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áááááááááááááááááááá Island Misinformation

Erroneous information widely repeated or found in generally credible sources.

Island or place

Misinformation

Reality

Easter Island (Rapa Nui, or Isla de Pascua)

False claim: It is the most isolated inhabited island in the world.

Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic is 1,320 miles / 2,120 km from the island of St. Helena, the nearest inhabited land, and 1,700 miles / 2,740 km from the nearest continent, Africa.

Easter Island is closer to inhabited land (Pitcairn I.) than Tristan da Cunha, and closer to a continent than many islands of the central Pacific. It also receives several plane flights a week, making it easier to get to than thousands of inhabited islands.

Saint Martin, Caribbean

False claim: It is the smallest island divided between two countries.

There are many smaller islands crossed by international borders. Saint Martin may be the smallest inhabited island so divided.

Cocos Island (Isla del Coco)

False claim: Cocos Island is the largest uninhabited island in the world.

There are scores, and probably hundreds, of larger uninhabited islands, some thousands of square miles. The largest is Devon Island, the 27th largest island in the world, at 21,331 square miles / 55,247 sq km. Cocos is only 18 sq mi / 47 sq km.

If Cocos is counted as uninhabited--there are now people living there--it is one of the larger tropical oceanic uninhabited islands, but not the largest in this category either. For instance, Kahoolawe, in Hawaii, is larger.

Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles

False claim: Aldabra is the world's largest raised coral atoll.

The largest raised coral atoll is Lifou (Lifu) in the Loyalty (LoyautÚ) Islands of New Caledonia, with an area of 443 sq miles / 1,146 sq km. Aldabra is also smaller than Rennell Island (255 / 660) in the Solomon Islands.

Kodiak Island, Alaska

False claim: It is the largest island in the U.S.

Hawaii is the largest of all U.S. islands.

Akutan Island, Aleutians, Alaska

False claim: It rises to 4275m / 14,026 ft.

Akutan is only 4275 feet / 1303 meters high, making it the 204th highest island, not the second highest.

Majuli Island, Assam, India

False claim: It is the world's largest river island.

Many river islands in Brazil and elsewhere are larger, beginning with Bananal at 7,720 sq mi / 20,000 sq km. Majuli is only 340 sq mi / 880 sq km.

Whidbey Island, Washington

False claim: It is the longest island in the lower 48 states of the U.S.

The Seattle Times reports that it is the 5th longest, behind Long I., Isle Royale, and two islands in Texas. It is the longest island on the Pacific Coast of the contiguous United States.

Hinchinbrook Island, Australia

False claim: It is the largest island national park in the world.

Isle Royale, Lake Superior, Michigan, is the largest island national park in the world, at 209 square miles / 541 square km.

Monte Isola (or Montisola or Monteisola), Lago d'Iseo, Italy

False claim: It is the largest lake island in Europe.

Many lake islands in Scandinavia are larger than its 4.5 sq km / 1.7 sq mi. It is the largest lake island in Italy.

Monte Isola (or Montisola or Monteisola), Lago d'Iseo, Italy

False claim: It is the highest lake island in Europe.

Gudfjell÷ya, in Tunnsj÷en, Norway, rises 459m / 1506 ft above the lake, about 44m / 144 ft higher than Monte Isola.

La Palma, Canary Islands (Islas Canarias)

False claim: It is the world's tallest island, either absolutely or in relation to its surface area.

Forty-five islands are taller, and two of those have a smaller surface area than La Palma.

Isla Ometepe, Lake Nicaragua

False claim: It is the world's largest lake island.

It is 10th largest. Manitoulin island in Lake Huron, Ontario, is the largest of the world's lake islands, at 1,068 sq miles / 2,766 sq km.

Tetepare, Solomon Islands

False claim: Tetepare is the world's largest uninhabited island.

Tetepare is only 46 sq miles / 118 square kilometers. The largest is Devon Island, at 21,331 square miles / 55,247 sq km.

Goodenough Island, Papua New Guinea

False claim: Goodenough I. is the highest island of its size in the world.

Heard Island rises to 9,006 feet / 2,745 m, but is smaller than Goodenough I. at 146 sq miles / 378 sq km. Goodenough is 265 sq miles / 687 sq km, and only rises to 8,419 feet / 2,566 m.

Teresa Island, Atlin Lake, British Columbia

False claim: It is the world's tallest island in a freshwater lake.

Isla Ometepe, in Lake Nicaragua, is the world's tallest. Teresa Island is the second-tallest.

Wrightson Island

False claim: It exists.

Wrightson I., purported home to the Arcania tree and the giant sea sparrow, was invented by a biologist and accidentally reported as real by other writers.

Woodford Island, NSW, Australia

False claim: it is the largest river island of the Southern Hemisphere.

At about 14 sq miles / 37 sq km, Woodford Island is smaller than many river islands in South America and Africa.

East Redonda Island, British Columbia

False claim: It is the world's highest island per circumference.

East Redonda is not even the highest by area -- five smaller islands rise higher, and some have circular and thus short circumferences. East Redonda has an unusually convoluted shoreline, further downgrading its rank by circumference.

Denmark

False claim: Denmark has more islands than any other European country.

Denmark only claims to have about 500 islands. Sweden counts 221,800 and Finland 179,584. Norway, Greece and Croatia also claim more than Denmark.

Isla Coiba, Panama

False claim: It is the largest island of the American Pacific.

Coiba is only 191 sq mi / 494 sq km, making it smaller than many islands in Alaska and Chile. The largest island of the Pacific coast of the Americas is Vancouver Island, Canada, at 12,079 sq mi / 31,285 sq km.

Sears Island, Maine

False claim: It is the largest uninhabited island in Maine.

Long Island in Blue Hill Bay seems to be the largest uninhabited island in Maine, and Sears Island is currently joined to the mainland by a solid causeway, and is thus a peninsula.

  

 

See also Island Superlatives.

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island geography / world geography / geographic misinformation