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Articles in Islands

Cyprus: Between East and West?

By Claire Negiar | April 10, 2014 | 14 Comments

(Note: This is the second of two articles by Stanford student Claire Negiar that together contrast the situations of two geopolitically divided islands: Saint Martin and Cyprus)
Cyprus and Saint Martin – two very different islands sharing one key property: both are split by their “mother countries,” Greece and Turkey in the case of Cyprus, France and the Netherlands in the …

Saint Martin/Sint Maarten: An Island Divided

By Claire Negiar | April 7, 2014 | 9 Comments

(Note: Today’s post is by Claire Negiar, a Stanford senior, soon to graduate. Claire will be writing a few posts over the coming weeks, many of them focused on France and French dependencies.)
Saint Martin. Sint Maarten. A crossroad between North and South, split between France and the Netherlands, Saint Martin has known a different fate in the aftermath of decolonization …

Separatism in French Polynesia

By Nicholas Baldo | October 17, 2012 | One Comment

As previously noted on GeoCurrents, the political entities that comprise the French Republic exhibit a multitude of different administrative designations with varying legal responsibilities. One such possession is French Polynesia, which was officially designated an “overseas country” in 2004, though legally its status is indistinguishable from that of France’s other overseas collectivities.

Diagramming the Area of French Sovereignty

By Martin W. Lewis | September 25, 2012 | 5 Comments

In diagramming the area of French sovereignty, I was not sure what to call the region constituted by the regular departments of France (both those in “Metropolitan France” and those located overseas); in the end I opted for “France Proper,” but it seems that there must be a better term. Some sources, including Wikipedia, place Corsica within “l’Hexagone,” but such …

The Australian Asylum Controversy Extends to Indonesia

By Martin W. Lewis | August 22, 2012 | 2 Comments

The on-going Australian asylum-seeking controversy has recently spread to the Indonesian island of Java. On August 20, the Jakarta Post announced the arrest of “28 illegal immigrants hiding in a forested coastal area of South Cianjur, West Java. The immigrants were part of a large group of asylum seekers from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran who were heading to Christmas Island.”

Melting and Mining in Greenland

By Martin W. Lewis | July 31, 2012 | Comments Off on Melting and Mining in Greenland

Reports of recent massive surface melting on Greenland’s central ice cap have circulated widely in the global media. According to NASA, the area exhibiting a surface thaw expanded from 40 percent of the ice sheet to 97 percent in a mere four-day period this July. As reported by Canada’s CBC News, “You literally had this wave of warm air wash over the Greenland ice sheet and melt it,” NASA ice scientist Tom Wagner said Tuesday.

Iceland to Export Electricity to Britain?

By Martin W. Lewis | June 7, 2012 | Comments Off on Iceland to Export Electricity to Britain?

Iceland is by far the world richest country in terms of per capita renewable energy. 81 percent of Iceland’s total energy needs are derived from renewable sources, mostly geothermal and hydroelectric, as is 100 percent of its electricity. As a result of its abundant resources, electrical power in Iceland is cheaper than anywhere else in Europe.

Somali Migrants Land on Linosa in Italy’s Pelagie Islands

By Martin W. Lewis | April 26, 2012 | Comments Off on Somali Migrants Land on Linosa in Italy’s Pelagie Islands

The Italian island of Lampedusa is well known as a place of entry into the European Union for would-be immigrants from Africa. Less commonly noted is the fact that Lampedusa’s neighboris in Pelagie Archipelago are in the same situation. Earlier this week, for example, 78 Somalis (15 women and 63 men) landed on the island of Linosa (5.45 km²; population 450), where they were immediately detained by the Carabinieri, Italy’s national police force

U.S. Marine Contingent to Leave Okinawa

By Martin W. Lewis | April 19, 2012 | One Comment

Japanese newspapers are reporting that the United States will be moving roughly 8,000 marines off of the island of Okinawa, reassigning them to Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Hawaii, and Northern Australia. The massive U.S. military presence on Okinawa—with fourteen bases covering eighteen percent of the island—has long been a highly controversial matter. Relocating the marines will be an expensive proposition, but much of the bill will be paid by Japan.

Complex Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea

By Martin W. Lewis | April 17, 2012 | 2 Comments

The headline of an April 15 article in the Washington Post might strike many readers as slightly absurd: “Philippine president says his country won’t start war with China over disputed shoal.” Although the Philippines is hardly in a position to challenge China militarily, the remarks of President Benigno Aquino III did help the country save face as it pulled a warship out of the disputed waters and allowed several Chinese fishing vessels to return home with their catch.

Joshua Calder’s World Islands Website

By Martin W. Lewis | March 30, 2012 | Comments Off on Joshua Calder’s World Islands Website

For those interested in all manner of geographical information about islands, I highly recommend Joshua Calder’s WorldIslandInfo. The information on this site is detailed and comprehensive.  The section on “island misinformation” is very useful. Josh used to blog on islands as well, and many of his fascinating posts are still available.

U.S. Drone Base on Australia’s Cocos Islands?

By Martin W. Lewis | | Comments Off on U.S. Drone Base on Australia’s Cocos Islands?

Australia recently announced that it might allow the United States to establish an airbase on its remote Indian-Ocean Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Such a base would be used primarily for a fleet of surveillance drones, but it has been suggested that it could potentially serve as a partial replacement for the massive U.S. military complex on the island of Diego Garcia in the Chagos Archipelago, which is leased from the United Kingdom.

Lakes on Islands in Lakes: Toba and Taal in Indonesia and the Philippines

By Martin W. Lewis | March 29, 2012 | One Comment

For those interested in geographical superlatives pertaining to islands and lakes, has an interesting list, beginning with the world largest island (Greenland) and largest lake (Caspian Sea). It continues with the largest lake on an island (Nettilling Lake on Baffin Island in Canada), the largest island in a lake (Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron in Canada), the largest island …

New Evidence on the Settlement of Madagascar

By Martin W. Lewis | March 28, 2012 | 8 Comments

A new study of the genetic background of the people of Madagascar sheds light on the settlement of the island. It has long been known that the initial movement of people to Madagascar was relatively recent (1,000 to 1,500 years ago), and that it originated not from the African mainland but rather from the islands of what is now Indonesia.

René-Levasseur: The World’s Second Largest Island in a Lake?

By Martin W. Lewis | | 3 Comments

The Wikipedia’s list of the world’s largest islands in lake has some intriguing features. Four of the top seven positions are occupied by islands in North America’s Great Lakes: Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron (or Lake Michigan-Huron, which is actually a single lake), Isle Royale in Lake Superior, St. Joseph Island in Lake Huron, and Drummond Island, also in Lake …

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