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Bill Thayer

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Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha — in older accounts, often Tristan d'Acunha — is a very small island in the middle of a very large ocean; often billed as the remotest inhabited place on earth: about 275 inhabitants living 2400 km from the nearest other inhabited land on the planet. I have never been there, and have no natural connection with the place (nor does this site have any connection with the island's government). Despite that, or to be honest, because of that, I have two entire books onsite on its history; both are good, if taking us only to the 1960's: anything more recent is still under copyright.

Douglas M. Gane's Tristan da Cunha is essentially a tract to persuade the people and government of Great Britain to support her outpost in the South Atlantic: but to do it, he has to educate them first, and us; it is thus a sort of targeted history recounting the value and interest of the island and its people in the framework of the Commonwealth.

[ 3/18/13: 173 pages of print
— 16 webpages, 8 photos ]

Margaret Mackay's Angry Island • The Story of Tristan da Cunha 1506‑1963 is a more thorough history of the island; the writing is vivid where it needs to be, but Tristan's story is told soberly and unsentimentally. Tales of courage and adventure, but also of a hard and somewhat dreary peasant life, without passing over the occasional wart. I found the book very good despite the in spots paternalistic tone.

[ 11/23/16: 277 pages of print
— 56 webpages, 14 photos, 1 map ]

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A few journal articles, newspaper articles, and the like will also be forthcoming. Currently:

Tristan d'Acunha (Scottish Geographical Magazine, June 1905, pp301‑309).

Tristan da Cunha (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition, Vol. XXVII pp294‑296).

L'occupation de Tristan da Cunha par la Grande-Bretagne (La Géographie • bulletin de la Société de géographie, 1912, pp105‑116)

The French author contends that Great Britain's occupation of the island was meant to be temporary, and in fact ceased around 1821.

The Tristan da Cunha Bible (British Museum Quarterly, Sept. 1934, pp16‑17).

Tristan da Cunha Records (British Museum Quarterly, May 1935, pp121‑123).

"Treasure Island" outdone in real life

Three newspaper articles from 1898, 1899, and 1901 relating a very curious and convoluted bit of hanky-panky, probably having nothing at all to do with Tristan.

[image ALT: missingALT. It serves on this website as the icon for Tristan da Cunha.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is the island's coat of arms, which in the official grant of arms of October 20, 2002 is blazoned

Per Fess Azure and Argent between four yellow-nosed Albatrosses volant outwards in lozenge the two in base reversed a Lozenge embowed inwards all counterchanged.

— where it seems reasonable, if not stated, to see in the central device the volcanic peak forming the island.

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Site updated: 24 Jan 22