Desventuradas Islands

The Desventuradas Islands (Spanish: Islas Desventuradas,[1] IPA: [ˈizlaz ðezβentuˈɾaðas], "Unfortunate Islands" or Islas de los Desventurados, "Islands of the Unfortunate Ones"[2]) is a group of four small islands located 850 kilometres (530 mi) off the coast of Chile, northwest of Santiago in the Pacific Ocean.[3] They are considered part of Insular Chile.

Because of their isolation and difficulty of access, there are no human settlements on these islands, but a detachment of the Chilean Navy is stationed on Isla San Félix, which also hosts the 2,000-metre (6,600 ft) Isla San Felix Airport.

Desventuradas Islands
Native name:
Islas Desventuradas
Map of Desventuradas Islands, also known as San Félix Islands
Map of Desventuradas Islands, also known as San Félix Islands
Desventuradas Islands is located in Pacific Ocean
Desventuradas Islands
Desventuradas Islands
Adjacent bodies of waterPacific Ocean
Total islands4
Major islandsSan Ambrosio, San Félix, Gonzalez and Roca Catedral
Area5.36 km2 (2.07 sq mi)(together)
Highest elevation479 m (1,572 ft) max.
Region Valparaíso
ProvinceValparaíso Province
CommuneJuan Fernández
Additional information
-900077 "San Ambrosio"
-883263 "Gonzáles"
-900282 "San Félix"


The islands were first sighted by Juan Fernández on 6 November 1574 while voyaging from Callao to Valparaíso, and perhaps earlier by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520. Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa wrote in 1579 that "they are now called after St. Felix and St. Ambor (i.e. Felix and Nabor)". However, the name of the martyr Ambor (Nabor) became confused with that of the more famous bishop Saint Ambrose (San Ambrosio).[4][5] It is, probably, one of these islands that Captain John Davis struck one night in 1686. He was able to continue his voyage but erroneously reported the position of the incident.[6]

San Felix played a part in the Falklands War. In May 1982, the Chilean government allowed RAF Nimrod MR2s to fly maritime reconnaissance sorties from the island, gathering information on the movements of the Argentine Navy.[7][8]


The vegetation of the larger islands is a miniature mosaic of matorral, barren rock, various size trees, and shrubs mixed with ferns and perennial herbs. Thamnoseris lacerata is an endemic shrub species.

There are no permanent sources of fresh water on any of the islands. Vertebrates inhabiting both of the largest islands are limited to birds. Ten species of marine birds and one land bird species, some of them endangered, make their nests on or visit the islands.

List of islands and location

The Desventuradas Islands, from east to west:

Island/Rock Area
Elevation (m)
San Ambrosio 3.1 479 26°20′37″S 79°53′28″W / 26.34361°S 79.89111°W
San Felix group
Islote González 0.25 173 26°18′36″S 80°05′06″W / 26.31000°S 80.08500°W
San Félix 2 Cerro Amarillo, 193 26°17′30″S 80°05′42″W / 26.29167°S 80.09500°W
Roca Catedral 0.01 53 26°16′25″S 80°07′15″W / 26.27361°S 80.12083°W
Total 5.36 479  

See also


  1. ^ An Archaeological Exploration of Robinson Crusoe Island
  2. ^ ADM - Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies; Pacific Ocean: South America, W Coast: Chile: Islas de los Desventurados and Islas Juan Fernandez;
  3. ^ "San Félix-San Ambrosio Islands temperate forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  4. ^ B. Glanvill Corney, "The Isles of San Felix and San Nabor," The Geographical Journal, Vol. 56, No. 3 (September 1920), pp. 196–200
  5. ^ Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society, New York, 1967, p.127.
  6. ^ Jacques Julien Houtou de Labillardière (1800). Relation du voyage à la recherche de La Pérouse ... 1791, 1792, et pendant la Ière et la 2de année de la République françoise. 2 tom. [and] Atlas.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2008-08-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Alexander, Harriet (7 July 2014). "'Without Chile's help, we would have lost the Falklands'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 July 2014.

External links

Coordinates: 26°19′S 80°00′W / 26.32°S 80°W

80th meridian west

The meridian 80° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, Central America, South America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

In Antarctica, the meridian defines the western limit of the British territorial claim and passes through the Chilean claim - the two claims overlap.

The 80th meridian west forms a great circle with the 100th meridian east.

Archipiélago de Juan Fernández National Park

Archipiélago de Juan Fernández National Park (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxwaɱ feɾˈnandes]) is a national park located in the Pacific Ocean 665 kilometres west of Chile's mainland port of San Antonio, in the Juan Fernández Archipelago. The park covers 96 square kilometres and comprises the Santa Clara, Alejandro Selkirk and the most part of the Robinson Crusoe Island islands.

Continental Chile

Continental Chile is the name given to the Chilean territory located on the continental shelf of South America. This term serves to distinguish the South American area from the insular territories, known as Insular Chile, as from the Antarctic Chile (Chilean Antarctic Territory). The existence of this three areas of effective or claimed Chilean sovereignty is what supports the existing tricontinental principle in this country.In addition, this term specifies the time zones of mainland Chile and the Juan Fernández archipelago and the Desventuradas Islands, located in the UTC-3 time zone, as "continental Chile". Easter Island and the Isla Salas y Gómez, both in Polynesia, are in the UTC-5 time zone.

Continental Chile has a surface of 756,770 km², representing 99.976% of the total surface of the country under effective administration. However, considering the claim in Antarctic, this percent fall down to only 37.71% of national's surface.

With regard to the population, according to the 2002 census, it had a total of 15,111,881 inhabitants, corresponding to 99.97% of the national population.

De Filippi's petrel

De Filippi's petrel or Masatierra petrel (Pterodroma defilippiana) is a species of seabird in the family Procellariidae. It is endemic to Chile where it nests in the Juan Fernández Islands (including Masatierra) and Desventuradas Islands. Its natural habitats are open seas and rocky shores.

Deep-dwelling moray

The deep-dwelling moray (Gymnothorax bathyphilus) is a deepwater moray eel found in the south Pacific Ocean, around Easter Island and Desventuradas Islands. It reaches a maximum length of about 76 cm. The type specimen was taken at a depth of 250 m.

Eragrostis kuschelii

Eragrostis kuschelii is a species of flowering plant in the family Poaceae, endemic to the Desventuradas Islands (San Ambrosio island). It was first described by Carl Skottsberg in 1963.

Eragrostis peruviana

Eragrostis peruviana is a species of flowering plant in the family Poaceae, native to Peru to northern Chile, including the Desventuradas Islands. It was first described by Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin in 1787 as Poa peruviana, and transferred to Eragrostis by Carl Bernhard von Trinius in 1830.

Fernandezian Region

The Fernandezian Region is a Floristic Region which includes two island groups, the Juan Fernández Islands and Desventuradas Islands archipelagos, that lie in the South Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Chile. It is in the Antarctic Floristic Kingdom, but often also included within the Neotropical Kingdom.

Endemic plant families include Lactoridaceae, with many endemic plant and animal genera are found here too.

Insular Chile

Insular Chile, also called Las islas Esporádicas, or "the Sporadic Islands", is a scattered group of oceanic islands of volcanic origin located in the Chilean Sea, at some distance from mainland Chile, and which are under the sovereignty of Chile.

Confusingly, the Juan Fernández Islands and the Desventuradas Islands are considered "Continental Insular Chile" (despite not being continental islands); Salas y Gómez Island and Easter Island – both geographically situated in Polynesia – form the zone known as "Oceanic Insular Chile". All of insular Chile is administrated as part of the Valparaíso Region.

The Sporadic Islands are not the only Chilean insular territories; rather, these islands represent just 328 square kilometres (127 square miles), around 0.3%, of the total, the rest being 3,739 islands and 2,180 islets, the combined land area of which totals 105,561 square kilometres (40,757 square miles), nearly 14% of which is effectively under Chilean control, part of what officially distinguishes "insular Chile" from "continental Chile".Insular Chile consists of:

The Juan Fernández Islands, composed of Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara islands, located 670 kilometres (420 miles) west of Valparaíso

The Desventuradas Islands, composed of San Ambrosio and San Félix Islands, located more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) west of continental Chile, opposite the Atacama Region

Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, 3,600 kilometres (2,200 miles) west of Caldera, with an area of 163.6 square kilometres (63.2 square miles) – the main island of the Sporadic Islands

Salas y Gómez Island, located 3,220 kilometres (2,000 miles) west of Chañaral and 415 kilometres (258 miles) northeast of Easter Island.Of these islands, only Easter Island and Robinson Crusoe are inhabited. Of the two, Easter Island is the farthest from the continent, part of Oceania and culturally Polynesian, as is Salas y Gómez, while the Desventuradas Islands and the Juan Fernández archipelago are culturally South American.

The Sporadic islands are part of the Valparaíso Region. Easter Island and Salas y Gómez form the commune of Isla de Pascua, the only commune of Isla de Pascua Province. The Desventuradas islands and Juan Fernández belong to Valparaíso Province, and are part of the commune of Juan Fernández.

Insular Chile is located in various time zones: continental Chile, the Juan Fernández archipelago and the Desventuradas Islands are located in the UTC−3 time zone at summer timezone, and UTC−4 in winter timezone, while Easter Island and Salas y Gómez Island are both in Polynesia, (UTC−5 summer, UTC−6 winter).

Jasus frontalis

Jasus frontalis, known as the Juan Fernández rock lobster, is a species of spiny lobster in the genus Jasus, found around the Juan Fernández and Desventuradas Islands in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean.

Juan Fernández Islands

The Juan Fernández Islands (Spanish: Archipiélago Juan Fernández) are a sparsely inhabited island group in the South Pacific Ocean reliant on tourism and fishing. Situated 670 km (362 nmi; 416 mi) off the coast of Chile, they are composed of three main volcanic islands: Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara. The group is considered part of Insular Chile.

The islands are primarily known for having been the home to the marooned sailor Alexander Selkirk for more than four years from 1704, which may have inspired Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Most of the archipelago's present-day inhabitants reside on Robinson Crusoe Island, and mainly in the capital, San Juan Bautista, located at Cumberland Bay on the island's north coast.The group of islands is part of Chile's Valparaíso Region (which also includes Easter Island) and, along with the Desventuradas Islands, forms one of the nine communes of Valparaíso Province. The islands are named after Juan Fernandez, the explorer who discovered them in the 1570s.

Juan Fernández fur seal

The Juan Fernández fur seal is the second smallest of the fur seals, second only to the Galápagos fur seal. They are found only on the Pacific Coast of South America, more specifically on the Juan Fernández Islands and the Desventuradas Islands. There is still much that is unknown about this species. Scientists still do not know the average life span of this species, or the diet and behavior of males apart from the breeding season.

Nabor and Felix

Nabor and Felix (d. c. AD 303) were Christian martyrs thought to have been killed during the Great Persecution under the Roman emperor Diocletian. A tomb in Milan is believed to contain their relics.

Paratrachichthys fernandezianus

Paratrachichthys fernandezianus, the Chilean sandpaper fish, is a member of the family Trachichthyidae. It is native to the Desventuradas Islands and the Juan Fernández Islands off the coast of Chile. Despite its relatively limited range, it is listed as least concern by the IUCN because its population is not threatened at present. The Juan Fernández Islands are a marine reserve and the Desventuradas Islands are mostly uninhabited. It can be found between 0m and 20m from the surface of the ocean, also known as the photic zone.


Paratrimma is a genus of gobies endemic to Chile where they are only found around the Juan Fernández Islands and the Desventuradas Islands in the southeastern Pacific Ocean.

Proeulia clenchi

Proeulia clenchi is a species of moth of the family Tortricidae. It is found in Chile in the Desventuradas Islands.The wingspan is about 20–22 mm. The ground colour of the forewings is pale ochraceous buff with scattered greyish fuscous irroration (fine streaks). The hindwings are pale buff, mottled with greyish fuscous.

Proeulia kuscheli

Proeulia kuscheli is a species of moth of the family Tortricidae. It is found in the Desventuradas Islands off the coast of Chile.

The wingspan is about 18 mm. The ground colour of the forewings is olive, without contrasting markings. The hindwings are white, except for olive colouring around the margins.

Scartichthys variolatus

Scartichthys variolatus is a species of combtooth blenny found around islands in the southeast Pacific ocean, the Desventuradas Islands and the Juan Fernandez Islands. This species reaches a length of 16.3 centimetres (6.4 in) SL.


Thamnoseris is a genus of plants in the dandelion tribe within the daisy family.There is only one known species, Thamnoseris lacerata, commonly known as the pachycaul tree. It is endemic to the Desventuradas Islands in the South Pacific, part of the Republic of Chile.

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