Inaccessible Island – Inaccessible Island - Atlas Obscura

Inaccessible Island

Inaccessible Island

It might not be as impossible to reach as its name would imply, but just about. 


Sitting off the coast of Tristan de Cunha, the world’s most remote inhabited island, is another little spit of land with a much more telling name: Inaccessible Island. 

First discovered by Europeans in 1656, the exact origins of the island’s descriptive name are unclear. One theory has it that the Dutch ship that first encountered the island named it thus when the crew was unable to reach the interior of the remote island, while another theory is that it was renamed by a crew that arrived to the island almost a century later, and weren’t even able to land. No matter where the name of the island truly came from, it really is pretty inaccessible.

From the 1800s on, ships have managed to make landfall on the island—though none have stayed for very long. The tiny island measures just about five and a half square miles, much of which is covered in greenery. Given its picturesque environment, some people have (unsuccessfully) tried to set up shop on the island, with locals occasionally using it as a source of guano and other salable items. The island is also home to dozens of plant species, but very few animals. Despite the lack of fauna, it is home to the Inaccessible rail, a small bird that can only be found on the island.

Today, no one lives on the island, and it remains just as inaccessible as as it always was. It is probably best known today from lists of places with strange names, which it is often included in.  

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April 13, 2016

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