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Oceania, Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island, island, dependency of Australia in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, about 1,496 km (about 930 mi) east of Australia. Kingston, a popular tourist center for Australians and New Zealanders, is the chief settlement and main port. Much of the coastline of this volcanic island ends in steep cliffs, while the rugged inland rises to two peaks, Mount Pitt and Mount Bates. The island's most prominent feature, the native Norfolk Island pine, can grow to a height of 60 meters (200 feet). Saplings are grown throughout the world as houseplants. Grain, vegetables, fruit, and flowers are produced on the island.

The English explorer Captain James Cook landed on Norfolk Island in 1774 and claimed it for Britain. From 1788 to 1814 and again from 1825 to 1855, the island served as a British penal colony—the second time becoming notorious for its harsh discipline and punishment.

Some of the people who live on Norfolk Island are descendants of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty, the British merchant ship under the command of Captain William Bligh. The mutineers originally lived on Pitcairn Island, but their descendants were relocated to Norfolk Island in 1856. Norfolk Island was separated from New South Wales and made an Australian territory in 1914. Area, 35 sq km (13 sq mi); population 1,912 (1991).

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