- Pitcairn Island is an island in the Pacific Ocean more than 3,000 miles away from any continent.
- It has a population of just 50 people.
- The island’s main industry is tourism and most residents live to the age of 90.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
The least populated territory in the world is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – more than 3,000 miles from any continent.
As of 2019, only 50 people call the Pitcairn Islands and their stunning rocky cliffs home.
Back in 1789, British sailors in the Pacific mutinied on the HMS Bounty and settled on Tahiti and Pitcairn Island. While the mutineers on Tahiti were later arrested by the British, those on Pitcairn were able to start a community with Tahitian companions. In 1838, the Pitcairn Islands officially became a British territory, and today all of its residents are descendants of those original mutineers.
Sailor and photographer Tony Probst has visited Pitcairn four times since 2011, and natives have dubbed him the island’s ambassador. Here are some of his favorite pictures of life on Pitcairn.
The British Pitcairn Islands include four small volcanic islands in the South Pacific.
Only Pitcairn is inhabited, with 50 residents.
The island is not much larger than Manhattan’s Central Park.
Much of Pitcairn’s terrain is rocky.
But that doesn’t keep islanders like Brenda from exploring.
Islanders depend on tourism as an economic stimulant.
Since the island is so difficult to get to, there have been very few visitors.
Prior to the arrival of the mutineers, Polynesians were the first settlers on Pitcairn.
Ancient petroglyphs can be found on the southeast side of the island.
There is only one sandy beach, located right next to the petroglyphs.
This is what the swimming pool looks like for islanders.
The boat dock on Pitcairn Island is also a popular place to fish.
Jacqui Christian takes a moment to pause on a narrow path called Down Rope.
Christian is a 7th generation descendant of the Bounty.
Here’s the view from Down Rope.
“I love Pitcairn and I think we have the most amazing piece of the world to live in,” Christian said.
The landscape is green.
It has rugged cliffs.
Christian added that the island is surrounded by “the clearest royal blue ocean you’ll ever see.”
Here is one of the few dirt paths on Pitcairn Island.
Residents use these paths when riding on their motor bikes.
There are very few children on the island.
Some teens have left to attend high school in New Zealand.
Sue O’Keefe and native Pirate Pawl say life on the island is far from idyllic.
“Things can be a struggle financially with high costs for services such as Internet and electricity. Monthly cost for 2 GB of Internet is $100 and power bills are $400,” O’Keefe said.
“Having said that, we can stand at our doorway and watch migrant humpback whales play in the water below us.”
“And at night we can lie back on our deck and admire the stars above without pollution blocking our view,” O’Keefe said.
Here is a picture of the home O’Keefe shares with Pirate Pawl on Pitcairn.
In general, most homes on Pitcairn have large openings instead of actual doors. This is an indication of how safe the island is.
Pitcairn does have a somewhat dark stain on its history. In 2004, seven of the island’s male residents were found guilty of various sexual offenses.
The scandal involves most of the Pitcairn’s residents, including then-mayor Steve Christian. When asked about safety on the island, O’Keefe said, “Anywhere on the island, day or night, I know I am perfectly safe from assault.”
Pitcairn residents get all of their electricity powered through the generator pictured here.
The generator stays on for only a couple of hours a day and is shut off at 10 p.m. sharp.
Most islanders make use of all the fresh fish surrounding their home.
Some islanders don’t eat seafood for religious reasons.
The most common cause of death on the island is old age.
Probst has taken photos of headstones and calculated that most people on Pitcairn live to about 90 years.
“Where else in the world can you say that you can have the whole population turn up for your birthday party?” O’Keefe said.
“Everybody here does know everyone else not only by name but by their ancestry as well.”
“Life here at the moment is anticipating the arrival of our quarterly supply ship,” Christian wrote via email.
Islanders rely on these shipments because everything from candy to clothing must be shipped in from New Zealand. E-readers and iPad’s are the most requested items.
Honey is Pitcairn’s only export.
In this picture, islanders pack boxes of their bottled honey.
The average annual income is about 6,000 New Zealand dollars, or about $4,000.
“No one on the island has full-time employment and most work a number of different jobs,” Sue wrote via email.
As the island is extremely isolated and with no hospital, residents must travel to New Zealand for major medical treatment.
They can’t return for another 3 months.
“If you’re lucky you can get treated for more minor conditions such as dental problems or minor operations in Tahiti and return within 10-14 days,” Sue wrote.
Islanders told me their favorite thing about living on Pitcairn was being able to view the stunning sunsets and sunrises from any point on the island.
Around 20 miles away, Probst took this picture of Pitcairn outlined in the moonlight and Venus.
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