Formerly inhabited islands

Islands or island groups where the entire site is currently uninhabited but formerly at least some parts were inhabited.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Aldabra Atoll was inhabited by various small groups of tortoise catchers, wood collectors, fishermen, guano collectors etc
Bikini Atoll Was first evacuated in Mar 1946 for the Atomic Tests which.In June 1968 LBJ promised the islanders that a clean up would enable them to return - this started in 1969. But in 1978 medical examinations identified high radiation levels in the population and another evacuation took place. In 1998 an IAEA advisory group "recommended that Bikini Island should not be permanently resettled under the present radiological conditions. This recommendation was based on the assumption that persons resettling on the island would consume a diet of entirely locally produced food." This remains the situation with Bikinians pursuing law suits against the US for a proper clean up. The atoll remains open with conditions for limited and self sufficient dive and sports fishing tourism
Cocos Island August Gissler a German adventurer and treasure hunter was made "Governor" of Cocos Island by the Costa Rican government in 1897. Backed by Financiers who set up the "Cocos Plantation Company" he established a colony there together with "several settler families who also grew tobacco" (Wiki). Unsuccessful he eventually left the island in 1908.
Gough and Inaccessible Islands Inaccessible Island: "The Stoltenhoff brothers, who arrived on Inaccessible from Germany in 1871, lived there for several years intending to make a living sealing and selling their wares to passing traders (forgetting how infrequently Inaccessible had visitors). However, due to the scarcity of food, they were "overjoyed" to be rescued in 1873 during HMS Challenger's visit to examine the flora and fauna there". (wiki)
Heard and McDonald Islands "In the sealing period from 1855 to 1880, a number of American sealers spent a year or more on the island, living in appalling conditions in dark smelly huts, also at Oil Barrel Point. At its peak the community consisted of 200 people. " (Wiki)
Henderson Island has archaeological remains of Polynesian settlement plus the occasional shipwrecked sailors/castaways!
Ogasawara Islands North Iwo Jima was inhabited twice, first by Micronesians before the European discovery in the 16th century and then by the Japanese between 1889 and WWII
Phoenix Islands Only 1 of the 8 Atolls is currently inhabited (Kanton - 24 inhabs). However in 1938 UK initiated the "Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme". This is said by wiki to have been "the last attempt at human colonisation within the British Empire". The 3 Islands were then known as Gardner, Sydney and Hull. The scheme was not a success and the remaining families were evacuated in 1963. The islands are now officially "Uninhabited".
Rock Islands
Sceilg MhichĂ­l was inhabited by Monks
St. Kilda
Sub-Antarctic Islands Auckland Islands (part of NZ Sub Antarcic Islands) "Traces of Polynesian settlement, possibly dating to the 13th century, have been found by archaeologists on Enderby Island. This is the most southerly settlement by Polynesians yet known.". (wiki)
Wrangel Island The remains of early Paleo Eskimo camps are not thought to be evidence of permanent year round habitation. However, in 1926 the Soviet Union set up the village of Ushakovskoe with 60 transplanted peoples (mainly Chukchis) to boost its claim for sovereignty over this uninhabited island in the face of possible US and Canadian claims. With the loss of "Soviet" backing the village declined through the 1990s and in 1997 the majority of those remaining were transported to the mainland, though the village operated through to 2003 when it was formally closed (in time for its WHS inscription!) and those currently living on the island are considered transitory Nature Reserve employees rather than "permanent" residents


Do you know of another WHS we could connect to Formerly inhabited islands?

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A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source