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The Pitcairn Islands, officially named the Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, are a group of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean that form a British Overseas Territory. The four islandsPitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oenoare spread over several hundred miles of ocean and have a total land area of about 47 square kilometres (18 sq mi). Only Pitcairn, the second largest and measuring about 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) from east to west, is inhabited.The islands are inhabited by the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians (or Polynesians) who accompanied them, an event retold in numerous books and films. This history is still apparent in the surnames of many of the islanders. With only about 48 inhabitants (currently from four main families: Christian, Warren, Young and Brown), Pitcairn is the least populous jurisdiction in the world. The United Nations Committee on Decolonisation includes the Pitcairn Islands on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.HistoryThe earliest known settlers of the Pitcairn Islands were Polynesians who appear to have lived on Pitcairn, Henderson and nearby Mangareva Island for several centuries. They traded goods and formed social ties between the three islands despite the long canoe voyages between them, helping the small populations on each island survive despite very limited resources. Eventually important natural resources were used up, inter-island trade broke down and a period of civil war began on Mangareva, causing the small human populations on Henderson and Pitcairn to be cut off and eventually go extinct. Although archaeologists believe that Polynesians were living on Pitcairn as late as the 15th century, the islands were uninhabited when they were discovered by Europeans.

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