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Archive for March 31st, 2008

Oh yes, it’s true.  Believe it or else, there is a place where it’s Christmas all the time.  Christmas Island is a tiny postage-stamp-sized piece of property (~50 square miles) located about 300 miles south of Jakarta, Indonesia.  The island, discovered in 1643 on Easter Sunday, was known fo… …just kidding.  It was discovered on Christmas day.  Hahahaha…sometimes I kill me.

As I was starting to say, it was known for phosphate that, once discovered, led to its annexation by the British in the late 1800’s.  The British mined it and, among other things, exported it to their largest buyer, Japan.  With the outbreak of war in the area in 1941, Japan wanted to secure the phosphate deposits, so they started a not-so-concerted effort to do so (it’s a small island after all) with a few token attacks between late January and early March of 1942.  At that point, the Indian soldiers on the island mutineed (and killed) the British officer and four British NCO’s commanding them.

It was on this day, March 31, 1942, that Christmas came to the Japanese, who landed on the island and took control.  In the end, very little phosphate from the island contributed to Japan’s war effort, thanks to some clever sabotage, as well as the continuous gift-giving, the daily making of the rosettes, and hanging stockings.  And in late 1945, the British (wanting to get in on the fruitcake and yule logs) came back in force and asked the 15 remaining Japanese soldiers to (and this isn’t a direct quote) “take their Christmas somewhere else”.  But, at least while they were there, they could have delicious egg-nog whenever they wanted.

Recommended Viewing: Twas the Night Before Christmas – The only in-depth resource available.  It’s a serious look at the history of Christmas Island, the mutiny, the subsequent Japanese occupation, and the heroic efforts made by the saboteurs to thwart phosphate production and deliveries. And it has some really singable tunes.  It’s in my library…it should be in yours.

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