Flag of Cocos Islands
Cocos Islands Flag Meaning
Cocos Islands Overview
|Capital city||West Island|
|Population density||45.4 residents/km2|
Group of two coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Java. Of the 27 small islands, only 2 are inhabited: West and Home. The islands are flat. The climate is tropical and rainy, and they are covered in palm trees that have given them their name.
The people: The people on the Home Island descend from Malay workers. On the island of West, Australians are in majority.
Religion: Sunni Muslims (57%), Christians (22%), others (21%).
Languages: English and Bahasa Malaysia
Capital: West Island, 596 residents (2009).
Government: Barry Haase, Administrator appointed by the Australian Government in October 2014. An elected council consisting of 7 members exists.
The company Clunies Ross, founded by John Clunies Ross at the beginning of the 19th century, was the real owner of the islands, despite their formal colonial status – English from 1857 and Australian from 1955. Ross brought Malay workers to the islands to exploit their coconut plantations.
After two years of negotiations, in 1978, Australia bought the islands from the company, which, however, continues to monopolize the production and marketing of the copra (dried coconut). The purpose of the operation was to secure the residents of the Home Island the ownership of their land in order to reduce social tensions. Australia also has a military base on the West Island – purchased in 1951.
In a 1984 referendum, the residents accepted Australian citizenship and Australia’s actual annexation of the islands. In December of that year, the UN General Assembly recognized the outcome of the referendum and exempted Australia from informing the decolonization commission.
In December 2001, West Island doubled its population when it received illegal refugees – predominantly from Sri Lanka. Companies in the tourism industry declared that this could destroy tourism in the islands.
In November 2003, Evan Williams was appointed by the Australian Government as a new Administrator for the Islands. In January 2006, he was replaced by Neil Lucas, who also became Christmas Island administrator.
In February 2007, the island’s police force of 5 people confronted a group of catchers who were catching a protected parrot species to eat them.