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Christmas Island ??

You've got the domain and so now have your own little bit of Paradise. But just where is your island in the sun?

Christmas Island was discovered in 1615 by Captain Richard Rowe. But it was 28 years later when the island was named by William Mynors, the captain of the East India Company ship, the Royal Mary. As he sailed past a yet unnamed island on 25th December 1643, he thought it would be appropriate to call it Christmas Island. He was, however, unable to land. So it wasn't until 1688 when Captain William Dampier arrived on the British ship the Cygnet, and landed at the Dales that someone stepped foot on the island.

Christmas Island was not settled until 1895 when a settlement was set up at Flying Fish Cove. The Clunies Ross brothers from the neighbouring Cocos-Keeling Islands 900 km to the south west of Christmas Island set up a settlement for the exportation of timber and supplies to Cocos.

During the period 1872-6, Dr John Murray carried out extensive surveys whilst on the HMS Challenger expedition to Indonesia. Phosphate was discovered there, and on 6th June 1888 Britain annexed Christmas Island and its settlers. The Christmas Island Phosphate Company was established to mine the phosphate on the island and this has been the main industry ever since.

In 1900, The Straits Settlements (what is now Singapore and part of Malaysia) took charge of the island. During World War II the Japanese occupied the island from 1942-5. During this time they tried to profit from the mine, but sabotage from the Islanders made this impossible. By 1943, the Japanese were unable to maintain food supplies to the island, so sent half the population to prison camps in Indonesia. After the war it reverted to Singaporean control. But in 1957, the Australian government finally aquired Christmas Isalnd from Singaporean control with a compensation payment of 2.9 million pounds made to the Singaporean government. The island remained a crown colony until its transfer to Australian control was completed on 1 October 1958. This day is celebrated on the island as Territory Day.

There are no current disputes regarding the island's sovereignty.

In December 1987 the Australiam Government closed the phosphate mine, but in 1990 the mine was reopened by private operators. However, the phospate which first attracted people to the island is now near depletion and so new industries have had to be found, and tourism seems to be the winner. A A$45 million casino was built on Christmas Island which opened in 1993 and it was hoped that this would help the tourism industry on the island. But this could change owing to the cancellation of the Christmas Island Casino Licence.

The Federal Territories Minister, Alex Somlyay, cancelled the licence held by Christmas Island Resort Pty Ltd (CIR) on 28 July 1998. The Minister had called the CIR to show why they had not met certain financial obligations, but was not satisfied with the results.

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