The UK’s got its fair share of remote islands. Scotland’s got the Shetland islands, the Orkeys and the Inner and Outer Hebrides. There’s Jersey and Guernsey off the south coast, as well as the Isles of Scilly, the Isle of Wight and Isle of Man. But as isolated as these islands may feel, they don’t hold a candle to the world’s most secluded inhabited island – Pitcairn.
The Pitcairn Islands actually consist of four separate isles, however only Pitcairn has anyone living on it. Although it’s hardly highly populated, with only 47 people living there, as of 2021. And it’s a good job so few people live there, as the island is only one mile by two miles in size.
The islands are situated slap bang in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and Chile, but are a British Overseas Territory. Its closest neighbours are French Polynesia, around 700 km to the west, and Easter Island nearly 2000 km to east.
The tale of how the British settled the volcanic island of Pitcairn is as incredible as the panoramic views its inhabitants enjoy.
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British naval personnel mutinied on the HMS Bounty in 1789, setting the captain and 18 loyal men adrift. Incredibly, the captain, Lieutenant William Bligh, made it back to England and set about apprehending the mutineers.
However, the men that discovered the remote island of Pitcairn settled there and remained undiscovered and astonishingly, many of the ancestors of these mutineers inhabit the island to this day.
Despite the island’s idyllic landscape and slower pace of life, it hasn’t gone without its controversies and heinous crimes.
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In 2004, six men on the island – almost half the island’s adult males – were convicted of sexual assault. Two of the men – Steve Christian and Len Brown – were convicted of sexual crimes against young girls. Steve Christian was the island’s mayor and was reported to sexually initiate girls on the island.
The crimes took place between the 1960s and 1990s. During the legal proceedings, one of Brown and Christian’s victims, who said her abuse began at the age of three said: “It was like a film reel going round and round in my head: my life on that God-forsaken island.”
In 2006, after the men’s final appeals failed, the British Government built a prison on the island at Bob’s Valley.
By 2010 all of the men had served their sentences or were serving them at home.
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