Norfolk Island Introduction - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

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Background

Polynesians lived on Norfolk Island between 1200 and 1500 but the remote island was uninhabited by the time British explorer James COOK landed on the island in 1774. Two British attempts at establishing the island as a penal colony (1788-1814 and 1825-55) were ultimately abandoned.

In 1856, almost 200 Pitcairn Islanders - descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions - were relocated to Norfolk Island because of overcrowding on the Pitcairn Islands. Some returned to the Pitcairn Islands over the next few years but most settled permanently on Norfolk Island and recreated the land tenure and governance structures they previously had. Norfolk Island retained a great degree of local control until 1897, when it became a dependency of New South Wales. During World War II, Norfolk Island was an airbase and an important refueling stop in the South Pacific. In 1976, an Australian judge recommended Norfolk Island be incorporated fully into Australia, which Norfolk Islanders rejected. Following an appeal to the UN, Australia granted limited self-government to Norfolk Island in 1979.

With growing financial troubles during the 2000s, Australia abolished the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly in 2015, reduced Norfolk Island’s autonomy in 2016, and suspended the local council in 2020. Most services are provided by a mix of the Australian Capital Territory and the states of New South Wales and Queensland. These moves were unpopular on Norfolk Island, which has sought to have its self-government restored.

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NOTE: The information regarding Norfolk Island on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Norfolk Island 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Norfolk Island 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

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