Ever thought of packing your bags and running to a new country and start a new life over there? Good news for you is, Pitcairn Island is ready to take you in and the only pollution you are going to face there is the noise of azure sea crashing against the shores of the island.
On a cursory look from afar, the Pitcairn Island might look like an epitome of paradise and a perfect escape for those who love to be on the lap of nature away from the crowd of cities. But on a closer look, one would realize that the island is a dot in the midst of an immense ocean and so removed from the nearest human occupation that staying there might just cost everything.
Pitcairn, which is one of four volcanic islands comprising Pitcairn groups of islands, in the southern Pacific Ocean and the only inhabited island of the four, even offers free lands to the new immigrants, but deciding to set up a home there and start living might be scarily expensive and sometimes lonely.
Nevertheless, here are 17 interesting facts about the island that you should know if you want to immigrate there someday.
1. Smallest democracy in the world.
With only 50 residents who elect a mayor directly to look after the affairs of the island, Pitcairn Island is the smallest democracy in the world. It is also the last of the British overseas territories, though the islanders argue about the British nationality.
2. Second smallest capital in the world.
The entire population of Pitcairn Island lives in the capital Adamstown, thereby making it the second smallest capital of the world after King Edward Point, the capital of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands which has 18 people.
3. The only general store that opens thrice a week.
There is only one general store on the island which opens three times a week for the residents to buy the items they need. Necessary foods are brought to the island from New Zealand once in three months. Besides there is also one post office and a police station.
4. The remotest place on earth, perhaps.
The island is thousands of miles away from any human settlement. Tahiti, the nearest human occupied island is about 2,500 kilometers away. Adding to it the fact that there is no airport or seaport on the island and the only way to get to the island is via longboats, reaching the island is so difficult that is even easier to reach Antarctica.
5. The first settlers were British mutineers.
The first recorded settlers of the Pitcairn Island were eight crew members led by Fletcher Christian of HMA Vessel Bounty, which was on a voyage to collect breadfruit tree seedlings. In their mission they had reached Tahiti in October 1788 but had to stay there for five months. After their stay, many decided to not return to England and rebelled. Later, sixteen of the mutineers stayed in Tahiti while eight left for a new home fearing arrest for their rebellion. They settled on Pitcairn Island in January 1790 along with six Tahitian men and twelve Tahitian women and a child.
6. The murders for wives in initial years.
Of the twenty-six adults that reached the Island in 1790, after four years since landing, only four mutineers and ten women were alive. The rest were murdered because of different conflicts originated mainly due to sharing of wives as there were fewer women than men.
7. The sexual assault that made international headlines.
In 2004, the island made international headlines when seven of its twelve males, which included the mayor of the island at that time Steven Christian, were accused of sexual crimes which involved girls as young as seven years old. Six of them were found guilty and a prison was set up on the island. The legal proceedings were conducted in New Zealand as per an agreement among Britain, New Zealand and the Island.
8. No official religion.
Though officially, the island has no official religion, all of the residents there but is Seventh-Day Adventists, a denomination of Christianity which observes Saturday as the Sabbath rather than Sunday.
9. Free and compulsory education.
Pulau School is the only school on the island where children up to the age of fifteen years study. Education is free and compulsory for the children on the island. The standard of the school is maintained as per the standards of the schools of New Zealand where the children eventually go for their higher studies the expanses of which are borne by the government of the island.
10. The Islanders are always ready for feasts.
Every small occasion on the island is a grand event in which all the islanders gather together in a public dinner in the Square of Adamstown to celebrate and take part in feasts. This includes birthdays, arrival of a ship or a yacht and religious holidays.
11. Homosexuality is legal.
Same-sex marriage is legal on the Pitcairn Island since 2015, but the island is yet to hold its first same-sex marriage. Further, it is believed that none of the islanders are into such kind of relationships yet.
12. No mobile networks but there is the internet.
Pitcairn still runs of manual telephonic signals as mobile network is not very feasible and uses New Zealand’s international code. There is one satellite internet connection sponsored by government for which the residents pay around Rs. 4,700 for 2 GB data per month at a speed of 256 kbps. In 2012, however, a single 1 Mbps connection was installed on the island which is being shared by all the families via Wi-Fi.
13. The only place where Pitcairn Reed Warbler is found in the world.
Pitcairn is the only nesting site of the Pitcairn Reed Warbler, an endangered species of songbird and locally known as ‘sparrow’ in the absence of true sparrows. It is also the only land bird in the islands.
14. Less revenue sources.
The economy of the isolated island depends heavily on British grants besides fishing, agriculture, selling postage stamps, handicrafts, the sale of .pn domain and tourism.
15. Ten hours of electricity per day.
The island gets electricity for ten hours in a day. During the daytime, it gets electricity from 8 am to 1 pm while in the evening electricity is available from 5 pm to 10 pm. The island gets its electricity from a diesel generator. A plan to set up a windmill to produce electricity was tabled, but it was later abandoned after the project became expensive.
16. The population is getting continuously smaller.
The island at its peak had 233 people in 1937, but since then its population has been continuously declining. The island is striving to increase its population but is failing. Also, of the existing residents, only five are children and a few between the age of 20 years and 40 years, making it an aging community.
17. Immigrating and settling there is very expensive.
Though Pitcairn is eager to increase its population, to immigrate and settle there isn’t cheap despite of free land. One needs to have around Rs. 14 lakhs in savings to immigrate there. The average cost of building a house costs around Rs. 66 lakhs. On the top of that, the cost of living per year can cost an additional Rs. 5 lakhs.