Banks Island is part of the Arctic Archipelago, a remote group of islands far away from the Canadian mainland. It is further North than most Greenland’s settlements. It is inhabited by about 100 people, all concentrated in Sachs Harbour.
Author Archives: james
The true fate of Easter Island
Much has been written about Easter Island, a lot of it through the lens of our European feeling of superiority. Through that prism, we scornfully looked at the island as a failed state: they chopped down all the trees for their useless statues, and ended up starving to death. For many decades, this view was popular and remained virtually unchallenged.
Thankfully, in the past several years, a lot has changed, and it’s now clear that this version of “history” was in fact sheer colonialism that wasn’t based on facts.
For an up-to-date understanding of the history of Easter Island, I can only recommend the marvellous documentary made by Paul Cooper, “Easter Island – Where Giants Walked“. It is thorough, eloquent and most importantly, factual. You may feel like you already know the history of this remote island, but please do yourself a favor and watch this video. You will be astonished by what you learn. Thank you to the Fall of Civilization Podcast for shattering these old preconceived notions in such spectacular fashion.
Farewell, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai
After the massive eruption that took place on Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apa (“the youngest island in the world“), the situation went back to pre-2015: 2 separate islands, even smaller than before.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, the youngest island in the world
In early 2015, a volcanic eruption occured in the South Pacific within the Kingdom of Tonga, and a new island was formed: Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai [see on Google Maps].
Peñon de Alhucemas, remnant of the Spanish Empire
A mere hundred yards from the Moroccan coast lie the Alhucemas Islands. Among them, the most intriguing is the fortress called Peñon de Alhucemas. It dates back to the Spanish Empire, and has remained in Spanish hands even though Morocco vehemently contested it since its accession to independence in 1956.
One of the most forbidding and unforgiving islands in the Southern Hemisphere is Auckland Island. Situated South of New Zealand, it has long been an island known for its dangers, during the whale hunting decades. Many boats were shipwrecked on its rocky shores. Perhaps more than any other, this island has seen unbelievable stories of survival and death from the crews of boats who were stranded on this island for many months or years.
Some news after a long hiatus
Apologies for the lack of recent updates, I’ve been busy with work and life in general, which left me precious little time to research my favorite subject: forgotten islands.
The next series of material will focus on Indonesia, probably the country with the most isolated islands and eclectic cultures. A particularly interesting – and unfortunately threatened – area lies in the Southwest of Sumatra. Stay tuned.
The Act of Killing – movie review
When I first heard about the Act of Killing last year, I couldn’t wait to watch this documentary. Being fascinated by the history of Indonesia, I found it very hard not to read anything I could find on the movie: I have this old habit of coming to a movie without preconceived ideas.
Joshua Oppenheimer shot the movie over a 10 year period with the help of many anonymous Indonesians, who are referred to as “Anonymous” when the credits roll. That itself is a very powerful reminder of Indonesia’s continuous repression. And this movie is a lot about continuity. While Joshua Oppenheimer interviewed killers from the 1965 massacres that took the lives of an estimated 1 million people, those killers and this era are still being glorified by today’s powers that be. The death squads responsible for most of the killings originated from the Pancasila Youth, a paramilitary organisation founded in 1965 and still pretty active in Indonesia, with over 3 millions members countrywide.
Pinaki, Tuamotu Islands
Pinaki is an small and unhabited atoll in the Pacific Ocean, part of the Tuamotus. Contrary to a typical atoll, Pinaki’s lagoon remains very shallow.
North Sentinel Island
A small island in the Andaman Sea, North Sentinel Island might be the least visited inhabited island on earth, a testament to cultural survival through isolation.