Cocos (Keeling) Islands

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON MAY 25, 2011
Flag of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
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Location of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
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Map of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
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No Photos available for Cocos (Keeling) Islands
 
NO PHOTOS AVAILABLE OF COCOS (KEELING) ISLANDS
 

Introduction

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There are 27 coral islands in the group. Captain William KEELING discovered the islands in 1609, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century. From the 1820s to 1978, members of the CLUNIE-ROSS family controlled the islands and the copra produced from local coconuts. Annexed by the UK in 1857, the Cocos Islands were transferred to the Australian Government in 1955. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island and the ethnic Malays on Home Island.
 
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Geography

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Southeastern Asia, group of islands in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Indonesia, about halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka
 
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12 30 S, 96 50 E
 
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total: 14 sq km
country comparison to the world: 241
land: 14 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes the two main islands of West Island and Home Island
 
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about 24 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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26 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
 
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tropical with high humidity, moderated by the southeast trade winds for about nine months of the year
 
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flat, low-lying coral atolls
 
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lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m
 
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fish
 
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arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
 
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NA
 
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cyclone season is October to April
 
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freshwater resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs
 
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islands are thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation; site of a World War I naval battle in November 1914 between the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German raider SMS Emden; after being heavily damaged in the engagement, the Emden was beached by her captain on North Keeling Island
 
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People and Society

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noun: Cocos Islander(s)
adjective: Cocos Islander
 
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Europeans, Cocos Malays
 
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Malay (Cocos dialect), English
 
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Sunni Muslim 80%, other 20% (2002 est.)
 
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596 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 238
 
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0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
 
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0% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
 
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total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
conventional short form: Cocos (Keeling) Islands
 
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non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
 
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NA
 
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name: West Island
geographic coordinates: 12 10 S, 96 50 E
time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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none (territory of Australia)
 
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none (territory of Australia)
 
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Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
 
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Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act of 1955 (23 November 1955) as amended by the Territories Law Reform Act of 1992
 
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common law based on the Australian model
 
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18 years of age
 
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chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by the Australian governor general
head of government: Administrator (nonresident) Brian LACY (since 5 October 2009)
cabinet: NA
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Australian prime minister; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia and represents the monarch and Australia
 
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unicameral Cocos (Keeling) Islands Shire Council (7 seats)
elections: held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held in October 2009 (next to be held in Ocotber 2011)
 
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Supreme Court; Magistrate's Court
 
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none
 
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The Cocos Islands Youth Support Centre
 
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none
 
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none (territory of Australia)
 
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none (territory of Australia)
 
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the flag of Australia is used
 
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note: as a territory of Australia, "Advance Australia Fair" remains official as the national anthem, while "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see Australia)
 
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Economy

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Coconuts, grown throughout the islands, are the sole cash crop. Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but additional food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia. There is a small tourist industry.
 
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$NA
 
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1% (2003)
country comparison to the world: 170
 
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NA
 
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note: the Cocos Islands Cooperative Society Ltd. employs construction workers, stevedores, and lighterage workers; tourism employs others
 
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60% (2000 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
 
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revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
 
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vegetables, bananas, pawpaws, coconuts
 
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copra products and tourism
 
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$NA
 
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copra
 
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$NA
 
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foodstuffs
 
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Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.0902 (2010)
1.2822 (2009)
1.2059 (2008)
1.2137 (2007)
1.3285 (2006)
 
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Communications

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287 (1992)
country comparison to the world: 229
 
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general assessment: connected within Australia's telecommunication system; a local mobile-cellular network is in operation
domestic: NA
international: country code - 61; telephone, telex, and facsimile communications with Australia and elsewhere via satellite; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat) (2001)
 
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1 local radio station staffed by community volunteers; broadcasts of several Australian radio and TV stations are received via satellite (2009)
 
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.cc
 
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35,312 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 96
 
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Transportation

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1 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 220
 
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total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 22 km
country comparison to the world: 221
paved: 10 km
unpaved: 12 km (2007)
 
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Port Refuge
 
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Military

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defense is the responsibility of Australia; the territory has a five-person police force
 
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Transnational Issues

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none
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