Pitcairn Island Collapse

Colin Driscoll and Claire Campbell


The collapse that the Pitcairn, Henderson, and Mangareva islands experienced had to do with their environmental issues, over population, and their trading struggle.


The collapse of the Pitcairn, Henderson, and Mangareva Islands. Due to the size of these islands the population average was about 100 people. Also, because the size of their island the resources were very limited. Though the early generations of people were able to survive off the land but later in the islands history the people weren't able to survive, because the resources ran low. At the end of these islands, the resources ran low and the people could not survive causing an end to the Pitcairn islands.


The environmental issues the Pitcairn, Henderson, and Mangareva islands faced lead to their collapse. The environment of Pitcairn is mainly trees and soil for growing crops. When people inhabited Pitcairn, they used up the resources and fast. Soon enough they ran out of resources and had to abandon Pitcairn. Henderson island was made up of coral, which was good for fishing but not farming. Henderson then overfished, and had no where to get crops so they had to leave. The Mangareva island experienced a lot of rain, therefore they had a lot streams and rivers. Mangareva was also a small island, only 11.97 square miles. When their population increased there was not enough land or food for everyone to live. The environmental issues these islands faced, played a key role in their collapse.


One reason the Pitcairn, Henderson, and Mangareva islands collapsed because of their trade. These islands were all close to each other, so they traded with one another. Pitcairn supplied the group of islands with crops, but when Pitcairn collapsed, no one got their crops. Henderson could not produce crops of its own, so they normally got their crops from their close neighbor Pitcairn. When Pitcairn collapsed, the Henderson Island had no way of getting any crops, so the people got hungry and died, causing Henderson to collapse. The Mangareva island traded with Pitcairn and Henderson, but didn’t fully rely on them. Mangareva eventually ran out of resources and people to trade with, so they collapsed. When Pitcairn's trade collapsed, all the other islands collapsed like dominos .

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Work Cited

Works Cited

Amoamo, Maria. "Empire And Erasure: A Case Study Of Pitcairn Island." Island Studies Journal 8.2 (2013): 233-254. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.

Diamond, Jared M. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking, 2005. Print.

"Neighbours Kept Pitcairn People Alive." UQ News. University of Queensland, 9 Mar. 2005. Web. 14 Mar. 2014. <http://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2005/03/neighbours-kept-pitcairn-people-alive>. This website is a reliable source because it is from a University. This article was also published in 2005, so it is fairly recent information. Also, in the article the author talks about the Collapse book which is one of the main sources for our project.

"Pitcairn Islands." Central Intelligence Agency. Central Intelligence Agency, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2014. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pc.html>.