The World's Most Isolated Islands and Island Groups

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One in ten of the world's population live on an island but few if any of these islands would be considered isolated with most of them within easy reach of a larger neighbouring island, country or continent. The islands in this article are islands which are situated furthest from their nearest inhabited neighbour, rather than situated furthest from their nearest landmass.   

However, for those that have clicked onto this article simply to find out which is the world's most isolated landmass, I will begin with the one uninhabited island that holds that record, the tiny south Atlantic island of Bouvet island.


Bouvet Island was discovered in 1739 by French naval officer Jean - Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier who thought he had discoverd the northernmost tip of Antarctica.

Instead he had discovered a volcanic, glaciar covered island of just 19 square miles. Today the island is an uninhabited territory of Norway which has been designated as a nature reserve and used as an automated meteorological station. The island lies in the middle of an area of the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by 8,650,778 square miles of water.The island's nearest neighbour is the uninhabited Queen Maud Island situated 1,000 miles away to the south and it's nearest inhabited landmass is South Africa 1,670 miles away to the north west, making the tiny Bouvet Island situated in the south Atlantic Ocean the most isolated landmass on the planet. 



                                                                 Position of Bouvet Island                                           

                                                  MOST ISOLATED INHABITED ISLANDS 


Tristan Da Cunha situated in the south Atlantic Ocean is the world's most isolated, inhabited island. It is situated 1,509 miles away from it's nearest inhabited neighbour of St Helena. 

Tristan da Cunha was named after the Portugese naval Admiral, Tristao de Cunha ( 1406 - 1540 ) who was the best friend of Jaoa de Nova, who discovered the island in 1506. 

The island measures sixty four square miles in area and has a resident population of 275 people all descended from the island's first settlers at a British Naval garrison set up on the island in 1816.

Read all about this facinating, isolated island on this page - tristan-da-cunha-the-worlds-remotest-community


Easter island is situated in the Pacific Ocean 2,181 miles from the coast of it's motherland of Chile and 1,242 miles from it's nearest neighbour, the island of Pitcairn.

This tiny island, which gets it's Anglicised name from Dutch seafarer Jacob Roggeveen who discovered the island on Easter Sunday 1722, is officially known as Rapa Nui and is famous the world over for it's 887 monolithic, stone statues which have stood on the island for a thousand years.

The island covers an area of sixty four square miles and has a population of 4,888 people, sixty percent of which are made up of ethnic Rapanui's, and is classified as the world's second most isolated, inhabited island.

Read all about this amazing place on this page - easter-island-the-ruin-of-rapa-nui 


                                                    The city of Jamestown, Saint Helena.


These two neighbouring islands situated in the south Atlantic are situated 810 miles away from one another, making them joint third, most isolated island in the world.

Ascension Island was discovered in 1501 by Portugese explorer Joao da Nova but was actually named by another Portugese navigator, Alfonso de Albuquerque (1453 - 1515) who spotted the island on Ascension Day of 1503, after da Nova had failed to register his original discovery of the island. 

Today the island is populated by way of a transient, British and U.S military population of around 800 people who between them serve the Wideawake Airfield base situated on the island. The island is also the site of a European Space Agency rocket tracking facility and the BBC World Service relay station.

Saint Helena has an area of around forty seven square miles and has a population of just over four thousand people, made up of British descendents from the island's first settlement of 1659.

The island was named after St Helena of Constantinople -  the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine I - whose feast day  - May 21st -  was the day the island was discovered by Portugese explorer Joao da Nova in 1502.

The island is famous for having been the last home of former French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who died on the island in May 1821 after seven years of detention on the island by the British.

The island's capital is Jamestown, named after Britain's King James II and was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1859.


Christmas Island also known as the Austrailan Indian Ocean Territory of Christmas island is situated 560 miles from it's nearest neighbour the Cocos ( Keeling ) Islands.

This small island of just fifty two square miles is home to twelve diverse natural habitats, vast ancient rainforests and many species of endemic flora and fauna.

First sighted on Christmas Day 1643 by British Mariner Captain William Mynors, other than a few scientific explorations, the island remained uninhabited until the late 1890's when the island became used for phosphate mining, coconut plantations and timber manufacture by the British.

The first settlers on the island were the Javan, Malayan and Chinese slaves used in these industries, of which todays 1,500 population are all descended.

Read all about this naturalists paradise on this page - christmas-island


The British Overseas Territory of Pitcairn situated in the south Pacific Ocean is the fifth most isolated island in the world and the world's least populated juristriction with a population of just fifty people.

The island is famous for having been populated by Fletcher Christian and his Bounty mutineers of Mutiny on the Bounty fame.

The island is named after midshipman Robert Pitcairn who first spotted the island in 1765.

The Pitcairn islands are actually a group of five islands, although only the main island of Pitcairn is inhabited.

The island's nearest neighbour is Mangareva island in the French Polynesian island group of the Gambier Islands, situated 298 miles to the north west.

Read all about this historical island on this page - the-pitcairn-islands 


                                             MOST ISOLATED INHABITED ISLAND GROUPS. 



The most isolated island group is the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha in the south Atlantic, made up of the three named, inhabited islands and the Tristan da Cunha Archipelago which consists of six islands, of which only Tristan da Cunha is inhabited.

This island group is situated 1,705 miles from the west coast of Africa, 2,090 miles from the east coast of South America and a thousand miles away from one another. 

Between them the island group has a population of 5,661 people most of which are of British ancestry. The islands are unique,for despite their being located thousands of miles from the United Kingdom, they are situated on the GMT time zone and like their Motherland, are members of the European Union. 

The islands were all discovered between 1501 and 1506 by the Spanish born, Portugese explorer Jaoa da Nova (1460 - 1509) who was commanding a fleet of four ships on a passage from India to Portugal.  


                                                              The Island of Oahu, Hawaii


The U.S.A's only island state of Hawaii is situated in the Pacific Ocean 994 miles from the coast of continental U.S.A and 1,650 miles from it's nearest island neighbour of Kiribati in the Line Islands.

Hawaii is a group of over a hundred volcanic islands that cover an area of 1,500 square miles and are the most northerly of the Polynesian Island group. The group has eight main islands of which it's third largest and most populated island of Oahu is the location of  the state's capital city Honalulu and the world famous tourist hotspot of Waikiki Beach.

The eight main islands of Hawaii cover an area of 10,931 square miles and house a multi cultural population of 1.3 million people, making the state of Hawaii the most populated, isolated area in the world.


The Somers Islands are a group of 138 islands situated in the Sargasso Sea  667 miles from the U.S.A's North Carolina coast. The island group was originally discovered by Spanish navigator Juan de Bermudez in 1505 whose name was given to the largest island of the group, Bermuda. In 1609 the British arrived at the islands and named the group after their naval admiral Sir George Somers. This made Bermuda Britain's second overseas colony after Virginia and to this day Bermuda remains Britain's oldest overseas territory.

The island group has a population of 67,000 people mainly descended from Afro - Caribbean, British and Portugese settlers and more recently several, large ex pat groups from the U.K, U.S.A, Canada, and the West Indies.

Despite it's distance of 1,500 miles from the Caribbean, the Somers Islands are classified as part of the Caribbean island Community.

Read about this top tourist destination on this page - bermuda-britains-oldest-and-largest-overseas-territory


The Galapagos Archipelago consists of fifteen main islands and another 107 islets situated along the line of the Equator in the south Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is a province of Ecuador and consists of 3,040 square miles of land situated within 17,000 square miles of water located six hundred and four miles west of the coast of Ecuador.

The islands are reknowned for their rare, endemic species of wildlife, for being the location of the inspiration of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and for being the site of a world famous National Park and biological Marine Reserve.

The islands are one of the few places on earth without an indiginous population, with most of their population having descended from Spanish colonialists who once settled in Ecuador.

Of the fifteen main islands, only five are inhabited and between them they have a population of 40,000 people. 

                                                  MAP OF THE GALAPAGOS ARCHIPELAGO 



The Cocos Islands also known as the Keeling Islands after the first European to spot them in 1609, Captain William Keeling, are Australian Island Territories situated in the Indian Ocean 560 miles from their nearest neighbour the isolated island of Christmas Island.

The island group consists of 27 coral islands and two atolls of which only two are populated. The islands were annexed to part of the British Empire in 1857 where the British set up coconut plantations and used slaves from Indonesia and Malaysia to work on them.Today the resident population of just over 600 people are mostly descended from these Indonesian and Malaysian people, which until 1955 when the islands became a territory of Australia, were one of the world's most isolated and unknown communities.


The Kingdom of Tonga consists of 176 islands situated in the south Pacific 552 miles from it's nearest neighbour the independent, island Republic of Samoa.

Of these 176 islands only thrirty six of them are inhabited and between them they have a population of 104,000 people.

This Polynesian Island group has the distinction of being the only island group in the Pacific to have avoided colonisation throughout it's history, giving the islands a rare and unique culture unsullied by any invading forces, other islanders or ethnic groups.

Tonga is situated on the time zone UTC +13, making it the first country in the world to see each new day and the first country in the world to welcome every new year .

Read all about this proud island kingdom on this page - tonga-its-geography-topography-and-demography 




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