The Norfolk Island Dependency, commonly referred to as simply Norfolk Island, is a dependency of Van Diemen's Land, situated in the Pacific Ocean. Whilst being a part of the Dominion, Norfolk Island exercises a very high degree of autonomy.
Norfolk Island was first settled by East Polynesian people in the fourteenth century, however, they disappeared after several generations, leaving behind evidence of tools and villages.
The first european settlement of the island began in 1788, when Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King led a party of fifteen convicts and seven free men from Sydney to take possession of the island, and to prepare it for further settlement. During the first few years of the settlement, named "Sydney", the island acted as the breadbasket of the near-starving colony at Sydney cove. Many convicts, soldiers and free settlers arrived from the mainland to bolster the islands productivity.
However, when Major Joseph Foveaux arrived in 1800 to take over as Lieutenant-Governor, he found the settlement run-down. He put the convicts to work, building public works, and earning the praise of Governor King.
News of the convict rebellion took it's time in reaching the island settlement. Lt.-Governor Foveaux was first informed of the takeover by a passing french whaling ship in 1805. Unsure of what to do in the situation, he decided to wait until he received further orders.
But it seemed that the British Colonial office and the Van Diemonian colonial administration had more important things to worry about. With no orders and an abundant island under his command, the Lt-Governor began to run Norfolk less like a British colony and more like his own personal kingdom. By limiting news of the outside world and keeping the populace happy with abundant food, Foveaux managed to maintain his dictatorial clench over the island for the thirty-seven years until his death in 1844.
Without their oppressive yet highly-organised leader, the Norfolk Islanders fell into anarchy as military leaders, convicts and free settlers fought over control of the island. News of the island's state reached Sydney and Hobart through American sealers. The Republic of NSW, thinking of itself as the legitimate successor of the NSW colony, sent an expeditionary force to intervene. They arrived in February and, after taking possession, soon restored order to the island.
In Hobart, the administration of Lt.-Governor John Franklin was outraged at the intervention of New South Wales. Van Diemen's Land was, in the eyes of it's government, the sole legitimate successor of the NSW colony, and as such, the rightful claimant to Norfolk Island. After the parliament's unanimous declaration of support, Lt.-Gov. Franklin declared war on the Republic. After the short conflict and subsequent occupation of the island, NSW officially recognised VDL's possession of the island.
As a dependency of Van Diemen's Land, Norfolk Island underwent a period of unprecedented economic growth.
During the Asia-Pacific War (1943-1948), Norfolk Island was targeted by Sino-Japanese air and submarine raids. The attack on Sydney in 1946 prompted Van Diemen's Land to enter the conflict.
Norfolk Island has a very agriculture-based economy. It is well known for it's flax industry.