King Christian Island



King Christian Island


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Christian Island is a small, uninhabited island located northeast of Newfoundland in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is part of the Glooscap National Park and a nature reserve managed by Parks Canada. The island is known for its three lighthouses and its seabird colonies. The first lighthouse was built in 1829 but it was destroyed by a storm in 1867. The present lighthouse, built-in 1876, is the second lighthouse on Christian Island. The third lighthouse, dating from 1898, served as a light for vessels traveling between Newfoundland and Great Britain.

King Christian Island
View of Qaqortoq Greenland with colorful houses, bay, harbor, mountrains and Fjord.


The first record of Christian Island is from the early 17th century when it was known as Starbuck Island. In 1612, Pierre Dugua de La Penniere, a French explorer and fur trader, visited the island and noted in his journal that there were “many islands hereabouts…all covered with wood.” By 1678, Christian Island had become known as Christian’Island after its owner Jean-Baptiste Colbert de Beauharnois (1624-1683), Duke of Ventadour. The name change may have been prompted by the fact that many Protestant missionaries were living on the island in 1675.

In 1734, Pierre Jean Baptiste Perrault led an expedition with Gaspard Du Bois and Marie Pelois to Christian Island where they established a fur trading post called Fort Royale. Today’s settlement of Plaisance developed at this location but it was abandoned by 1822 after parishioners decided to relocate north as part of a government resettlement program due to New World Order tensions between France and Britain that were influenced by the War Of The Austrian Succession (1740-8). This relocation left many native people without land or shelter though some continued to live on Christian Island.


Christian Island experiences a subpolar oceanic climate (Köppen Dfc) with cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers. There is significant daily variation in temperature due to the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream. The average annual precipitation on Christian Island is. The driest month is October while the wettest months are May and June.

The Climate of Christian Island also exhibits a significant diurnal temperature variation, in summer due to its exposure to sun when it crosses the Gulf Stream increasing daily highs by approximately 6-10 °C; in winter this effect changes with height above sea level which lowers daytime temperatures by 1° C for every 100 meters (328 feet).


The culture of Christian Island is deeply rooted in the subsistence lifestyle of the native Taíno people. The island has a population of around 60 people who are mainly involved in traditional fishing and gathering activities with some involvement in tourism.

Christian Island is also home to a small herd of cattle that provide milk, meat, hides and dung for fuel.

There are no roads or other infrastructure on Christian Island so all materials must be transported by sea or air. Easter celebrants in the Christian Island Church of God traditionally swim across the Atlantic to reach their destination. The construction of concrete roads and bridges is a government initiative that does not currently exist on Christian Island but this project has been proposed by some residents who are keen on more travel options.


Christian Island is a self-governing British Overseas Territory and as such its government is vested in the Governor. The legislative authority of Christian Island is vested in the unicameral Christian Island Council which consists of eight members elected by a simple majority for four-year terms.

Executive power rests with the Chief Minister who is appointed by the Governor on advice from the Christian Island Council. There are no elections to either body and all appointments are subject to parliamentary approval. The adoption of the United Nations Resolutions on Self-Government in the 1970s laid a legal foundation for instituting local government structures which aimed to eliminate dependency and inequalities.

Christian Island is administered from Antigua but its foreign affairs, defense, and trade are primarily handled by the British Virgin Islands Government The School on Christian Island was established in 2016 with Dr David Bismit teaching students about Christianity, ecology and geography.

Government services

There is one hospital on Christian Island that provides general practitioner services, dental care, maternity, and pediatric facilities as well as physiotherapy. There are also a number of pharmacies and a police station. There are no other government-provided services on Christian Island so residents must rely upon private health insurance or cash donations to cover medical costs.


The school on Christian island was established in 2016 with Dr. David Bismit teaching students about Christianity, ecology, and geography. There are no churches on Christian Island. There are a couple of small fishing communities around the coast and several religious buildings including synagogues, mosques, and Buddhist temples in Main Street. However, as most Islanders do not have passports or benefit from medical care Mass attendance at any church service would be impossible.


There is limited tourism on Christian Island as the majority of the population is employed in agriculture and fishing. Visitors can enjoy tours of the local coconut plantations or go for a boat trip around Christian Island. Most visitors include Saint John, the capital of Antigua and Christiansted (the only town in the BVI that is actually on an island) as well as family-friendly snorkeling trips to Coki Beach and Long Bay.


There is limited transport on Christian Island as the only road is a small surfaced path that runs through the center of town. There are no taxis, buses or planes available so visitors must rely on personal transportation.


Christian Island is the site of a dispute between Chile and Peru. Both countries claim it in accordance with the 1853 Treaty of Ancón. The island is located in the Beagle Channel between the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and Antarctica, south of Cape Horn. British explorer John Veitch was the first European to sight it on 17 February 1820. He named it King Christian Island in honor of King Christian VII of Denmark, who had funded his voyage. In 1825, Commander Yáñez gave Chile sovereignty over the island, which was confirmed by the 1853 Treaty of Ancón.


How To Get There?

There is no public transport available on Christian Island so visitors must rely on their own personal transportation.

Is It Safe?

Yes, although there are no police officers stationed on the island visitors should exercise caution when walking around the town. There are several churches and religious buildings in Main Street so Mass attendance would be impossible without passports or medical care.

Is There A Health Care/Policing Service?

There is no government hospital or 24-hour security. There are police officers stationed in town but they do not have jurisdiction outside of the village. The pastor runs an evacuation center that can be bolstered by international organizations, however, this would require specialized backup because of proven oxygen deficiencies on Christian Island and its surroundings.

Are There Sanitary Facilities?

There are not. There is a Burial Island for the living and an SPCA on The Penguin Peninsula across from Christian Island that serves as an animal shelter, but medical care is limited. Catholic Mass attendance would be impossible without passports or medical travel supplies because of infectious diseases like tuberculosis (TB) and cholera/vomiting blood in children; these diseases have been linked to pigs rooting through garbage outside vision centers around town where poor sanitation results in rapid spread rendering their staff unable to serve communicants properly causing severe respiratory issues.

What Else Is There Here?

There are natural formations galore-o: Humpback whales gathering at the surface of a bight in the Great Bay’s sea-ice separating Christian Island from Hong Kong and Macau, 14 species of bird endemic to this region including endangered Russian oyster shell dove (Tortuga Asiatica) well as Asian black bear population returning gradually back through an active reforestation process on The Penguin Peninsula that connects it to where they were last recorded…about 200 years ago by American Fish & Wildlife Service researchers.

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