The Most Remote Place on Earth

Where would you exile an inept leader who ruined your country?

Probably as far away as possible! Short of launching him into space, consider this island - the most remote inhabited location on the planet. There are other distant places, but they are uninhabited, mostly barren and unexciting - but here life is established in a very British way, so our world-leader-in-exile would not mess it up so easily, one hopes.



(images credit: 1, 2)

Tristan da Cunha, the Loneliest Island on Earth

When Napoleon was sent to St. Helena by the British, they annexed the closest chain of islands to prevent the French from attempting to rescue him. After all, who wouldn't travel a mere 2430 km over rough and hostile seas in order to rescue the Emperor himself? Yes, that's right, the islands of Tristan Da Cunha closest neighboring land mass, the island of St. Helena, is 2430 km away.



The island is so small that cartographers can't even put it on their maps (not enough resolution). Located in the South Atlantic between Africa and South America, this volcanic outcropping has the honor of being the remotest inhabited island on the planet, and that's including Antarctica and the North Pole. One of the islands in the archipelago is called "Inaccessible", which only seems appropriate, together with their motto: "Our faith is our strength"


Maps Courtesy of Jean-Pierre Langer of Monaco

Capital: Edinburgh of the Seven Seas
Language: English, Population - barely 300 people.
Religions: Christianity (Anglican and Roman Catholic)
Monetary Unit: Pound Sterling (GBP)


(images credit: Manuel Bauer)

Tristan Da Cunha is home to a population of 270 very isolated people, with an economy based in the fishing industry. The climate is sub-tropical, with very little variation in temperature from season to season, and it would probably be a pleasant place to stay... if there were more arable land: the only sort-of level bit of land is located at the northwestern edge of the island, and the rest is moutainous and rocky.


(images credit: Peter Balwin and Sue Scott)

The group of islands is a huge volcanic formations which rose out of the South Atlantic about a million years ago. They are located on the edge of the caldera of the very active volcano! In 1961 a cone near the town, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, began to erupt and the whole community was evacuated to England. After 2 years, an investigation was conducted and it was found that damage was minimal and the residents were allowed to return.





(photos courtesy Rob Crossan & Simon Dunston and Sue Scott)

The islanders frequently face the full wrath of Atlantic storms: the gusts of wind of almost 190km per hour once were so strong that they swept the grazing cows and sheep from the fields and into the ocean... Think about looking out of your window and seeing woefully mooing bovines sailing past... perishing in the waves...

Refreshment - away from the maddening crowds

Islands of Refreshment, this is how self-proclaimed ruler (remember our little "despot" joke in the beginning?) Jonathan Lambert called these islands in 1811. "Lambert declared himself sovereign and sole possessor of the island group", but he did not last long, as he drowned while fishing a year later.

And here are the "refreshments" - Genuine Tristan Lobster Tails - the tastiest in the world!


(image credit: Roland Svensson)

"The island now boasts a convenience store, a radio station (broadcasting the World Service four days a week), a cafe, a video shop and a swimming pool. Tristan is now connected to the world by one telephone and a fax machine in the Administrator's office, and is visited once a year by the only mail ship in the world, the RMS St. Helena. This ship brings not only mail, but canned food, videos, books and magazines, medical items, and the occasional visitor." (source)


(images credit: sthelena.se)


(images credit: Manuel Bauer)


(images credit: Rob Crossan)

"Unemployment on Tristan is almost unknown, with both girls and boys guaranteed jobs when they leave school, even if posts have to be specially created for them. In recent times, girls have increasing started to continue their education (usually at St. Helena) - young women are increasingly becoming an intellectual elite on the island."


(images credit: sthelena.se)

Here is another kind of native: yellow-nosed albatross chick -


(photo courtesy Sue Scott)

and you might recognize this character ( Northern rock-hopper penguin, made popular by "Surf's Up" animated movie ) - 90% of the world population breed on Tristan:


(photo courtesy Sue Scott)

For an intrepid explorer of "abandoned & haunted places", there is something as well
- the whole abandoned and grounded oil rig!


(photo courtesy Sue Scott)

For the list of other remotest uninhabited places, visit this page.

Also read: "The Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth"
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