Yes there really is a Christmas Island! Actually, there are two Christmas Islands! One is in Micronesia in the Pacific Ocean and one is administered by Australia in the Indian Ocean.
This Christmas Island flies the Australian flag. On the 25th of December, Christmas Day, in 1643, an island off the coast of Australia was discovered and because of this, the island was appropriately named Christmas Island by Captain William Mynors. Christmas is celebrated on this island as is the Chinese New Year.
On the 24th of December, Christmas Eve, in 1777, an island in Micronesia in the Pacific Ocean was discovered by Captain Cook. And so named Christmas Island. True to its name of Christmas, the island has been an island of peace. No fighting occurred on Christmas Island during World War II; however, it was a staging area for the Pacific theater, and the roads and airfield created for these purposes are quite extensive. Today a Japanese downrange satellite tracking station is located on the island. The island received its independence from Great Britain as part of Kiribati in 1979. The native Christmas Islanders are mostly of Gilbertese decent. Most of the local people speak English although the native language is I-Kiribati.
Geologically, the oldest atoll in the world's oceans is Christmas Island, lying just 119 miles north of the equator in the Line Islands. Aboard the Discovery, the astronauts had one of the best views ever of Christmas Island, the old atoll more often than not being covered with towering cumulus clouds. The lagoon is nearly completely filled by coral growth.
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Re: Two Christmas Islands
Thanks for helping us learn something new Mermaid. I didn't know there were two of them!
<img src=http://www.cruise-addicts.com/forums/download.php/1,110381,604/snoflake.gif> <img src=http://www.cruise-addicts.com/forums/download.php/1,109864,587/snowglo1.gif> <img src=http://www.cruise-addicts.com/forums/download.php/1,110381,604/snoflake.gif>
Thanks for the Ocean fact Mermaid. I can even say that I visited one of them on my Tahiti-Hawaii cruise.
If I remember some additional facts the island was shaped like the letter "C". From one end to the other I believe it was over 100 miles, with the town of London at one end, and Paris at the other only a couple of miles directly across the channel. The other town on the far side of the island was Sydney.(calling these towns is also a huge stretch) You sure have to like whoever thought up the names.
I visited the one on my Tahiti/Hawaii cruise and thought it was a great place and was a little irritated that Princess down played it so much. Thanks so much for all the info because I certainly did not know that there were two! Informative and a great job also reminder there are so many places to visit :-) !!! Sue
Very interesting, Mermaid, and thank you for posting it. I, too, was surprised to read about the second island of the same name. I love the satellite photo of the island, too. Wish I were there right now (island, not satellite). :o)
Working in a long term care facility (ie: nursing home - we listen to the oldies station WOKY) - I was wondering if anyone remembers a song with the words: "Have you had Christmas, on Christmas Island?"