Tristan da Cunha, the world’s most remote island

Tristan Da Cunha lies 2,816 kilometres (1,750 miles) from South Africa and 3,360 kilometres (2,088 miles) from South America. The closest land mass is Saint Helena a mere 2,430 kilometres (1,510 miles) distant.

Tristan da Cunha's only settlement, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, is built on the flat below the 6,765-foot volcano Queen Mary's Peak
Tristan da Cunha’s only settlement, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, is built on the flat below the 6,765-foot volcano Queen Mary’s Peak

Tristan was first discovered in 1506 by the the Portuguese sailor Tristão da Cunha. However, Tristão was unable to land on Tristan because of accessibility difficulties and rough seas. Despite this, Tristão named the island ‘Ilha de Tristão da Cunha’ – roughly translated as ‘The Islands of Tristão da Cunha’. The name was changed to Tristan Da Cunha later.

The vast distances that must be travelled to get to Tristan da Cunha, which lays claim to being the most remote inhabited island in the world
The vast distances that must be travelled to get to Tristan da Cunha, which lays claim to being the most remote inhabited island in the world

The island is a dependency of Saint Helena – a British Overseas Terrority. Tristan Da Cunha’s motto is “Our faith is our strength”, and its National Anthem is the British God Save the Queen. The island’s capital (and most populated city) is ‘Edinburgh of the Seven Seas’, more commonly called Edinburgh. In 2005, the Royal Mail assigned Tristan the postcode of TDCU 1ZZ.

This was for two reasons:

  • the mail was getting lost because the island had no postcode
  • the capital was being confused with the Scottish city of Edinburgh.

The territory consists of a number of islands – Tristan Da Cunha (38 square miles approximately), the uninhabited Nightingale Islands, and the wildlife reserves of Inaccessible Island and Gough Island.

Tristan da Dunha's main island, which also gives its name to the archipelago is just seven miles long and 37.8 square miles in area
Tristan da Dunha’s main island, which also gives its name to the archipelago is just seven miles long and 37.8 square miles in area

Every citizen who is able to work is a farmer by trade. All land is communally owned and various measures are in place to prevent better off families from gaining excess wealth. The main source of income is the island’s lobster factory. Most people have more than one job and many work for the local government.

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It is 1,243 miles from Saint Helena, its closest neighbour with residents, 1,491 miles from South Africa and 2,088 miles from South America

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