The Most Remost Island On Earth And Its 300 Residents

Tristan da Cunha is a tiny overseas territory of the United Kingdom, smack in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.

The island has no airport. The only regular transportation is an old fishing trawler from Cape Town that makes the trip — it takes seven days, one-way — maybe eight times a year. And rough seas means the harbour is open only 60 or 70 days a year. Even emergency medical evacuation can take months, says administrator Alex Mitham, the island’s top official. “In a world where you can fly anywhere within 24 hours, this is significantly a step beyond.”



Nature is the big attraction. A volcano dominates the island, rising to more than 2,000 metres.

There are yellow-nosed albatrosses and rockhopper penguins. The fishing is great, and the only village on the island has a pub (the residents are, after all, British).



Best to forget about the Internet: the island’s residents share only half a megabyte of bandwidth. “We can just about send an email, if we’re lucky,” Mitham says.

There’s also a golf course that doubles as a cattle pasture.


The island is named after Portuguese admiral Tristao da Cunha, who landed in 1506. The British military established a garrison in 1816 and left a year later. A Scot named William Glass stayed. He was later joined by settlers from England, Holland and the United States. Two Italian families arrived, via shipwreck, in 1892. Today, all of Tristan’s permanent residents are descendents of seven families who arrived during those 76 years.

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