August 25, 2014
1207 UNITED KINGDOM (Pitcairn Islands) - The map of the Pitcairn Island
The Pitcairn Islands, officially named the Pitcairn Group of Islands, are a group of four volcanic islands (Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno) that form the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific. Only Pitcairn, the second largest island measuring about 3.6km from east to west, is inhabited, by the 56 descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians (or Polynesians) who accompanied them. All the residents are Seventh-day Adventist, due to a successful mission in the 1890s, and live in one settlement, Adamstown. Henderson Island, covering about 86% of the territory's total land area and supporting a rich variety of animals in its nearly inaccessible interior, is also capable of supporting a small human population despite its scarce fresh water, but access is difficult, owing to its outer shores being steep limestone cliffs covered by sharp coral. In 1988 this island was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The earliest known settlers of the Pitcairn Islands were Polynesians, but the islands were uninhabited when they were discovered by Europeans. Ducie and Henderson Islands were discovered by Portuguese sailor Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, sailing for the Spanish Crown. Pitcairn Island was sighted in 1767 by the crew of the British sloop HMS Swallow, commanded by Captain Philip Carteret, and was named after Midshipman Robert Pitcairn, a fifteen-year-old crew member who was the first to sight the island. In 1790, nine of the mutineers from the Bounty and their Tahitian companions settled on Pitcairn Island and set fire to the Bounty. The wreck is still visible underwater in Bounty Bay, discovered in 1957 by National Geographic explorer Luis Marden. Pitcairn Island became a British colony in 1838, Henderson, Oeno and Ducie islands being annexed in 1902.
Pitcairn is located just south of the Tropic of Capricorn and enjoys year-round warm weather. Nine plant species are thought to occur only here. In terms of fauna, an interesting and rare introduction is the Galápagos giant tortoise. Pitcairn Island itself is recognised because it is the only nesting site of the Pitcairn reed warbler, and Henderson Island is important for its endemic landbirds as well as its breeding seabirds. The fertile soil of the Pitcairn valleys produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Fish are plentiful in the seas around the island. The major sources of revenue, until recently, have been the sale of coins and postage stamps to collectors, and the sale of handicrafts. Trade is restricted by the jagged geography of the island, which lacks a harbour or airstrip, forcing all trade to be made by longboat to visiting ships. Now, tourism plays a major role, providing the locals 80% of their annual income, even if Pitcairn Island doesn't have an airport or seaport.
About the stamps
The stamp is part of the 10th definitive series, Bounty Detail, designed by Denise Durkin (New Zealand), issued on October 17, 2007, and comprising 12 stamps.
Pitcairn Islands - Wikipedia
Sender: Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau
sent from Adamstown (Pitcairn Islands), on 28.07.2014