Pitcairn Island, more than 2,200 km southeast of Tahiti, sits alone between Peru and New Zealand at 25° south latitude and 130° west longitude. Its nearest inhabited neighbor is Mangareva, a small island in French Polynesia 490 km to the northwest. Easter Island lies 1,900 km to the east.
A high volcanic island, Pitcairn reaches 347 meters at the Pawala Ridge and is bounded by rocks and high cliffs on all sides. There's no coral reef, and breakers roll right in to the shore. The island is only 4.5 square km, almost half of which is fertile ground and well suited for human habitation.
The uninhabited islands of Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno, belonging to Pitcairn, are described individually on other pages of this site. The tiny colony controls an exclusive economic zone of 800,000 square km, an important reason why Britain is in no hurry to leave.
Pitcairn enjoys an equitable climate, with mean monthly temperatures varying from 19° C in August to 24° C in February. Daily temperatures can vary from 13° C to 33° C. The 2,000 mm of annual rainfall is unevenly distributed, and prolonged rainy periods alternate with droughts. Moderate easterly winds predominate with short east-to-southeast gales occurring between April and September.
John Adams was the only mutineer to survive the bloodshed of the first years on Pitcairn. In 1819, 10 years prior to his death, he wrote these words to his brother in England:
I have now lived on this island 30 years, and have a wife and four children, and considering the occasion which brought me here it is not likely I shall ever leave this place. I enjoy good health and except the wound which I received from one of the Otaheiteans when they quarreled with us, I have not had a day's sickness. I can only say that I have done everything in my power in instructing them in the path of Heaven, and thank God we are comfortable and happy, and not a single quarrel has taken place these 18 years.