Friday, December 03, 2004

Christmas Islands

For centuries, Christmas Island's isolation and rugged coasts provided natural barriers to settlement. British and Dutch navigators first included the island on their charts from the early seventeenth century, and Captain William Mynors of the East India Ship Company vessel, the Royal Mary, named the island when he arrived on Christmas Day, 25th December, 1643. He was unable to land, however, and it was not until 1688, when Captain William Dampier on the British ship Cygnet, landed at the Dales (on the West Coast) and two of his crewmen were the first recorded people to set foot on Christmas Island.

Christmas Islands is an external territory of Australia. Over the years, phosphate mining had been the only significant economic activity, but in December 1987 the Australian Government closed the mine. In 1991, the mine was reopened. With the support of the government, a $34 million casino opened in 1993. The casino closed in 1998. The decision to block the casino on Christmas Island is being described as a fatal blow to the future of the Indian Ocean territory. The Federal Government is set to legislate against the re-opening of the casino which closed in 1998 due to financial difficulties, halving the island's population. The government says the casino was blocked because of the negative impact it could have on the local community and that the island can develop tourism without it.

Christmas Island lies more than 1,500 kilometres off the Western Australian coast. According to the Island's official website, the population was around 1,500 in 2000. The CIA's world factbook reports a population of 396 based on recent data. The diversity of the settlers native tongues & cultures has influenced the island's own culture, as evidenced by the range of ethnic festivals held throughout the year. Today most residents are Chinese followed by Australian/Europeans & Malay.Though English is the official language there are many residents who generally communicate in Malay or one of the four Chinese dialects.

The Island's TLD .cx is often used for sex related websites, for example the famous More on this and other famous .cx sites here.