Tristan Da Cunha: The World’s Loneliest Island



Picture yourself on vacation: what do you see? A beach? A casino? Probably not an island that’s more than 1,000 miles away from anything else. Tristan Da Cunha has the honor of being the world’s remotest island. Below are some important facts about Tristan Da Cunha; read up before you plan your next vacation!

Number Six: The Climate Is Wet and Oceanic.

Tristan Da Cunha receives a moderate amount of rainfall and not too much sunshine.The island experiences warm summers and cool winters, but the weather is rarely extreme. Of the 365.25 days in a year, Tristan Da Cunha experiences an average of 252 rainy days.

Number Five: The Closest Land Mass Is 1,510 Miles Away.

St. Helena is the nearest inhabited land mass to Tristan Da Cunha. The nearest continental land is South Africa, and the island is also over 2,000 miles from South America. The entire territory of Tristan Da Cunha also includes the Nightingale Islands, Inaccessible Island and Gough Island.

Number Four: The Size of the Main Island Is 38 Square Miles.

Mountains dot the entirety of the island, which limits the amount of land that is habitable. Tristan Da Cunha’s only major settlement, called Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, lies in the Northwest, where the only significant patch of flat land is located. The highest point on the island is a volcano, called Queen Mary’s Peak.

In August of 1961, Queen Mary’s Peak erupted, which led to the evacuation of the entire island. The 264 citizens at the time were eventually moved to England. Tristan Da Cunha was not repopulated again until 1963, when conditions were deemed suitable for living.

Number Three: All Able Citizens Work as Farmers by Trade.

Tristan Da Cunha’s economy is a study in and of itself. In 1817, William Glass developed a system based on equality that still stands today. Each family on the island farms for trade, and livestock populations are limited to ensure that no one family creates a monopoly or destroys too much pasture. Some adults also work for Tristan Da Cunha’s government or in the fishing industry. The island brings in external income from their lobster and postage stamp sales. There is no airport on the island, and the only way to reach it is by sea.

Number Two: All Land on the Island Is Communal.

Just like Tristan Da Cunha’s economy is designed for equality, the island as a whole is designed for peace and equality as well. The only religion on Tristan Da Cunha is Christianity, although people have the option of choosing¬†between the Anglican and Roman Catholic denominations. Each household owns a particular piece of land at a place called The Patch; there each family grows potatoes for themselves. There is also some interesting wildlife on Tristan Da Cunha’s land. The island has been deemed an Important Bird Area and has 13 known types of breeding seabirds. Tristan and its neighboring Gough Island are the only two known sites for a rare bird called the Atlantic Petrel.

Number One: The Island’s Population Is 301¬†People.

As of September 2015, the population on Tristan Da Cunha was just 301 people. Each of these people is believed to have descended from one of 15 ancestors. There are currently 80 families on the island. Though they do speak English, the island’s isolation has led to a dialect of English being spoken there that is not completely recognizable to native English speakers. There is a limited education system in place; most children leave school by the age of 16, and few go on to take the GCSEs. The school is called St. Mary’s school and houses five rooms. Also within the school are a kitchen, a stage, a computer room and a crafts and sciences room.

There is a hospital on the island, and healthcare is funded by the government. However, due to size, availability of healthcare for more complex disorders is extremely limited. Injured people in need of emergency care can be ferried to Cape Town, South Africa, and the one doctor who lives on the island can send EKGs and X-Rays to neighboring facilities for consultation.

People interested in visiting Tristan Da Cunha on vacation must request permission to do so. They must book a berth on a visiting ship, and there are restrictions in regards to how much luggage visitors can take as well. There are additional restrictions in regards to accommodations, where visitors can go, and what they can leave the island with as well. However, citizens of Tristan Da Cunha are extremely open and friendly to visitors and welcome all the tourism they can get.

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