Pitcairn Island

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The Pitcairn Islands lie in the South Pacific Ocean midway between New Zealand and Panama. They were annexed by the United Kingdom in 1887 and are currently governed by the British High Commissioner to New Zealand. The population of the group is 54 (1999) and the area is 2 square miles (5 km2). Pitcairn was first settled in 1790 by mutineers from HMS Bounty and their Tahitian womenfolk. In 1856 the population was evacuated to Norfolk Island, but many returned in 1859 and 1864. The island was mired in scandal in recent years after several woman came forward with allegations of sexual abuse. This has divided the island particularly after the mayor was jailed for such crimes.