Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pitcairn Island

The last bastion of the British Empire, Pitcairn Island was discovered by the British in 1767 and settled in 1790 by the men who mutinied on the good ship "Bounty". Pitcairn was the first Pacific island to become a British colony (in 1838) and it is still British, today, albeit now the last one. What is called "outmigration" in official documents, has reduced the population from a massive two hundred and thirty-three at its peak in 1937 to less than fifty today. Most of those who leave, do so for New Zealand.
When exactly the term "outmigration" came into existence to replace the traditional "emigration" I am not certain, but I can say that the major problem facing the island today is not economic but sexual, and this is hardly surprising when there are only fifty people living there, and most of them are related. Back in 2004 six men were convicted of the abuse of young girls over a forty-year period, and three more, who had emigrated in the meanwhile to New Zealand, were convicted on similar charges there. The statistics show that every family on the island included one victim, and one perpetrator, and one is left to wonder who the younger generation will find to mate with, unless they too "outmigrate".

In the meanwhile, after two centuries of having the island as part of its empire but spending not a single penny on it, the UK has provided funds to build a school, presumably to teach "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" in Literature classes, the two versions of "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935 and 1962) in Comparative Film classes, and New Zealand history in Social Studies, so that these children will be sufficiently educated when they reach their new home. The jetty and slipway at Adamstown have also been modernised; again, presumably, to make it easier for the boats to take away the outmigrating passengers. One can only hope that, given that the Pitcairn Islands were first settled by Fletcher Christian and his colleagues from the good ship "Bounty", the passengers on the very last boat to leave Adamstown will not mutiny en route.

See also my entry on Norfolk Island.

Marks for: 1935

Marks against: 1962

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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