The Cocos Islands (or Keeling Islands) are an Australian external territory located in the Indian Ocean. They were first claimed by the British in 1814, but not formally annexed until 1857; the islands were administered from Ceylon after 1870, and after 1886, from the Straits Settlements. Plastic token coinage was issued in 1913, and later in 1968. They were the scene of a WWI naval battle in 1914 where the German ship SMS Emden was sunk by an Australian cruiser. In WWII they were bombed, but not occupied by the Japanese; from 1946 it was administered from the colony of Singapore again (from Ceylon in wartime). In 1955 the British finally transferred the islands to Australia, under whom they have remained ever since, despite a 1984 referendum on self-determination. As of 2018 they have a population of about 600, and currently use the Australian dollar.
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