Juan Fernández islands

Robinson Crusoe island

the Juan Fernández islands or the Juan Fernández archipelago are a Inselgruppe ( archipelago) in the southern Pacific ocean, belonging to Chile. The islands are to about 670 km west the Chilean mainland on
coordinates: 33° 40 ' S, 78° 50 ' W
33° 40 ' S, 78° 50 ' W on the height of Valparaíso and consists of the following 3 islands:

  • Isla Robinson Crusoe, Robinson Crusoe island (splinter Isla Más A Tierra) (47.1 km ², inhabited as only) only settlement San Juan de Bautista, 600 inhabitants,
  • Isla Alejandro Selkirk, Alexander Selkirk island (splinter Isla Más Afuera) (44.6 km ²), 160 kilometers west the Robinson Crusoe island,
  • Isla Santa Clara (2 km ²), few kilometers southwest the Robinson Crusoe island
Robinson Crusoe island

the islands belong administratively to the Región de Valparaíso.

The islands are volcanic origin.

Table of contents


Die Robinson Crusoe Insel vom Satelliten aus
the Robinson Crusoe island from the satellite

to 22. November 1574 discovered the Spanish sailor Juan Fernández the Inselgruppe. It called the island found first Mas A Tierra (“more near to the mainland”). The Isla Mas Afuera he discovered 150 km further west. A first settlement attempt with 60 Indios, to which goats and chickens were given, failed. To 1750 the islands remained now uninhabited - except for few exceptions.

1580 used the English Pirat John Watling the islands as stopover, in order to attack the city Arica in north Chile.

From 1704 to 1709 the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, however on the Isla Más A Tierra, lived after he with his captain zerstritten himself had and ashore be set off could. The writer Daniel Defoe used his history as basis for its novel Robinson Crusoe. The isle was renamed 1966 to Isla Robinson Crusoe.

Beginning 19. Century became the islands the exile prison for patriotic freedom fighters in the independence fight against the Spaniards. They survived several years in caves above the Bahia Cumberland. Under the banished ones e.g. were. the later Chilean presidents Manuel Blanco Encalada and Agustín Eyzaguirre.

Since 1818 the Inselgruppe belongs to Chile. 1823 visited the English lord Thomas Cochrane the islands. Cochrane was from 1817 to 1825 admiral in the Chilean fleet.

1877 began Chile with the settlement of the Inselgruppe. The Austrian-Hungarian officer baron von Rodt established itself on the island and began with its development and settlement.

In the First World War in the year 1915 the German cruiser SMS Dresden was sunk after adventurous erring travel with a sea-battle in the Cumberlandbucht by the British ships Glasgow and Kent. The crew that Dresden including on-board dog and parrot could save itself on the Robinson Crusoe island. The place in the Cumberlandbucht was explained today with two yellow buoys marked and from the Chilean government to the national monument. Among the German prisoners of war also the young second lieutenant was William Canaris, which was appointed later under Hitler the defense boss.

1998 came the American Industrielle Berne pool of broadcasting corporations Keiser on the island with the goal of excavating the largest Piratenschatz of all times. Equipped with old sea charts and a budget of several millions dollar, he dug some tunnels into the red earth - however unsuccessful. Rumor way is to be also the fortune that at present the First World War in Mexico living German on board that Dresden. The cruiser had started Mexico 1914, before its odyssey began.

Today about 1,000 humans on the archipelago live, most live on the tourism and that lobster fish.

Juan Fernández as destination

as original scene for the most widely read book of the world literature pulled the archipelago a limited routistic interest on itself. Some tour operators for Chile have in the meantime a excursion on the island in the offer.

Offer themselves Trekkingtouren of San Juan Bautista for 565 meters the lookout point El Mirador Selkirk in the mountains, lain highly, where Selkirk is to have searched the horizon for ships. Also the Cueva Robinson Crusoe at the beach of Puerto Inglés is point of attraction. However Selkirk probably never lived in this cave.

nature of the islands

1935 was umgewidmet the Inselgruppe to the national park of the Archipielago Juan Fernández. It covers 95.7 km ². The Isla Robinson Crusoe is very gebirgig, with that 915 m high „El Junque “as the highest collection. Landschaftlich is offered a sharp contrast between the wild-like meager coastal line and the full-green mountain country shank with an impenetrable vegetation from trees, ferns and grasses. Over 100 world-wide singular plant types are here. Botaniker discovered recently over 100 copies of one disappeared believed Orchideenart. Giant ferns in tree height grow at the mountain-slopes. There is also a special kind of goat on the islands, the so-called Juan Fernández goat. It developed from normal house goats, which were left with the discovery of the islands as food reserve and then a smaller brown subspecies formed.

„Juan Fernández “stands today as biosphere reservation also under the protection of the UNESCO.

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