Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK in 1888. Phosphate mining began in the 1890s. The UK transferred sovereignty to Australia in 1958. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.

Location: South-eastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia
Geographic coordinates: 10 30 S, 105 40 E
Population: 1,496 (July 2010 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: NA

15-64 years: NA

65 years and over: NA

Country name: conventional long form: Territory of Christmas Island

conventional short form: Christmas Island

Dependency status: non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Australian Attorney-General’s Department
Telephones – main lines in use: NA
Telephone system: general assessment: service provided by the Australian network

domestic: GSM mobile telephone service replaced older analog system in February 2005

international: country code – 61-8; satellite earth station – 1 (Intelsat provides telephone and telex service) (2005)

Airports: 1 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)


Defence is the responsibility of Australia
Economy:Phosphate mining had been the only significant economic activity, but in December 1987 the Australian Government closed the mine. In 1991, the mine was reopened. With the support of the government, a $34 million casino opened in 1993, but closed in 1998. The Australian Government in 2001 agreed to support the creation of a commercial space-launching site on the island, expected to begin operations in the near future.