A desert island
, or uninhabited island
, is an island
that is not permanently populated by humans
. Uninhabited islands are often depicted in films or stories about shipwrecked
people, and are also used as stereotypes for the idea of "paradise
". Some uninhabited islands are protected as nature reserves
, and some are privately owned. Devon Island
far north is the largest uninhabited island in the world.
Small coral atolls
or islands usually have no source of fresh water
, but occasionally a freshwater lens
can be reached with a well.
Uninhabited islands are sometimes also called "deserted islands" or "desert islands". In the latter, the adjective desert
connotes not desert
climate conditions, but rather "desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied". The word desert
has been "formerly applied more widely to any wild, uninhabited region, including forest-land", and it is this archaic meaning that appears in the phrase "desert island".
The term "desert island" is also commonly used figuratively to refer to objects or behavior in conditions of social isolation and limited material means. Behavior on a desert island is a common thought experiment
, for example, "desert island morality".
Desert islands are partly sheltered from humans, making them havens of peace for a number of fragile wildlife species such as sea turtles
and ground-nesting seabirds
. Many species of seabirds use them as stopovers on their way or especially for nesting, taking advantage of the (supposed) absence of terrestrial predators such as cats
However, tons of waste from far away countries accumulates on their beaches from the sea, and the absence of surveillance also makes them important spots for poachers
of protected species.
List of selected uninhabited islands
- Amatignak Island, southernmost point of Alaska, USA
- Appat Island, Greenland
- ʻAta, the southernmost island of the Kingdom of Tonga
- Auckland Islands in the South Pacific, which are part of New Zealand
- Astola Island, Pakistan
- A majority of the Barra Isles, the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The most famous of these is Barra Head.
- Blasket Islands in County Kerry, Ireland
- Ball's Pyramid, a tall volcanic mountain located close to Lord Howe Island in the South Pacific
- Binlang Islet, Lieyu Township (Lesser Kinmen), Kinmen County (Quemoy), Taiwan (Republic of China)
- Most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
- Caquorobert, Guernsey
- Clipperton Island, a Pacific island of France
- Coral Sea Islands off the northeastern coast of Australia
- De Long Islands in the Arctic Ocean, part of Russia
- Desertas Islands, Portugal
- Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island in the world at 55,247 km2
- Gotska Sandön, Sweden
- Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Australia
- Many islands within the waters of Hong Kong
- Ilha da Queimada Grande "Snake Island", Brazil
- Isle Royale in Lake Superior
- Keros and other small islands off the coast of Greece
- Kermadec Islands, part of New Zealand
- Korzhin Island in Lake Balkhash
- Klein Curaçao, Curaçao
- Lampione, Sicily
- Lítla Dímun, Faroe Islands
- Luci Island in Xiuyu District, Putian, Fujian, China (PRC)
- Ogurchinsky Island in the Caspian Sea
- Rat Islands, a volcanic island in the Aleutian Islands
- Santa Luzia, Cape Verde
- Savage Islands, Portugal
- Shag Rocks (South Georgia)
- Surtsey, a volcanic island located south of Iceland
- Tetepare Island, the largest uninhabited island in the South Pacific
- Topo Islet, Azores, Portugal
- Most of the United States Minor Outlying Islands, such as Johnston Atoll, Wake Island and Midway Atoll. Palmyra Atoll has no permanent residents but it has private landholdings that are continuously occupied by temporary residents.
List of largest uninhabited islands
The largest 10 uninhabited islands all have a latitude greater than 70° north or south of the equator, indicating that the reason for their desertedness is the climate.
In literature and popular culture
The first known novels
to be set on a desert island were Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
written by Ibn Tufail
(1105–1185), followed by Theologus Autodidactus
written by Ibn al-Nafis
(1213–1288). The protagonists
in both (Hayy in Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
and Kamil in Theologus Autodidactus
) are feral children
living in seclusion on a deserted island, until they eventually come in contact with castaways
from the outside world who are stranded on the island. The story of Theologus Autodidactus
, however, extends beyond the deserted island setting when the castaways take Kamil back to civilization
's 1610–11 play, The Tempest
, uses the idea of being stranded on a desert island as a pretext for the action of the play. Prospero
and his daughter Miranda
are set adrift by Prospero's treacherous brother Antonio, seeking to become Duke of Milan
, and Prospero in turn shipwrecks his brother and other men of sin onto the island.
translation of Ibn Tufail's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
appeared in 1671, prepared by Edward Pococke
followed by an English
translation by Simon Ockley
as well as German
In the late 17th century, Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
inspired Robert Boyle
, an acquaintance of Pococke, to write his own philosophical novel set on a deserted island, The Aspiring Naturalist
Ibn al-Nafis' Theologus Autodidactus
was also eventually translated into English in the early 20th century.
Robinson Crusoe in an 1887 German illustration
Published in 1719, Daniel Defoe
's novel Robinson Crusoe
about a castaway on a desert island has spawned so many imitations in film, television and radio that its name was used to define a genre, Robinsonade
The novel features Man Friday
, Crusoe's personal assistant. It is likely that Defoe took inspiration for Crusoe from a Scottish
sailor named Alexander Selkirk
, who was rescued in 1709 after four years on the otherwise uninhabited Juan Fernández Islands
; Defoe usually made use of current events for his plots. It is also likely that he was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
was a New Zealander who voluntarily spent 16 years in three sessions in the 1950s and 1960s living alone on the island of Suwarrow
in the northern Cook Islands
group. His time there is documented in his autobiography, An Island To Oneself
In the popular conception, such islands are often located in the Pacific
, uninhabited and usually uncharted.
They are remote locales that offer escape and force people marooned or stranded as castaways
to become self-sufficient and essentially create a new society. This society can either be utopian
, based on an ingenious re-creation of society's comforts (as in Swiss Family Robinson
and, in a humorous form, Gilligan's Island
) or a regression into savagery (the major theme of both Lord of the Flies
and The Beach
Desert islands are also a hugely popular image for gag cartoons
, the island being conventionally depicted as just a few yards across with a single palm tree (probably due to the visual constraints of the medium). 17 such cartoons appeared in The New Yorker
in 1957 alone.
A special variation of the desert island theme appears in H.G.Wells
's The War in the Air
. As part of the cataclysmic global war depicted, the bridges linking Goat Island
in the middle of the Niagara Falls
to the mainland are cut, and with civilization fast breaking down a few survivors stranded on the island can't expect rescue and must rely on their own resources - embarking on a grim life and death struggle.
The top "dream vacation" for heterosexual men surveyed by Psychology Today
was "marooned on a tropical island with several members of the opposite sex".
In 1820, the crew of the whaler Essex
spent time on uninhabited Henderson Island
. There they gorged on birds, fish, and vegetation and found a small freshwater spring. After one week, they had depleted the island's resources and most of the crew left on three whaleboats
, while three of the men decided to remain on the island and survived there for four months until their rescue.
- ^ a b Josh Lew (April 23, 2018). "10 (almost) deserted islands". MNN Galleries.
- ^ a b "Mars Researchers Rendezvous on Remote Arctic Island". Langley Research Center, Atmospheric Science Data Center, NASA. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- ^ a b "desert island". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 11 June 2019. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
- ^ Frédéric Ducarme. "Les aires protégées à l'épreuve de la réalité". Société Française d'Ecologie [fr].
- ^ kuschk (3 May 2012). "Devon Island: The Largest Uninhabited Island on Earth". Basement Geographer. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- ^ "German MPs suggest cash-strapped Greece should sell islands". The Local. March 4, 2010.
- ^ "About Tetepare Island". Tetepare.org. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- ^ Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi (1982), "Ibn Al-Nafis as a philosopher", Symposium on Ibn al-Nafis, Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait (cf. Ibnul-Nafees As a Philosopher Archived February 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Encyclopedia of Islamic World).
- ^ a b Amber Haque (2004), "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists", Journal of Religion and Health 43 (4): 357–377 .
- ^ Kalin, Brahim (March 10, 2018). "'Hayy ibn Yaqdhan' and the European Enlightenment". Daily Sabah. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
- ^ Simon Ockley (1708), The Improvement of Human Reason: Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan, Oxford University.
- ^ a b Martin Wainwright, Desert island scripts, The Guardian, 22 March 2003.
- ^ G. J. Toomer (1996), Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England, p. 222, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-820291-1.
- ^ Steampunk anthology, 2008, ed. Ann VanderMeer & Jeff VanderMeer, ISBN 978-1-892391-75-9
- ^ Empire Islands: Castaways, Cannibals, And Fantasies of Conquest, by Rebecca Weaver-Hightower, University of Minnesota P, 2007, ISBN 978-0816648634
- ^ Nawal Muhammad Hassan (1980), Hayy bin Yaqzan and Robinson Crusoe: A study of an early Arabic impact on English literature, Al-Rashid House for Publication.
- ^ Cyril Glasse (2001), New Encyclopedia of Islam, p. 202, Rowman Altamira, ISBN 0-7591-0190-6.
- ^ Good Reads, An Island to Oneself
- ^ Leadbeater, Chris (20 October 2017). "The 30 most idyllic islands on Earth". The Telegraph.
- ^ Bruce Handy (May 25, 2012). "A Guy, a Palm Tree, and a Desert Island: The Cartoon Genre That Just Won't Die". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- ^ Clarke, Thurston (2001). Searching for Crusoe. New York: Ballantine. ISBN 9780345411433.
- ^ "Lloyd's list. 1821". HathiTrust. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
Last edited on 23 May 2021, at 01:25
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.