War, Christmas Island came under the jurisdiction of the new British Colony of Singapore. The island existed as a separate Crown colony from 1 January 1958 to 1 October 1958 when its transfer to Australian jurisdiction was finalized. That date is still celebrated on the first Monday in October as Territory Day. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.

    Located along major sea lanes of the Indian Ocean
Location: Southeastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia
Geographic coordinates: 10 30 S, 105 40 E
Area: total: 135 sq km
land: 135 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: 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 season (December to April) and dry season; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds
Terrain: steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau
Natural resources: phosphate, beaches
Land use: agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.) arable land: 0% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
other: 100% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: n/a
Natural hazards: the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
Current Environment Issues: loss of rainforest; impact of phosphate mining
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Nationality: noun: Christmas Islander(s)
adjective: Christmas Island
Ethnic groups: Chinese 70%, European 20%, Malay 10% (2001) note: no indigenous population
Languages: English (official) 27.6%, Mandarin 17.2%, Malay 17.1%, Cantonese 3.9%, Min Nan 1.6%, Tagalog 1%, other 4.5%, unspecified 27.1% (2016 est.) note: data represent language spoken at home
Religions: Muslim 19.4%, Buddhist 18.3%, Roman Catholic 8.8%, Protestant 6.5% (includes Anglican 3.6%, Uniting Church 1.2%, other 1.7%), other Christian 3.3%, other 0.6%, none 15.3%, unspecified 27.7% (2016 est.)
Population: 2,205 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 12.79% (male 147/female 135) (2017 est.)
15-24 years: 12.2% (male 202/female 67) (2017 est.)
25-54 years: 57.91% (male 955/female 322) (2017 est.)
55-64 years: 11.66% (male 172/female 85) (2017 est.)
65 years and over: 5.44% (male 84/female 36) (2017 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.11% (2014 est.)
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: n/a male: n/a
female: n/a
Life expectancy at birth: total population: n/a male: n/a
female: n/a (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
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Country name: conventional long form: Territory of Christmas Island
conventional short form: Christmas Island
etymology: named by English Captain William MYNORS for the day of its discovery, Christmas Day (25 December 1643)
Government type: non-self-governing overseas territory of Australia
Capital: name: The Settlement
geographic coordinates: 10 25 S, 105 43 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: self-descriptive name for the main locus of population
Administrative divisions: none (territory of Australia)
Independence: none (territory of Australia)
National holiday: Australia Day (commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of Australian settlers), 26 January (1788)
Constitution: history: 1 October 1958 (Christmas Island Act 1958) amendments: amended many times, last in 2016 (2017)
Legal system: legal system is under the authority of the governor general of Australia and Australian law
Suffrage: 18 years of age
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia General Sir Peter COSGROVE (since 28 March 2014)

head of government: Administrator Natasha GRIGGS (since 5 October 2018) elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Australian prime minister; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia for a 2-year term and represents the monarch and Australia
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Christmas Island Shire Council (9 seats; members directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms with a portion of the membership renewed every 2 years)

elections: held every 2 years with half the members standing for election; last held onĀ 21 October 2017 (next to be held in October 2019)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - independent 9; composition as of 17 October 2015 - men 7, women 2, percent of women 22.2%
Judicial branch: under the terms of the Territorial Law Reform Act 1992, Western Australia provides court services as needed for the island, including the Supreme Court and subordinate courts (District Court, Magistrate Court, Family Court, Children's Court, and Coroners' Court)
Political parties and leaders: none
International organization participation: none
National symbol(s): golden bosun bird
National anthem:

note: as a territory of Australia, "Advance Australia Fair" remains official as the national anthem, while "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see Australia)
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (territory of Australia)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (territory of Australia)
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The main economic activities on Christmas Island are the mining of low grade phosphate, limited tourism, the provision of government services and, since 2005, the construction and operation of the Immigration Detention Center. The government sector includes administration, health, education, policing, customs, quarantine, and defense.
GDP (purchasing power parity): n/a
Agriculture - products: NA
Industries: tourism, phosphate extraction (near depletion)
Labor force: n/a
Budget: revenues: n/a
expenditures: n/a
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June
Exports: n/a
Exports - commodities: phosphate
Imports: n/a
Imports - commodities: consumer goods
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: (31 December 2009 est.)
Exchange rates: Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar - 1.311 (2017 est.) 1.3442 (2016 est.) 1.3442 (2015) 1.3291 (2014 est.) 1.1094 (2013 est.)
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Telephone system: general assessment: service provided by the Australian network

domestic: local area code - 08; GSM mobile-cellular telephone service is provided by Telstra as part of the Australian network

international: international code - 61 8; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat provides telephone and telex service)
Broadcast media: 1 community radio station; satellite broadcasts of several Australian radio and TV stations (2017)
Internet country code: .cx
Internet users: total: 790
percent of population: 35.8% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 1 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
Railways: total 18 km
(2017) standard gauge: 18 km 1.435-m (not in operation) (2017)

note: the 18-km Christmas Island Phosphate Company Railway between Flying Fish Cove and South Point was decommissioned in 1987; some tracks and scrap remain in place
Roadways: total 140 km
(2011) paved: 30 km (2011)
unpaved: 110 km (2011)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Flying Fish Cove
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Defense is the responsibility of Australia
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook


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