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The Pitcairn Islands are a group of islands in the southern Pacific. People only live on the second-largest of the four islands. That island is named Pitcairn. It is governed by the United Kingdom. It has the smallest number of people of any country. In 2007, 48 people lived there.
The islands are best known as home of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians (or Polynesians) who accompanied them, an event retold in numerous books and films. This history still shows in the surnames of many of the islanders. There are only four family names (as of 2010): Christian, Warren, Young and Brown.
Originally people from Polynesia lived on the Pitcairn Islands, but there was no one living on the islands when they were discovered (found) by Captain Philip Carteret of H.M.S. Swallow on 2 July 1767. The island was named after Robert Pitcairn, a 15 year old midshipman who was the first person on the Swallow to see it. Robert is believed to have been lost at sea in early 1770 when the ship he was on, HMS Aurora, went missing in the Indian Ocean.
Recent sex crimes
In 2004 charges were laid against seven men living on Pitcairn and six living abroad with sex-related offences dating back a number of years. On 25 October 2004, six men were convicted, including the island's mayor at the time. After the six men lost their final appeal, the British government set up a prison on the island at Bob's Valley. The men began serving their sentences in late 2006, as of 2010 all men have served their sentences or been granted home detention status (Pitcairn News, 2010).
In 2010 the island received a new and updated constitution.