Archive "Islands"


The sky islands scattered throughout the Sonoran Desert help account for its surprising ecological diversity. One such “island” mountain rising from the desert plains is Mount Graham, which rises from the mesquite-studded Sonoran Desert to a height of more than 0,000 feet ( ,0 m). This means the peak has conditions more akin to Canada […]

Sky Islands Rise from Desert Seas

The basin and range geography that created all the deserts of North America, in the Sonoran created a chain of 10,000-foot-tall (3,048 m) mountains surrounded by low desert basins that help account for the extraordinary ecological diversity of the Sonoran Desert. One of the most striking mountains is the 7,730-foot-tall (2,356.10 m) Baboquivari in southern […]

Weather: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands

What Indonesia lacks in longitude, it makes up for in its vast east–west spread, extending over 4800km/3000 miles (and even further if you include Papua New Guinea). The volcanic peaks of Indonesia ensure that the main temperature differences are tied to elevation. As in Malaysia, anticipate a drop of roughly 6°C/11°F for every 1000m/3300ft, with […]

Weather: European holiday islands

Most of what you need to know about the weather on the islands between Europe and Africa is summed up in the name of the sea that holds them. The Mediterranean's world-famous climate plays out on all of its islands through variations on a familiar theme: warm-to-hot summers that are bone-dry, and mild winters with […]

Weather: Caribbean/Atlantic Islands

Aruba | Bahamas | Bermuda | Cuba | Dominican Republic | Haiti | Jamaica | Netherlands Antilles The homogeneous cultures that extend across much of the Caribbean have been shaped in part by a beneficent climate. Across this great arc of islands, temperatures gradually rise and fall from pleasantly warm levels in January to readings […]

Reef Atoll Belize, surrounding the Blue Hole, a favourite diving spot

A pattern of islands

Even the broadest sea is not a bare expanse of blue. If it were, where would treasure be hidden, and where would the castaways be cast? Islands come in several flavours and we have met a few already. Some are simply accumulations of sediment that happen not to join onto the land. At major river […]

U.S. Virgin Islands map

U.S. Virgin Islands

AT A GLANCE Government: Unincorporated; purchased by the United States in 1917 Size: 136 sq. mi. (352 sq km) Population: 102,951 (2016) Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE The Virgin Islands are two groups of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, 40 miles (64 km) east of Puerto Rico. They are part of […]

Northern Mariana Islands map

Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

AT A GLANCE Nickname: America's Best Kept Secret Capital: Saipan (38,896) Size: 184 sq. mi. (477 sq km) Population: 53,467 (2016) Statehood: Unincorporated Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is a chain of 16 islands in the Pacific Ocean, south of Japan and east of the […]

Rhode Island map

The State of Rhode Island

AT A GLANCE Name: Some historians believe that Rhode Island was named by a Dutch navigator who called it Roode Eylandt (“red island”) because of its red clay. Rhode Island may also have been named for the Greek Isle of Rhodes. Nicknames: Ocean State, Little Rhody Capital: Providence Size: 1,212 sq. mi. (3,142 sq km) […]


Republic of Seychelles

POPULATION: 91,530 (2014) AREA: 175 sq. mi. (454 sq. km) LANGUAGES: English and French (both official); creole NATIONAL CURRENCY: Seychelles rupee PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Roman Catholic 90%, Anglican 8%, other 2% CAPITAL CITY: Victoria, 25,000 (1993 est.); Main islands: Mahe, Praslin, La Digue ANNUAL RAINFALL: On Mahe varies from 90 in. (2,300 mm) at sea level to 140 in. (3,560 mm) on mountain slopes. […]

Saint Helena

Saint Helena

The British colonial territory of Saint Helena consists of three small volcanic islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean—Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha, and Ascension. Saint Helena, the largest of the three, lies 1,150 miles west of ANGOLA. Tristan da Cunha is about 2,500 miles to the southwest, and Ascension is 700 miles northwest of Saint Helena. Jamestown, a small port […]



Reunion, a small island lying about 500 miles east of MADAGASCAR, is ruled as an overseas territory of France. Along with the islands of MAURITIUS and Rodrigues, it forms a region of great natural beauty known as the Mascarene Archipelago. Land and Peoples Despite its small size, Reunion has a diverse geography. Three peaks of over 9,000 feet form […]



The small island nation of Mauritius lies about 500 miles east of MADAGASCAR in the Indian Ocean. It consists of Mauritius and several small islands off to the north and east. Once heavily dependent on the production of sugar, Mauritius has developed a strong economy that includes a variety of manufacturing industries. Of volcanic origin, the island of Mauritius […]



POPULATION: 23.57 million (2014) AREA: 226,658 sq. mi. (587,044 sq. km) LANGUAGES: Malagasy and French (both official) NATIONAL CURRENCY: Malagasy franc PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Traditional 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7% CITIES: Antananarivo (capital), 1,507,000 (2000 est.); Mahajanga, Toamasina, Fianarantsoa, Antseranana ANNUAL RAINFALL: Varies from 120–190 in. (3,000–5,000 mm) on the east coast to 20 in. (510 mm) in the southwest ECONOMY: GDP $10.59 billion […]

Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros

Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros

POPULATION: 752,400 (2014) AREA: 838 sq. mi. (2,170 sq. km) LANGUAGES: French, Arabic (official); Comoran (a Swahili dialect) NATIONAL CURRENCY: Comorian franc PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS: Sunni Muslim 86%, Roman Catholic 14% ISLANDS: Grand Comore (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), Moheli (Mwali), Mayotte (Maore); Capital: Moroni, 30,000 (1999 est.) ANNUAL RAINFALL: Varies from 43–114 in. (1,100–2,900 mm) ECONOMY: GDP $647.7 million (2014) PRINCIPAL PRODUCTS AND EXPORTS: Agricultural: vanilla, […]

Cape Verde

Cape Verde

The nation of Cape Verde (also known as Cabo Verde) consists of 15 islands about 400 miles off the coast of SENEGAL. Although the name means “Green Cape,” the islands actually have a hot, dry climate and very little arable land. The capital city of Praia is on the island of Santiago Before its discovery by the Portuguese in 1460, […]

Canary Islands


The Canaries are a group of seven volcanic islands that lie off the northwestern coast of Africa. The westernmost islands are actually the peaks of mountains that rise from the ocean floor to heights several thousand feet above sea level. The eastern Canaries are much flatter. Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the two most important islands. The Canaries have […]

Wallis and Futuna Islands

Wallis and Futuna Islands

THE WALLIS AND FUTUNA ISLANDS (overseas territory of FRANCE) are a collection of tiny islands in the South PACIFIC OCEAN. Consisting of three hereditary kingdoms, its government is an anomaly as an integral part of the French Republic, but there is little impetus for change, in either traditional government or its affiliations with France. Part of an arc of islands stretching […]

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

A TERRITORY OF THE UNITED STATES, roughly 65 km (40 mi) east of PUERTO RICO, these islands were named by Christopher Columbus in honor of the 11,000 martyred companions of Saint Ursula, Las Once Mil Virgenes. Today, these islands are split into two groups: the largest islands form an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States, while the smaller islands to the […]

Virgin Islands (British)

Virgin Islands (British)

AN OVERSEAS TERRITORY of the UNITED KINGDOM, and poorer cousins to the U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, the British Virgin Islands have looked to their larger and more populous neighbors to the west for much of their economic and cultural influences: most tourists to the islands are from the mainland UNITED STATES, and the islands have used U.S. currency since 1959. But recent British […]

U.S. Minor Outlying Islands

U.S. Minor Outlying Islands

EIGHT TINY SPECKS of land dotting the PACIFIC OCEAN are the marks of the U.S. military presence in the region during the two major conflicts of the 20th century. The names Wake and Midway are forever linked to major air and land battles of World War II. The others are little known and are mostly maintained now as nature preserves and […]

urban heat island

urban heat island

BY 2015, GLOBAL settlement patterns are projected to cross a threshold where, for the first time in human history, the majority of people will be urban dwellers. By 2025, cities are expected to contain approximately 6 billion people—two-thirds of the world's population. This unprecedented expansion of the number, size, and population of urban areas will have a significant impact on urban climates […]

Turks and Caicos islands

Turks and Caicos islands

AN OVERSEAS DEPENDENT territory of the UNITED KINGDOM, the Turks and Caicos islands lie at the southeastern end of the BAHAMAS chain, north of HAITI in the CARIBBEAN SEA. Physically, culturally, and economically similar to the Bahamas, the islands have nevertheless maintained a separate identity across three centuries of British rule and continue to hold fast to their British roots in the […]



SUMATRA IS IN Southeast Asia and is the sixthlargest island in the world. It is part of the country of INDONESIA. The island was largely under Dutch control beginning in the 17th century but joined newly independent Indonesia in 1949. Sumatra runs northwest–southeast for about 1,060 mi (1,700 km). The island sits on the southern edge of the massive Eurasia lithospheric […]

St. Helena Island

St. Helena Island

SAINT HELENA IS AN ISLAND in the South ATLANTIC OCEAN between Africa and South America. The capital is Jamestown. The Crown Colony of Saint Helena is formed by the island of St. Helena, the islands of Tristan da Cunha (more than 1,300 mi or 2,000 km from St. Helena) and ASCENSION (more than 750 mi or 1,200 km from St. Helena). […]

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

SOUTH GEORGIA and the South Sandwich Islands are two island formations at the southern extremities of the ATLANTIC OCEAN, not far from the Antarctic Peninsula that juts out from ANTARCTICA, 1,000 mi (1,600 km) to the south. Mostly consisting of steep mountains and ice, they have never had an indigenous population, but are instead known for one of the most numerous and […]

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands

Area 10,985 square mi (28,450 square km) Population 572,200 2014 Capital Honiara Highest Point 8,028 ft (2,447 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $1.158 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources fish, forest products, gold, bauxite. THE SOLOMON ISLANDS form an archipelago lying east of PAPUA NEW GUINEA, between the Solomon Sea and the South PACIFIC OCEAN. The country […]

Sakhalin Island

Sakhalin Island

SAKHALIN IS THE LARGEST island of the Russian Federation, 589 mi (948 km) long and 16 to 105 mi (25 to 170 km) wide, with an area of 24,560 square mi (78,000 square km). Sakhalin is separated from the mainland by the narrow and shallow Mamiya Strait or Strait of Tartary, which often freezes in winter in its narrower part, and […]

Rhode Island

Rhode Island

RHODE ISLAND, SMALLEST of the 50 United States at 1,214 square mi (3,144 square km), is located in New England on the ATLANTIC seaboard. It is bounded by MASSACHUSETTS on the north and east, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and CONNECTICUT in the west. While it is typically referred to as Rhode Island, the official name is actually the State […]

Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn Island

PITCAIRN (18.1 square mi or 47 square km) is an isolated island located in the east-central PACIFIC OCEAN, approximately 400 mi (644 km) southeast of Mangareva, the closest inhabited island. Pitcairn is the only inhabited island of the British colony of Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands. The three outer islands of the Pitcairn Islands […]

Northern Mariana Islands

A COMMONWEALTH IN political union with the UNITED STATES, the Northern Mariana Islands (or CNMI) consists of a string of fourteen volcanic and limestone islands in the far western PACIFIC OCEAN. The islands have closer ties to American and European culture than most others in the region and have therefore opted to retain political and […]

Norfolk Island

NORFOLK ISLAND, AN AUSTRALIAN territory, is located in the south PACIFIC OCEAN, 1,041 mi (1,676 km) northeast of Sydney, AUSTRALIA. With a total land area of 13 square mi (35 square km), the island is slightly larger than the District of Columbia; it is approximately 5 mi (8 km) in length and 3 mi (5 […]


Area 100 square mi (260 square km) Population 2,145 Capital Alofi Highest Point unnamed hill near the town of Mutalau 223 ft (68 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP per capita $3,600 Primary Natural Resources agriculture. ONE OF THE WORLD'S largest coral islands and smallest countries, Niue is about the size of metropolitan District of […]


THE ISLAND OF Montserrat, an overseas territory of the UNITED KINGDOM, is part of the chain of islands in the CARIBBEAN SEA that were formed millions of years ago by volcanoes, some of which remain active, while others are completely dormant. Montserrat itself is composed of seven active volcanoes of varying ages, which have been […]


MINDANAO, THE SECOND-largest island (36,537 square mi or 94,630 square km) in the Republic of the PHILIPPINES, is one of the three groups of over 7,100 islands in the country, the other two being LUZON and Visayas. The Mindanao group to the south consists of some 400 islands. The island Mindanao, about the size of […]

Marshall Islands

Area 70.7 square mi (181.3 square km) Capital Majuro Population 52,900 2014 Highest Point 33 ft (10 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $190.9 million 2013 Primary Natural Resources coconut products, marine products, seabed minerals. THE REPUBLIC OF THE Marshall Islands, formerly a component of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (administered […]

Maldive Islands

Area 115 square mi (300 square km) Population 357,400 2014 Capital Male Highest Point 7.8 ft (2.4 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $3.032 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes, fish, tourism. THE COUNTRY OF THE Maldive Islands is located in southern Asia, in the INDIAN OCEAN, as a group of atolls […]


THE ISLAND OF LUZON is the largest and most populous island in the PHILIPPINE archipelago (17th largest in the world), the center of Philippine political and economic life, and the site of the capital city, MANILA. With roughly 42 million people occupying a total land area of 40,420 square mi (104,688 square km)—roughly the size […]


WITH A population exceeding 120 million, crowded into a space about the size of NEW YORK state (but with nearly six times the population), the island of Java is one of the most densely populated places on Earth (2,070 inhabitants per square mi or 864 per square km). Java is not the largest of the […]


AN ISLAND IS A LANDMASS smaller than a continent surrounded by water. The largest islands are GREENLAND, NEW GUINEA, BORNEO, MADAGASCAR, Baffin Island, and SUMATRA. The smallest islands are a few square miles or kilometers. An extended line of islands is an island chain. A cluster of islands is an archipelago. Islands are of either […]

Hokkaido Island

NORTHERNMOST OF the four main islands of JAPAN, Hokkaido is surrounded by the Sea of Okhotsk to the north and east, the Sea of Japan to the west, and the PACIFIC OCEAN to the south. Its northern location and frigid ocean currents from the Sea of Okhotsk make Hokkaido's climate considerably colder and drier than […]

Heard and McDonald Islands

TWO OF THE MOST isolated spots on the globe, the Heard and McDonald Islands have only been visited a few times, and much remains to be discovered about them. The islands are located at the bottom of the world, where the INDIAN OCEAN meets the Antarctic seas, and have recently been declared a United Nations […]

Hainan Island

THE SECOND-largest island (after TAIWAN) in CHINA with an area of 13,104 square mi (33,940 square km), Hainan Island is the most southerly province located in the South China Sea. The island is situated south of Guangdong province and west of VIETNAM. The topographic structure of the island resembles a staircase, with towering mountains in […]


A U.S. TERRITORY, the island of Guam is one of the largest islands in the north PACIFIC OCEAN, located about three-quarters of the distance from HAWAII to the PHILIPPINES. Its harbor, one of the best in the world, underlies the importance the island has held for the last five centuries to foreign powers in the […]


GUADELOUPE, IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA, is one of the four French overseas departments (similar to states in the UNITED STATES). Guadeloupe is also a French region. There are two main islands, Basse Terre and Grande Terre, separated by a strip of water called the Riviere Salee. Other outlying inhabited islands are dependencies, namely Saint Martin, […]


ONE OF THE MOST northerly territories in the world is Greenland, located between the North ATLANTIC, the northeastern coasts of CANADA (Ellesmere and Baffin islands), and the ARCTIC OCEAN. More than two-thirds of the region lies above the ARCTIC CIRCLE. Greenland is technically considered part of North America, though ICELAND (usually considered part of Europe) […]

French Polynesia

FRENCH POLYNESIA IS a French overseas territory situated in the south central PACIFIC OCEAN. There are five inhabited archipelagos: the Society, Tuamotu, Gambier, Australes, and Marquesas island chains. The islands are volcanic but the Tuamotu chain is made up of low coral atolls of which there are 80. French Polynesia numbers 121 islands in all, […]

Faroe Islands

THE FAROE OR FAEROE Islands (Faeroerne in Danish, Faroyar in Faroese, meaning the “Sheep Islands”) are located at the intersection of the North ATLANTIC OCEAN and the Norwegian Sea, roughly equidistant between NORWAY, SCOTLAND, and ICELAND. Their closest neighbors are the Shetland Islands, 190 mi (305 km) to the southeast. Like the Shetlands, the Faroes […]

Falkland Islands

THE FALKLAND ISLANDS, a British dependency contested by ARGENTINA, which calls them the Islas Malvinas, are located in the South ATLANTIC OCEAN near South America, approximately 300 mi (483 km) east of Argentina. The Falkland Islands consist of two main islands (East and West Falklands), which are divided by the Falkland Sound. There are more […]

Easter Island

POLITICALLY, EASTER ISLAND has belonged to CHILE since 1888, though it lies some 2,200 mi (3,500 km) west of the coast of Chile and just south of the TROPIC OF CAPRICORN in the PACIFIC OCEAN. Its nearest neighbor is PITCAIRN ISLAND 1,132 mi (1,819 km) to the west. The major settlement is Hanga Roa. Easter […]

Cook Islands

PART OF NEW ZEALAND, the Cook Islands consist of 15 islands in the south PACIFIC OCEAN, about halfway between HAWAII and NEW ZEALAND. They are about the same size as RHODE ISLAND. The islands are scattered over an area of more than 706,566 square mi (1.83 million square km). The nine islands in the southern […]

Cocos Islands

THE COCOS (or Keeling) Islands are a dependency of AUSTRALIA located in the INDIAN OCEAN, about 1,675 mi (2,700 km) northwest of Perth, and 620 mi (1,000 km) southwest of JAVA, INDONESIA. Unlike the volcanic peak of their closest neighbor, CHRISTMAS ISLAND, 560 mi (900 km) to the northeast, the Cocos Islands consist of two flat coral atolls, roughly 15.5 mi […]

Christmas Island

CHRISTMAS ISLAND IS AN isolated island in the INDIAN OCEAN, located about 220 mi (360 km) southwest of JAVA, INDONESIA, and 1,400 mi (2,300 km) northwest of AUSTRALIA, to which it belongs as a dependency. Maintained chiefly as a phosphate-mining colony since the 19th century, it is now being developed as a tropical island holiday […]

Cayman Islands

THE CAYMAN Islands are one of the UNITED KINGDOM few remaining colonies in the CARIBBEAN SEA. The group, lying roughly 150 mi (250 km) northwest of JAMAICA, consists of three main islands, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. They were first named Las Tortugas by Christopher Columbus in 1503 because of the abundance of […]

Canary Islands

THE CANARY ISLANDS lie just 93 mi (150 km) off the northwest coast of Africa in the ATLANTIC OCEAN but have been politically and culturally attached to SPAIN, 830 mi (1,350 km) to the northeast, since the 14th century. Today the seven islands, an autonomous region of Spain, are among the most popular holiday destinations […]

Bouvet Island

BOUVET ISLAND, a territory of NORWAY, is known as one of the peri-Antarctic islands, small uninhabited rocks and volcanic islands that circle the frozen continent. It was discovered by Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier, a lieutenant in the French East Indies Company, on New Year's Day, 1739, but not found again until nearly a century […]


THE ISLAND OF BORNEO is the largest island of the Malay archipelago and the third-largest island in the world (after GREENLAND and PAPUA-NEW GUINEA), covering 287,420 square mi (736,974 square km). It is also one of the least explored places on Earth and retains much of the mystery for today's tourists that it did for […]


BERMUDA IS A UNITED KINGDOM overseas territory located 700 miles southeast of NEW YORK CITY in the North ATLANTIC OCEAN. With an area of 36.2 square mi (53.3 square km), the island colony has a population of 64,482 (2003). Bermuda is a primary tourism destination for East Coast Americans, and its capital, Hamilton, serves as […]


THE AZORES IS AN archipelago of nine islands situated in the middle of the North  ATLANTIC OCEAN, usually divided in three groups according to geographic proximity: the Eastern Group (Santa Maria and Sao Miguel), the Central Group (Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico, and Faial), and the Western Group (Flores and Corvo). The Azores constitutes, along with […]

Ascension Island

ASCENSION ISLAND IS an overseas territory that forms part of a single territorial grouping (with ST. HELENA and Tristan da Cunha) under the sovereignty of the British crown. Ascension is a small island, 35 square mi (90 square km), of volcanic origin between Africa and South America, just south of the equator. The capital is […]


A NETHERLANDS territory in the CARIBBEAN SEA and formerly the A in the ABC Islands, Aruba has come into its own in the past two decades, thanks in large part to aggressive advertisement campaigns on U.S. television. Already prosperous due to oil refineries established by the Dutch in the early 20th century, this advertising strategy […]


ANGUILLA IS ONE of the smallest and least developed islands in the CARIBBEAN SEA. It was administered as a British colony along with SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS until 1971. Its inhabitants did not wish to remain a dependency of its larger neighbors when they achieved independence in 1983, and Anguilla opted instead to retain its […]

Aleutian Islands

KNOWN AS THE Catherine Archipelago until 1900, the Aleutian Islands comprise some 150 islands in four groups, which are, in order of proximity to the mainland: the Fox, Andreanof, Rat, and Near Islands. The name probably derives from the Chukchi word aliat, meaning “island.” Geographically, the islands separate the Bering Sea from the PACIFIC OCEAN. They extend […]