Palmerston Island is a coral atoll in the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean about 500 km northwest of Rarotonga. It was discovered by James Cook on 16 June 1774.
Palmerston Island consists of a number of sandy islets on a continuous ring of coral reef enclosing a lagoon. There are only 48 people living in Palmerston, all but three descended from an Englishman named William Marsters.
Palmerston was discovered by Captain Cook in 1774, but he did not land on the island until 13 April 1777. In 1863 William Marsters, a ship’s carpenter and barrel maker, arrived on Palmerston from with three Polynesian wives (all cousins) and annexed the island from the British government. He had a large family of some 23 children, whose descendants now inhabit Palmerston.Marriage between first cousins is acceptable now where at the beginning was between half brothers and sisters Though only some 50 family members remain on Palmerston, all of Marsters’ descendants consider the island their ancestral home. In 1954 the family was granted full ownership of the island. Three branches of the family remain on Palmerston.
William Marsters died in 1899 of malnutrition after his coconut trees
were destroyed by a storm