Estimate population 10,770 - Capital: Avarua
The Cook Islands are an independent nation consisting of a total of 15 islands throughout the south-west Pacific. Nine of the islands are in the southern group, Palmerston, Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Mangaia, Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro, Manuae and Taku-tea. The other six islands are in the northern group, Penrhyn, Manihiki, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Suwarrow and Nassau.
Rich in history and culture the Cook Islands are a delightful spot and well worth visiting. The islands were discovered by James Cook and were declared a British Protectorate in 1888 but came officially under New Zealand control in 1891. In 1965 the Cook Islands were given independence but retained citizenship rights in New Zealand. They are still dependent on New Zealand.