People Of The Pitcairn Islands

A 1916 photograph of Pitcairn Islanders
A 1916 photograph of Pitcairn Islanders

The People Of The Pitcairn Islands

Pitcairn Island comprises of four volcanic islands in the South Pacific Ocean. These islands form the Pitcairn Islands, and they are part of the last British Overseas Territories in the Pacific. The islands are Pitcairn, Oeno, Ducie, and Henderson. The Pitcairn Islands extends over several miles of the ocean and covers an area of 47 square kilometers. Out of the four, only Pitcairn Island is hospitable while the other three host species of plants and animals. The island is the least populated jurisdiction in the world and is in the list of UN non-self-governing territories. Pitcairn Island is inhabited mainly by the Bounty mutineer and Tahitians or the Polynesians who are thought to have accompanied the Mutineers to the island. Pitcairn Island has a population of only 56 inhabitants comprising of the four families.


Polynesians or the Island people were the first to settle on Pitcairn Island. They form part of the larger Polynesian ethnic group who inhabited over 1000 islands in the central and the southern Pacific Ocean. In the Pitcairn Islands, the Polynesians were referred to as Tahitians because of their interaction with the French. They are the ethnic majority in the Tahiti Island and number 183645 people across all the islands in the Pacific Ocean. Part of the ethnic group moved southward and occupied the Pitcairn Island. Tahitian culture involves mythology of gods such as Oro and several religious beliefs around this god. They also practice several traditions including tattooing of the body and navigations. The Tahitians on Pitcairn Island also celebrate an annual Heiva festival just like Tahitians in other islands within the Pacific Ocean. The festival which takes place in July involves the celebration of traditional dance, culture, music, and sports. The festival is a major tourist attraction to the Island and a significant economic activity. Tahitians on Pitcairn Island are mainly farmers because of the fertile soil of the island. They plant fruits like bananas, pawpaw, coconut, passion fruits, watermelon, breadfruit, avocado, and grapefruit. Apart from farming, they also keep bees for honey which they export to other countries like the UK and New Zealand. The beekeeping sector in Pitcairn Island got recognition from UK’s Department for International Development in 1998 where they committed to fund and promote its growth.


Bounty mutineer came to the Pacific Ocean through the Royal Navy in 1789. The Mutineers settled on Pitcairn Island when Lieutenant Fletcher Christian set his captain adrift. The Bounty left England in 1787 to collect and transport breadfruit with several men on board. The people who came in the Bounty lived ashore establishing relationships with the native Tahitians. The behavior among the Mutineers and the natives did not please the authorities back in England. When they came to look for the crew that was involved in these relationships, some of the men including Fletcher Christian hid in Pitcairn Island. By 1808 only one Mutineer was alive. However, their descendants and cohorts continue to live on the island. The group has integrated well with the natives to form one of the ethnic majorities on the island.


The people of Pitcairn Island are farmers, fishermen, and beekeepers. The major languages spoken on the island are English and Pitkern, English and Tahitian mix. The major religions include Seventh-Day Adventist Protestant Christian Church

The People Of The Pitcairn Islands

Pitcairn IslandersUnique Facts
Total Population47
Ethnic BackgroundsEnglish and Tahitian
OccupationsFarming, Fishing, Beekeeping, and Tourist Activities
LanguagesEnglish and "Pitkern" (an English/Tahitian Mix)
Religious GroupsSeventh-Day Adventist Protestant Christian Church

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