Clipperton Island's past is one of promise, tragedy and triumph. The coral island now sits inhabited by a few coconut trees, spots of grass and Clipperton Rock. Although the North Pacific washed away traces of the last inhabitants, their history still runs deep.
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French discoverers, Martin de Chassiron and Michel Du Bocage, dubbed it 'le de la Passion (Passion Island) in 1711. De Chassiron and Du Bocage drew the first map and annexed the island for France. The name 'Clipperton' comes from John Clipperton, an 18th century English pirate and privateer who many believe used the island as a private headquarters for raiding passing ships. According to rumors, Clipperton hid some of his bounty on the Island.
In 1906, the British Pacific Island Company built a guano mining settlement. Mexican president, Porfirio Diaz, ordered the building of a lighthouse and deployed a military defense force under the command of Captain Ramon Arnaud. By 1914, around 100 men, women and children lived on the isle. Supply ships arrived every two months to bring food and other provisions.
As the Mexican Revolution intensified the supply ships stopped, leaving the settlers on their own. As a result, most settlers died. The remaining settlers wanted to leave the island on a U.S. Navy warship, but the Arnaud deemed evacuation unnecessary. On May 4, 1915, Captain Arnaud and his lieutenant Secundino Angel Cardona perished at sea while trying to go for help. Their widows, Alicia and Tirsa, remained on the island.
By 1917, Victoriano Alvarez along with 15 women and children remained on the island. Isolation and lack of food caused Alvarez to go mad and torment the remaining inhabitants. Alvarez eventually perished at the hands of Alicia and Tirsa. Soon after, the USS Yorktown
rescued 11 survivors.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, several countries laid claim to the island. In 1855, France annexed the island. Mexico seized the island 42 years later based on activities that took place between 1848 and 1849. After years of mediation, France received official ownership of the island in 1935.
Map of Clipperton Island
Languages spoken in Clipperton Island
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Animals in Clipperton Island
Coordinates (in Latitude & Longitude) of Clipperton Island
10 17 N, 109 13 W
Kilometers of coastline
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Square kilometers of water
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