The territory is sometimes referred to as the French Southern Lands (French: Terres australes françaises) or French Southern Territories, usually to emphasize non-recognition of French sovereignty over Adélie Land as part of the Antarctic Treaty system.
The territory has no permanent civilian population. Those resident consist of visiting military personnel, officials, scientific researchers and support staff.
French Southern and Antarctic Lands
Terres australes et antarctiques françaises (TAAF)
Coat of arms
Motto: "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité"
Anthem: "La Marseillaise"
Location of French Southern and Antarctic Lands (circled in red)
in the Indian Ocean (light blue)
|Capital||Saint-Pierre on Réunion Island |
(headquarters, not geographically assigned.)
|Cécile Pozzo di Borgo|
|439,781 km2 (169,800 sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||TF|
Flag of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands: see CIA World Factbook
The French Southern and Antarctic Lands have formed a territoire d'outre-mer (an overseas territory) of France since 1955. Formerly, they were administered from Paris by an administrateur supérieur assisted by a secretary-general; since December 2004, however, their administrator has been a préfet, currently Cécile Pozzo di Borgo, with headquarters in Saint-Pierre on Réunion Island.
The territory is divided into five districts:
|Saint Paul / Île Amsterdam||Martin-de-Viviès||25||45||61||502,533|
|Archipel Crozet||Alfred Faure||25||45||352||567,475|
|Archipel des Kerguelen||Port-aux-Français||70||110||7,215||563,869|
|Terre Adélie||Dumont d'Urville Station||30||110||432,000||—|
a According to new law 2007-224 of February 21, 2007, the Scattered Islands constitute the TAAF's fifth district. The TAAF website does not mention their population. The data are not included in the totals.
b The Îles Éparses principal station is on Tromelin Island. The headquarters of the district chief lies beyond the TAAF, in Saint-Pierre on Réunion Island.
c The Territory's principal station is Martin-de-Viviès on Île Amsterdam. The capital and headquarters of the Territorial administrator lies beyond the TAAF, in Saint-Pierre on Réunion Island.
Each district is headed by a district chief, who has powers similar to those of a French mayor (including recording births and deaths and being an officer of judicial police).
Because there is no permanent population, there is no elected assembly, nor does the territory send representatives to the national parliament.
The territory includes Amsterdam Island, Saint-Paul Island, Crozet Islands, and the Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean near 43°S, 67°E, along with Adélie Land, the sector of Antarctica claimed by France, named by the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville after his wife.
Adélie Land (about 432,000 km2 or 167,000 sq mi) and the islands, totaling 7,781 km2 (3,004 sq mi), have no indigenous inhabitants, though in 1997 there were about 100 researchers whose numbers varied from winter (July) to summer (January).
Amsterdam Island and Saint-Paul Island are extinct volcanoes and have been delineated as the Amsterdam and Saint-Paul Islands temperate grasslands ecoregion. The highest point in the territory is Mont Ross on Kerguelen Island at 1,850 m (6,070 ft). There are very few airstrips on the islands, only existing on islands with weather stations, and the 1,232 km (766 mi) of coastline have no ports or harbors, only offshore anchorages.
However, the territory has a merchant marine fleet totaling (in 1999) 2,892,911 GRT/5,165,713 tonnes deadweight (DWT), including seven bulk carriers, five cargo ships, ten chemical tankers, nine container ships, six liquefied gas carriers, 24 petroleum tankers, one refrigerated cargo ship, and ten roll-on-roll-off (RORO) carriers. This fleet is maintained as a subset of the French register that allows French-owned ships to operate under more liberal taxation and manning regulations than permissible under the main French register. This register, however, is to vanish, replaced by the International French Register (Registre International Français, RIF).
|Official name||Réserve Naturelle Nationale des Terres Australes Francaises|
|Designated||15 September 2008|
The main fish resources are Patagonian toothfish and spiny lobster. Both are poached by foreign fleets; because of this, the French Navy and occasionally other services patrol the zone and arrest poaching vessels. Such arrests can result in heavy fines and/or the seizure of the ship.
France used to sell licenses to foreign fisheries to fish the Patagonian toothfish; because of overfishing, it is now restricted to a small number of fisheries from Réunion Island.
The territory takes in revenues of about €16 million a year.
.tf is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. Along with .fr, .nc, .pm, .re, .wf and .yt it is administered by AFNIC. Before October 23, 2004, Adamsnames, based in Cambridge, administered this TLD.
There is also an additional free service offering third-level .tf domains, under the name United Names Organisation. They occupy 14 second-level domains, including .eu.tf, .us.tf, .net.tf, and .edu.tf. They are run by the same company as smartdots.com, and are given away as URL redirections.
The French Southern and Antarctic Lands are territories either recognised as French or claimed but suspended under the Antarctic Treaty System France, and the domain name derives from the French, Terres australes et antarctiques françaises. Part of the French claim includes a section of the continent of Antarctica, creating an overlap between .tf and the general Antarctica domain .aq.
The .tf domain-name has popular usage for sites related to the game Team Fortress and its sequel, Team Fortress 2. Many of these sites are commonly used for marketing of virtual goods originating from Team Fortress 2 and, by extension, the Steam Community Market.Adélie Land
Adélie Land (French: Terre Adélie) is a claimed territory on the continent of Antarctica. It stretches from a coastline area along the Great Southern Ocean inland all the way to the South Pole. France administrates it as one of five districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands since 1955 and apply the Antarctic Treaty System rules since 1961. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any preexisting claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. France has had a permanent station in Adélie Land since April 9, 1950. The current Dumont d'Urville Station has a winter population around 33, but this goes up to about 78 during the Antarctic summer.Bassas da India
Bassas da India is an uninhabited, roughly circular French atoll that is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. Located in the southern Mozambique Channel, about halfway between Mozambique and Madagascar (about 385 km (239 mi) further east) and around 110 km (68 mi) northwest of Europa Island, the rim of the atoll averages around 100 m in width and encloses a shallow lagoon of depth no greater than 15 m. Overall, the atoll is about 10 km (6 mi) in diameter, rising steeply from the seabed 3000 m below to encircle an area (including lagoon) of 80 km2 (31 sq mi). Its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), 123,700 km2 (47,761 sq mi) in size, is contiguous with that of Europa Island.
The atoll consists of ten barren rocky islets, with no vegetation, totalling 0.2 km² (.077 sq mi) in area. Those on the north and east sides are 2.1 to 3 m high, while those on the west and south sides are 1.2 m high. The reef, whose coastline measures 35.2 km (22 mi), is completely covered by the sea from three hours before high tide to three hours afterward. The region is also subject to cyclones, making the atoll a long-time maritime hazard and the site of numerous shipwrecks.
Jaguar Seamount and Hall Tablemount lie, respectively, about 40 and 70 km further southwest.Crozet Islands
The Crozet Islands (French: Îles Crozet; or, officially, Archipel Crozet) are a sub-antarctic archipelago of small islands in the southern Indian Ocean. They form one of the five administrative districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.Europa Island
Europa Island (French: Île Europa) is a 28-square-kilometre (11 sq mi) low-lying tropical atoll in the Mozambique Channel, about a third of the way from southern Madagascar to southern Mozambique. The island had never been inhabited until 1820, when the French family Rosier moved to it. The island officially became a possession of France in 1897.
The island, garrisoned by a detachment from Réunion, has a weather station and is visited by scientists. Though uninhabited, it is part of the "Scattered Islands" of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands administrative region.
Europa Island was the setting of a 1968 episode of "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau", partly focusing on the breeding habits of the green sea turtle.Flags of Antarctica
Prior to 2002, Antarctica had no flag as the condominium that governs the continent had not yet formally selected one even though a particular design was in widespread use. The consultative members of the Antarctic Treaty System officially adopted a flag and emblem in 2002, which is now the official symbol of the continent. Several unofficial designs have also been proposed.Juan de Nova Island
Juan de Nova Island (French: Île Juan da Nova (official), Île Juan de Nova (local)), also known as Saint-Christophe, is a French tropical island in the narrowest part of the Mozambique Channel, about one-third of the way between Madagascar and Mozambique. It is a low, flat island, 4.4 square kilometres (1.7 sq mi) in size.
Anchorage is possible off the northeast of the island which also has a 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) airstrip. Administratively, the island is one of the Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean, a district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
The island is garrisoned by French troops from Réunion and has a weather station.Kerguelen Islands
The Kerguelen Islands ( or ; in French commonly Îles Kerguelen but officially Archipel des Kerguelen, pronounced [kɛʁɡelɛn]), also known as the Desolation Islands (Îles de la Désolation in French), are a group of islands in the Antarctic constituting one of the two exposed parts of the Kerguelen Plateau, a large igneous province mostly submerged by the southern Indian Ocean. They are among the most isolated places on Earth, located 450 km (280 mi) northwest of the uninhabited Heard Island and McDonald Islands and more than 3,300 km (2,100 mi) from Madagascar, the nearest populated location (excluding the Alfred Faure scientific station in Île de la Possession, about 1,340 km, 830 mi from there, and the non-permanent station located in Île Amsterdam, 1,440 km, 890 mi away). The islands, along with Adélie Land, the Crozet Islands, Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands, and France's Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean, are part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands and are administered as a separate district.
The main island, Grande Terre, is 6,675 km2 (2,577 sq mi) in area and is surrounded by a further 300 smaller islands and islets, forming an archipelago of 7,215 km2 (2,786 sq mi). The climate is raw and chilly with frequent high winds throughout the year. The surrounding seas are generally rough and they remain ice-free year-round. There are no indigenous inhabitants, but France maintains a permanent presence of 45 to 100 soldiers, scientists, engineers and researchers. There are no airports on the islands, so all travel and transport from the outside world is conducted by ship.List of volcanoes in French Southern and Antarctic Lands
This is a list of active and dormant volcanoes.Mozambique Channel
The Mozambique Channel (French: Canal du Mozambique, Malagasy: Lakandranon'i Mozambika, Portuguese: Canal de Moçambique) is an arm of the Indian Ocean located between the Southeast African countries of Madagascar and Mozambique. The channel is about 1,600 km (1,000 mi) long and 419 km (260 mi) across at its narrowest point, and reaches a depth of 3,292 m (10,800 ft) about 230 km (143 mi) off the coast of Mozambique. A warm current, the Mozambique Current, flows in a southward direction in the channel, leading into the Agulhas Current off the east coast of South Africa.Postage stamps and postal history of the French Southern and Antarctic Territories
The French Southern and Antarctic Territories (French: Terres australes et antarctiques françaises, abbreviated TAAF) is a French overseas territory consisting of Adélie Land in coastal Antarctica and several islands in the southern Indian Ocean: the Crozet Islands, the Kerguelen Islands, Amsterdam Island and Île Saint-Paul. The territory was created on 6 August 1955, before which all were dependencies of Madagascar.Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean
The Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean (French: Îles Éparses or Îles Éparses de l'océan Indien) consist of four small coral islands, an atoll, and a reef in the Indian Ocean, and have constituted the 5th district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) since February 2007. They have never had a permanent population. Two of the islands—Juan de Nova and Europa—and the Bassas da India atoll lie in the Mozambique Channel west of Madagascar, while a third island, Tromelin, lies about 450 kilometres (280 mi) east of Madagascar and the Glorioso Islands lies about 200 kilometres (120 mi) northwest of Madagascar. Also in the Mozambique Channel is the Banc du Geyser, a reef under French control claimed by Madagascar since 1976. France and the Comoros view the Banc du Geyser as part of the Glorioso Islands.
The islands have been classified as nature reserves. Except for Bassas da India, they all support meteorological stations: those on the Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova, and Europa Island are automated. The station on Tromelin Island, in particular, provides warning of cyclones threatening Madagascar, Réunion, or Mauritius. Each of the islands, except Bassas da India and Banc du Geyser, has an airstrip of more than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft).
Mauritius, the Comoros, and Madagascar dispute France's sovereignty over the islands. Mauritius claims Tromelin and argues that the island, discovered by France in 1722, was not ceded by the treaty of Paris in 1814. Madagascar claims sovereignty over the Glorioso Islands (Banc du Geyser included) despite the islands not having been a part of Malagasy Protectorate, but rather a part of colony of Mayotte and dependencies, then a part of French Comoros that had become a separately administered colony from Madagascar in 1946. The Comoros claims the Glorioso Islands (Banc du Geyser included) too, as a part of the disputed French region of Mayotte. Madagascar claims Juan de Nova, and Europa and Bassas da India since 1972. Seychelles claimed a part of Scattered Islands too before the France–Seychelles Maritime Boundary Agreement.Île Amsterdam
Île Amsterdam (French pronunciation: [ilamstɛʁdam]), also known as Amsterdam Island, New Amsterdam, or Nouvelle Amsterdam, is an island of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands in the southern Indian Ocean that together with neighbouring Île Saint-Paul 85 km (53 mi) to the south forms one of the five districts of the territory. The research station at Martin-de-Viviès, first called Camp Heurtin and then La Roche Godon, is the only settlement on the island and is the seasonal home to about thirty researchers and staff studying biology, meteorology, and geomagnetics.
The island is roughly equidistant to the land masses of Madagascar, Australia, and Antarctica – as well as the British Indian Ocean Territory and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (about 3,200 kilometres, 2,000 mi from each).
The island is named after the ship Nieuw Amsterdam, which is in turn named after the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (named after the Dutch capital Amsterdam) that later became New York City in the United States.Île Saint-Paul
Île Saint-Paul (Saint Paul Island) is an island forming part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Terres australes et antarctiques françaises, TAAF) in the Indian Ocean, with an area of 6 km2 (2.3 sq mi; 1,500 acres). The island is located about 85 km (46 nmi) southwest of the larger Île Amsterdam (55 km2 (21 sq mi)), 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) northeast of the Kerguelen Islands, and 3,000 km (1,600 nmi) southeast of Réunion. It is an important breeding site for seabirds. A scientific research cabin on the island is used for scientific or ecological short campaigns, but there is no permanent population. It is under the authority of a senior administrator on Réunion.Île aux Cochons
Île aux Cochons, or Pig Island, is an uninhabited island in the subantarctic Crozet Archipelago. With an area of 67 km2 (26 sq mi) it is the third largest island of the group. Administratively, it is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.Île de l'Est
Île de l'Est, or East Island, is a part of the subantarctic archipelago of the Crozet Islands. With an area of 130 km2 (50 sq mi) it is the second largest island of the group. It is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.Île de la Possession
Île de la Possession, or Possession Island, formerly Île de la Prise de Possession, is part of the subantarctic Crozet Archipelago.
With an area of 150 km2 (58 sq mi) it is the largest island of the group and the only inhabited one. Administratively, it is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. It is an important nesting site for seabirds.Île du Lys
Île du Lys, also known as Le Lys or Ile du Lise, is one of the Glorioso Islands, north-west of Madagascar. It is over seen (administrated) by France.