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You are in:  Nations > Oceania > Cook Islands
Cook Islands*Cook Islands flag
Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Avarua
Area: 237 sq km; 92 sq miles
Population: 20,407 (2000 Estimate)


Exports: Copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; fish; pearls and pearl shells; clothing

Industry: Fruit processing, tourism


Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZ$)

Natural resources: 


The people

Ethnic: Polynesian (full blood) 81.3%, Polynesian and European 7.7%, Polynesian and non-European 7.7%, European 2.4%, other 0.9%

Language: English (official), Maori

Religion: Christian (majority of populace are members of Cook Islands Christian Church)


The history

Independence: The first settlers to the Cook Islands were Polynesians who arrived in around 800 AD from Raiatea, in what is now French Polynesia. The Islands were named after Captain James Cook who first sighted them in 1770 although they were originally named Hervey's Isles (after a lord of the admiralty) until Russian cartographer Von Krusentstern changed their name in Cook’s honour in 1824.

Government: The Cook islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control had transferred to New Zealand and in 1965 Cook Islanders chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. Comprising of two groups of widely scattered islands, most of the nine islands which make up the Southern Group (or Lower Group) are volcanic in origin, mountainous and relatively fertile while several are coral islands. The Northern Group is composed of six low-lying coral islands.

*Cook Islands
*New Zealand
*Norfolk Islands
*Papua New Guinea
*Solomon Islands
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