Christmas Island

Population: 
1402000

Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK in 1888. Phosphate mining began in the 1890s. The UK transferred sovereignty to Australia in 1958. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.

Ethnicity: 
{"Ethnic groups"=>"Chinese 70%, European 20%, Malay 10%"}
Religion: 
Buddhist 36%, Muslim 25%, Christian 18%, other 21% (1997)

Country information from the CIA World Factbook.