Pitcairn Island: The Complex History And Lives Of The World’s Most Remote Islanders

When a group of mutineers commandeered their vessel in the 1700s and stumbled across a remote island, they had no idea of what was to come. Situated 3,240 miles from the coast of New Zealand, the British territory has a rich and complicated past.

In recent years, the island became famous for a highly-publicized abuse scandal that saw a large portion of the tiny population placed behind bars. Let’s take a look at the complex history of life on Pitcairn Island, a place that fewer than 50 people call home.

Pitcairn Island’s Highest Population Was Still Incredibly Small

Pitcairn Descendants
Photo by Kenneth Stevens/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Photo by Kenneth Stevens/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

For an island that measures two miles long and one mile wide, it’s probably not surprising that few people have ever lived on it. In the 1930s, the population hit its peak with around 200 inhabitants. As the years have gone by, the aging population has dwindled.

These days, fewer than 50 people called the island home. Even the island’s administrative offices aren’t actually situated on Pitcairn. They’re based 3,300 miles away in Auckland, New Zealand. Despite an effort to repopulate the island, few are interested in uprooting their lives to join the society, which has faced its share of controversy.