Cocos Islands

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Cocos Islands

(kō`kōs) or

Keeling Islands,

officially Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, two separate atolls comprising 27 coral islets (2001 pop. 621), 5.5 sq mi (14.2 sq km), in the Indian Ocean, c.1,400 mi (2,250 km) SE of Sri Lanka. They are under Australian administration. Only three of the islands are inhabited: West IslandWest Island,
island (est. pop. 120), capital of the Cocos Islands, an Australian territory. One of three inhabited islands in the group, its population is mainly Australians of European descent.
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, which has an airport and the largest community of Europeans; Home Island, the former headquarters of the Clunies-Ross Estate and inhabited mainly by Cocos Malays; and Direction Island, which has an aviation-marine base. West Island is the capital. The predominant religion is Sunni Muslim; the major languages are English and a Cocos dialect of Malay. The economy is based on aviation and government facilities maintained by the Australian government. Coconuts are harvested, but most copra production ceased in the 1980s; there is some tourism and fishing. An administrator, appointed by the governor-general of Australia, heads the government. The unicameral legislature consists of the seven-seat Shire Council, whose members are popularly elected for two-year terms.

Discovered in 1609 by Capt. William Keeling of the East India Company, the uninhabited Cocos Islands were settled in 1826 by Alexander Hare, an Englishman. A second settlement was founded in 1827 by John Clunies-Ross, a Scottish seaman, who landed with a group of Malay sailors. In 1857 the islands were annexed to the British crown. Queen Victoria granted the lands to the Clunies-Ross family in 1886 in return for the right to use any land on the island for public purposes. In 1903, as a dependency of Britain's SingaporeSingapore
, officially Republic of Singapore, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,426,000), 299 sq mi (774 sq km). It consists of the island of Singapore and about 60 small adjacent islands at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, SE Asia.
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 colony, the islands were included in the Straits SettlementsStraits Settlements,
collective name for certain former British colonies in Southeast Asia. The three British East India Company territories of Pinang, Singapore, and Malacca (see Melaka) were given a unified administration in 1826 and called the Straits Settlements.
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; they were placed under Australian administration in 1955. In 1978, Australia purchased the Clunies-Ross family's interests in the islands, except for the family estate, and island residents voted to become part of Australia in 1984. Australia purchased the last Clunies-Ross-owned property in the islands in 1993.

Cocos Islands


(Keeling Islands), a group of 27 small coral islands in the Indian Ocean (12°05’ S lat., 96°53’ E long.). A possession of Australia. Area, approximately 14 sq km; population, 622 (1968). Coconut groves grow on the islands, and copra and coconut oil are exported. An air base is located there.

References in periodicals archive ?
No Ceylonese combat troops were deployed by the British after the Cocos Islands mutiny.
The asylum-seeker issue reached crisis point last week after a boat carrying 39 Sri Lankans sank off the Cocos Islands, drowning a suspected 12 asylum-seekers.
The search area is hundreds of kilometers northwest of the far-fling Australian territory of the Cocos Islands, which is located south of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, about halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka.
His stops on the amazing voyage included the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius, Madagascar, Durban and Capetown in South Africa, St Helena, Capedelo in northern Brazil - then Holyhead, where several days were spent removing the barnacles.
The schoolboy was swimming in shallow waters during a family holiday to the Cocos Islands off Australia when the beast struck.
If you plan to download anything (from screensavers to programs), be especially cautious if your source is in Samoa, Bulgaria, Cocos Islands, or China or has a .
In addition to these two southern California specimens, two additional individuals were also collected from intertidal habitats, one from the Cocos Islands and the other from Newport Bay.
The Act therefore counts the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island as part of the NT, and Jervis Bay Territory as part of the ACT.
The pair, both from Arlingham, Gloucestershire, were finally rescued 1,056 miles west of Australia's Cocos Islands.
The letters identify the writer as a member of a global alliance of travelers, and ask that these governments provide genuine support to the park rangers charged with protecting the Galapagos and Cocos Islands.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Friday a freighter carrying 52,000 sheep stranded in the Middle East for the past 10 weeks after being rejected by Saudi Arabia set sail from Kuwait earlier in the day on its way back to Australia via the Cocos Islands.