Clipperton Island is an uninhabited nine-square-kilometre (approx. 3.5-square-mile) coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean, southwest of Mexico and west of Costa Rica, at 10°18′N 109°13′WCoordinates: 10°18′N 109°13′W. It is an overseas possession of France under direct authority of the Minister of Overseas France.
The small colony of Clipperton Island was believed to have been wiped out, but it was determined later that the residents had not even felt, or knew, of the earthquake. No relief vessel was sent to investigate, and the island soon faded from peoples minds on the mainland - they had their own problems.
Pigs were introduced at the end of the 19th century, and by 1958, there were 58 pigs on the island eating plants, crabs, and bird eggs; these were all slaughtered that year in order to protect the nesting birds, which had experienced marked declines in population. Coconut palms were planted in 1897, and now grow in several groves. Though significant damage was done to Clipperton's native flora and fauna during this short period of human habitation, the island is still considered one of the least disturbed systems in the Pacific. Despite many proposals, there is no current legal protection for the island.
As the Mexican Revolution intensified the supply ships stopped, leaving the settlers on their own. As a result, most settlers died. The remaining settlers wanted to leave the island on a U.S. Navy warship, but the Arnaud deemed evacuation unnecessary. On May 4, 1915, Captain Arnaud and his lieutenant Secundino Angel Cardona perished at sea while trying to go for help. Their widows, Alicia and Tirsa, remained on the island.
In 1906, the British Pacific Island Company built a guano mining settlement. Mexican president, Porfirio Diaz, ordered the building of a lighthouse and deployed a military defense force under the command of Captain Ramon Arnaud. By 1914, around 100 men, women and children lived on the isle. Supply ships arrived every two months to bring food and other provisions.
The Tampico, Clipperton garrison’s regular visitor and bringer of provisions, is sunk off the coast of Mexico. Soon afterwards the USSS Cleveland passes by Clipperton and offers to take the colony – soldiers, wives and children numbering about thirty – off the island to the mainland. Captain Arnaud refuses, and also expels Mr.G.Schulz, the Pacific Islands Company of London’s final representative. Thus, all ties with the outside world. Over the next few years, the castaways – it is later learned – had been totally unaware of the First World War. 1914-17: Over a three year period, the inhabitants of Clipperton island die off one by one, mostly of scurvy. By 1917, only three women and their children are left with Alvarez, the Lighthouse Keeper, who has declared himself King of Cipperton and has begun a reign of terror over the women.
Despite this Anglo-American dispute, Clipperton Island belonged to France. It is a coral atoll 6 miles across with some vegetation, lots of sea birds and crabs, and a stagnant lake at the centre. Named after a pirate of the 1700's, it was invaded and claimed for itself in 1897 by Mexico (I don't know whether before or after the Kinkora wreck). Although settled in the early part of the 20th century, it is today uninhabited, and is administered by the French.
It was used as a base by John Clipperton, an English pirate. The French claimed it in 1858, the Americans held it for a time in the Spanish-American War, and Mexican troops occupied it in 1897. The conflict between France and Mexico was referred to the king of Italy for arbitration in 1908. The award was made (1931) in favor of France, and Mexico surrendered the island in 1932. The island is administered from French Polynesia.
Clipperton lies in the eastern portion of the north equatorial counter current which sweeps directly across the Pacific from the region between Moluccas, New Buinea and equatorial Polynesia. Between Clipperton and Mexico this counter current is deflected southward by the Mexican coast current, and then, meeting the Peruvial current north of the Galapagos, is turned westward into the equatorial on a journey across the Pacific again in the opposite direction.
Clipperton Island was originally discovered by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, but was later named after John Clipperton, an English pirate who led a mutiny against William Dampier in 1704. It has been rumored that Clipperton hid some treasures on the atoll. In 1708, two French ships 'Princess' and 'Découverte' reached the island and named it 'Ile de la Possession', and annexed it for France. The first scientific expedition took place in 1725 by Frenchman M.Bocage, who lived on the island for several months. Over one hundred years later, Clipperton was found again by an American guano mining company. The treaty of Guano was made in 1856, and the United States had rights for guano mining on Clipperton. In 1857, the French declared (under heavy American) protest that Clipperton was a part of Tahiti. But after several years of no permanent settlement on the island, Mexico occupied the island in 1897 and established a military outpost on the island.
Clipperton Island is a barren, ring-shaped coral atoll located 1630 miles south-southeast of San Diego, California, and 1600 miles west of Nicaragua. The only atoll in the East Pacific, it completly surrounds its stagnent fresh-water lagoon and serves as home for thousands of sea birds and millions of land crabs. Clippertons total area is about 7 square kilometers. Most of the island is no higher than 6 feet, except for Clipperton Rock, a volcanic rock formation which reaches a peak height of 69 feet.