Cocos Islands History and Economy

According to, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Territory, also called the Cocos Islands and the Keeling Islands, is a territory of Australia. There are two atolls and twenty-seven coral islands in the group. The islands are located in the Indian Ocean, about halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka.


Captain William Keeling was the first European to see the islands, in 1609, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century, when they became a possession of the Clunies-Ross Family.

The 1 of April of 1836, from the ship HMS Beagle Captain Robert FitzRoy arrived to take soundings that established the profile of the atoll. For the young naturalist Charles Darwin, who was on the ship, the results supported a theory that has evolved from the way atolls formed.

The islands were annexed to the British Empire in 1857. Then in 1867, his administration was placed under the Narrow Settlement System, which included Penang, Malacca, and Singapore. The Queen Victoria granted the islands in perpetuity to the Clunies-Ross family in 1886.

The 9 of November of 1914, the islands became the site of the Battle of Cocos, one of the first naval battles of World War II. The telegraph station on Direction Island, a vital link between the UK, Australia and New Zealand, was attacked by the German light cruiser SMS Emden, which was in turn surprised and destroyed by the Australian cruiser, HMAS Sydney.

Following Japan’s entry into the war, Japanese forces occupied the neighboring islands. To avoid drawing his attention to the Cocos cable station and its garrison islands, the seaplane anchor between the islands of Direction and Horsburgh was not used.

After the fall of Singapore in 1942, the islands are administered from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and the West and Islands Directorate were placed under Allied military administration. The islands garrison initially consisted of a platoon from the British Army King’s African Rifles, located on the island of Horsburgh, with firearms to cover the anchorage system. On the night of May 8-9, 1942, fifteen garrison members of the Ceylon Defense Force mutinied, under the leadership of Fernando Gratien. The mutineers would have been provoked by the attitude of their British officers, and were also supposedly inspired by anti-imperialist beliefs. On December 25, 1942, the Japanese submarine I-166 bombarded the islands, but caused no damage.

On November 23, 1955, the islands were transferred to Australia under the control established in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955. In 1978, the Australian government forced the family to sell the islands for the sum of AU $ 6,250,000, resorting to the threat of compulsory acquisition.


The coconuts that grow on the islands are the main crop of the place. There are also small orchards and some fishermen who help to improve the food supply, but it is insufficient and it is necessary to bring food from Australia. As a result, about 60% of the population lacks a stable job. The issuance of postage stamps, mainly intended for philatelic collecting, is also an important source of income for its economy. The islands also receive tourism, but in small numbers. Also the is rented to get more funds.

Cocos Islands History

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