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 Southeastern Asia, group of islands in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Indonesia, about halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka

Geographic Coordinates:

 12 30 S, 96 50 E


 Total: 14 sq km
Land: 14 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

Note: includes the two main islands of West Island and Home Island

Area - Comparative:

 About 24 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land Boundaries:

 0 km


 26 km (Rank: 193)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


 Tropical with high humidity, moderated by the southeast trade winds for about nine months of the year


 Flat, low-lying coral atolls

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point: unnamed location 5 m

Natural Resources:


Land Use:

 Arable land: 0%
Permanent crops: 0%
Other: 100% (2005)

Natural Hazards:

 Cyclone season is October to April

Environment - Current Issues:

 Freshwater resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs

Geography - Note:

 Islands are thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation; site of a World War I naval battle in November 1914 between the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German raider SMS Emden; after being heavily damaged in the engagement, the Emden was beached by her captain on North Keeling Island

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 Noun: Cocos Islander(s)
Adjective: Cocos Islander

Ethnic Groups:

 Europeans, Cocos Malays


 Malay (Cocos dialect), English


 Sunni Muslim 80%, other 20% (2002 est.)


 596 (July 2010 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Population Growth Rate:

 0% (2010 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: NA
Male: NA
Female: NA

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: NA
Male: NA
Female: NA

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Conventional short form: Cocos (Keeling) Islands


 Name: West Island
Geographic coordinates: 12 10 S, 96 50 E
Time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 None (territory of Australia)

Dependency Status:

 Non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government


 None (territory of Australia)

National Holiday:

 Australia Day, 26 January (1788)


 Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act of 1955 (23 November 1955) as amended by the Territories Law Reform Act of 1992

Legal System:

 Common law based on the Australian model


 18 years of age

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by the Australian governor general

Head of government: Administrator (nonresident) Brian LACY (since 5 October 2009)

Cabinet: NA

Elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Australian prime minister; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia and represents the monarch and Australia

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral Cocos (Keeling) Islands Shire Council (7 seats)

Elections: held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held in October 2009 (next to be held in Ocotber 2011)

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court; Magistrate's Court

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 The Cocos Islands Youth Support Centre

Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 None (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 None (territory of Australia)

Flag Description:

 The flag of Australia is used

National Anthem:

 Note: as a territory of Australia, "Advance Australia Fair" remains official as the national anthem, while "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see Australia)


 (territory of Australia)

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Economy - Overview:

 Coconuts, grown throughout the islands, are the sole cash crop. Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but additional food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia. There is a small tourist industry.

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 1% (2003)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Note: the Cocos Islands Cooperative Society Ltd. employs construction workers, stevedores, and lighterage workers; tourism employs others

Unemployment Rate:

 60% (2000 est.)


 Revenues: $NA
Expenditures: $NA

Agriculture - Products:

 Vegetables, bananas, pawpaws, coconuts


 Copra products and tourism

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: NA
Hydro: NA
Nuclear: NA
Other: NA

Exports - Commodities:


Imports - Commodities:


Exchange Rates:

 Convert Australian Dollar to Any Currency

Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.0902 (2010)
1.2822 (2009)
1.2059 (2008)
1.2137 (2007)
1.3285 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 287 (1992)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: connected within Australia's telecommunication system; a local mobile-cellular network is in operation

Domestic: NA

International: country code - 61; telephone, telex, and facsimile communications with Australia and elsewhere via satellite; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat) (2001)

Broadcast Media:

 1 local radio station staffed by community volunteers; broadcasts of several Australian radio and TV stations are received via satellite (2009)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2004)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 4 (2007)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 35,312 (2010)

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 1 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)


 Total: 22 km
Paved: 10 km
Unpaved: 12 km (2007)

Ports and Terminals:

 Port Refuge

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Military - Note:

 Defense is the responsibility of Australia; the territory has a five-person police force

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Last Updated: December 2011

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