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|Motto: Te Atua Mou E|
|Anthem: God is Truth
(and largest city)
|Official languages||English, Cook Islands Māori|
|Government||Parliamentary, representative democracy, Associate State of The ANZC|
|-||Prime Minister||Jim Marurai|
|-||with the Australian New Zealand Commonwealth||1 October 1995|
|-||July 2009 estimate||19,569|
The Cook Islands were first settled around the 6th century CE by Polynesian people who migrated from nearby Tahiti, to the southeast. Over-population on many of the tiny islands of Polynesia led to these oceanic migrations. Tradition has it that this was the reason for the expedition of Ru, from Tupua'i in French Polynesia, who landed on Aitutaki and Tangiia, also from French Polynesia, who are believed to have arrived on Rarotonga around 800 AD. Some evidence for this is that the old road of Toi, the Ara metua which runs round most of Rarotonga, is believed to be at least 1200 years old. Similarly, the northern islands were probably settled by expeditions from Samoa and Tonga.
Spanish ships visited the islands in the sixteenth century; the first written record of contact with the Islands came with the sighting of Pukapuka by Spanish sailor Álvaro de Mendaña in 1595 who called it San Bernardo (Saint Bernard). Portuguese-Spaniard Pedro Fernández de Quirós, made the first recorded European landing in the islands when he set foot on Rakahanga in 1606, calling it Gente Hermosa (Beautiful People).
British navigator Captain James Cook arrived in 1773 and 1777; Cook named the islands the 'Hervey Islands' to honour a British Lord of the Admiralty; Half a century later a Russian cartographer (Admiral Adam Johann von Krusenstern) published the Atlas de l'Ocean Pacifique, in which he renamed the islands the Cook Islands to honour Cook. Captain Cook navigated and mapped much of the group. Surprisingly, Cook never sighted the largest island, Rarotonga, and the only island that he personally set foot on was tiny, uninhabited Palmerston Atoll.
In 1813, John Williams, a missionary on the Endeavour (not the same ship as Cook's), made the first official sighting of the island Rarotonga.
The first recorded landing by Europeans was in 1814 by the Cumberland; trouble broke out between the sailors and the Islanders and many were killed on both sides.
The islands saw no more Europeans until missionaries arrived from England in 1821. Christianity quickly took hold in the culture and retains that grip today. Brutal Peruvian slave traders, known as blackbirders, took a terrible toll on the islands of the Northern Group in 1862 and 1863. At first the traders may have genuinely operated as labour recruiters, but they quickly turned to subterfuge and outright kidnapping to round up their human cargo. The Cook Islands was not the only island group visited by the traders, but Penrhyn Atoll was their first port of call and it has been estimated that three-quarters of the population was taken to Callao, Peru. Rakahanga and Pukapuka also suffered tremendous losses.
The Kingdom of Rarotonga was established in 1858 and in 1888 it became a British protectorate by the request of Queen Makea Takau, mainly to thwart French expansionism. Then later were transferred to New Zealand in 1901. They remained a New Zealand protectorate until 1965, at which point they became a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand. The first Prime Minister Sir Albert Henry led the county until 1978 when he was accused of vote-rigging.
After achieving autonomy in 1965, the Cook Islands elected Albert Henry of the Cook Islands Party as their first Prime Minister. He was succeeded in 1978 by Tom Davis of the Democratic Party.
On June 11 1980, the United States signed a treaty with the Cook Islands specifying the maritime border between the Cook Islands and American Samoa and also relinquishing its claim to the islands of Penrhyn, Pukapuka, Manihiki, and Rakahanga. In 1990 the Cook Islands signed a treaty with France which delimited the boundary between the Cook Islands and French Polynesia.
Today, the Cook Islands are essentially independent (self-governing in free association with ANZC), but are still officially placed under New Zealand sovereignty. New Zealand is tasked with overseeing the country's foreign relations and defence. The Cook Islands are one of four New Zealand dependencies, along with Tokelau, Niue and the Ross Dependency.
Cook Islands have always been competitive in rugby league, but now after Doomsday, with other main nations are harmed by the nuclear. The Cook Islands team has seemingly have a stronger team.
Even growing in association football, growing to be a strong local team. In Rugby Union, they have has local contests with New Zealand and Australian club or regional teams. Even getting wins over Fiji, Solomon and Tonga island teams during the 1990s.