Christmas Island

 Christmas Island is a territory of Australia and lies over 1000 miles northwest of Perth, Australia.  It has a small population of around 1400 people.  Most of the island is still in a state of pristine nature, including the Christmas Island Nature Preserve, which takes up most of the island.  Its principle industry is phosphate mining.

The beach in front of the immigration center on Christmas Island. Photo by DIAC images, CC license, Wikimedia.

A captain of the British East India Company named the island when he sailed past it on Christmas day in 1643.  At the time it was uninhabited.  Australia took control of the territory in 1957 simply by asking the British government for it.  Australia also paid Singapore for their economic loses and became owners of the island and its’ coveted phosphate deposits.  Most of the inhabitants of the island today are refugees who have fled from Indonesia.

This is the first map to show the location of Christmas Island. It is called Mony on this map. Public Domain.

Map Exploration

Introduce Christmas Island to your kids by asking them to find where in the world is located at 10 deg 30 min south and 105 deg 40 min east.  They can use an atlas, world map, or a globe to find the information.  Then have them color a Christmas Island Map of the island while you tell them about its history and a few interesting points.

christmas_island_map_1

Fabulous Facts

Some unique species include: Christmas Island Red Crab, Red-Footed Bobby, and Christmas Island Thrush.

A Christmas Island red crab. Photo by John Tann, CC license, Wikimedia.

The island has its own postal system, but the stamps of Christmas Island are interchangeable with the stamps of Australia and either may be used in either country.

Two thirds of the island is a national park.

This a view on one of the back roads on the island. Photo by DIAC images, CC license, Wikimedia.

The four small settlements are all on the north shore of the island.

The official language is English.

Buddhism is the most widely practiced religion.

The capital of Christmas Island is Flying Fish Cove, also known simply as The Settlement.

Additional Layers

  • Several species on Christmas Island are known to have gone extinct since people began monitoring the wildlife there.  Discuss extinction, what it means, and theories about why it happens.
  • Discuss political refugees and why people might want to flee from their homeland.
  • What is phosphate used for?
  • Christmas Island was one of the places battled for during WWII.  Why did everybody want it so badly?

 

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