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Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK in 1888. Phosphate mining began in the 1890s. The UK transferred sovereignty to Australia in 1958. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.


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Geography

Location
Southeastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia

Geographic coordinates
10 30 S, 105 40 E

Map references
Oceania

Area World Ranking: 221
Total 135 sq km
Land 135 sq km
Water 0 sq km

Area - comparative
About three-quarters the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries
0 km

Coastline
138.9 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Contiguous zone 12 nm
Exclusive fishing zone 200 nm

Climate
Tropical with a wet season (December to April) and dry season; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds

Terrain
Steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point Murray Hill 361 m

Natural resources
Phosphate, beaches

Land use
Arable land 0%
Permanent crops 0%
Other
100% (mainly tropical rainforest; 63% of the island is a national park) (2005)

Irrigated land
NA

Natural hazards
The narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard

Environment - current issues
Loss of rainforest; impact of phosphate mining

Geography - note
Located along major sea lanes of Indian Ocean


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  Christmas Island [ Australia ] (Australia):




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