Îles de Los

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Los Islands
Native name:
Îles de Los
Iles de Los Map.jpg
Los Islands is located in Guinea
Los Islands
Los Islands
LocationAtlantic Ocean
Coordinates9°27′46″N 13°47′46″W / 9.462695°N 13.796177°W / 9.462695; -13.796177Coordinates: 9°27′46″N 13°47′46″W / 9.462695°N 13.796177°W / 9.462695; -13.796177
ArchipelagoÎles de Los
Total islands8
Major islandsTamara (Fortoba), Kassa and Roume
Area80 km2 (31 sq mi)
Length10 km (6 mi)
Width7 km (4.3 mi)
Highest elevation47 m (154 ft)
Highest pointSommet Lacroix

Îles de Los (English: Los Islands) are an island group lying off Conakry in Guinea, on the west coast of Africa. Their name is derived from the Portuguese: Ilhas dos Ídolos, "Island of the Idols".[1] They are located about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) off the headland limiting the southern side of Sangareya Bay.[2]

The islands are best known for their beaches and forested interiors and are popular with tourists. Ferries sail to the Los from Conakry.


There are three main islands: Tamara (Fortoba), Kassa and Roume. Île de Corail, Île Blanche, Île Cabris, Île Poulet, Îlot Cabri and Îlot de la Bouteille are smaller islands and islets located in the southern half.[1]


Tamara is home to the Île Tamara Lighthouse. The island used to have a prison.


Under British rule, it was known as Crawford Island. Roume is said[weasel words] to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island.


This island used to be known as Factory Island, a name derived from the Portuguese word "casa".


The islands have been inhabited for a long time and rose to prominence for their role in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1755 Miles Barber of the African Company of Liverpool established a trading post (then known as a factory) there employing workers skilled in ship repair as well as pilots for the local rivers. This led to Kassa being known as "Factory Island".[3] English language sources in the 18th century gave various corrupted names for the islands including "Isles of Loss", "the Edlesses", "The Idols", or "Las Idolas".[4]

In 1812 Samuel Samo, a Dutch slave trader, was seized by the British there and taken to Freetown, Sierra Leone where he appeared before the Vice Admiralty Court. He was the first person tried under the British Slave Trade Felony Act 1811.[5] (See for context the 1818 Anglo-Dutch Slave Trade Treaty which established Mixed Commission Courts.)

British possession (1818–1904)[edit]

Charles MacCarthy, the Governor of Sierra Leone, signed a treaty with Mangé Demba on 6 July 1818, whereby the islands were ceded to the British Empire for the payment of an annual rent.[6] McCarthy then asked Peter Machlan, a surgeon with the 2nd West Indian Regiment to write an account of the islands and surrounding areas. This was published as Travels into the Baga and Soosoo country during the year 1821.[6]

Part of French Guinea (1904–1958)[edit]

Following a visit by Edward VII to France, and a return visit by the French President Émile Loubet, the French and British governments signed the Entente Cordiale on 7 April 1904: among many other matters, Îles de Los was handed over to France in exchange for France relinquishing fishing rights in Newfoundland.[7] The islands were incorporated into French Guinea, one of the constituent parts of French West Africa, on July 1904.[8] Scipio O'Connor was the first colonial administrator appointed by the French.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Îles de Los". Mapcarta. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Baie de Sangareya". Mapcarta. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  3. ^ Mouser, Bruce (2002). A slaving voyage to Africa and Jamaica : the log of the Sandown, 1793–1794. Bloomington, Ind. [u.a.]: Indiana University Press. p. viii. ISBN 0-253-34077-2.
  4. ^ Farrow, Anne (3 April 2005). "Sam Gould and the Isles Of Loss". www.courant.com. Hartford Courant. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  5. ^ Haslam, Emily (2012). "Redemption, Colonialism and International Criminal Law". In Kirkby, Diane (ed.). Past law, present histories. Canberra, Acton, A.C.T.: ANU E Press. ISBN 978-1-922144-03-4.
  6. ^ a b Machlan, Peter (1821). Travels into the Baga and Soosoo Countries in 1821. Freetown, Sierra leone: J. Mitton and co.
  7. ^ a b Diallo, Mamadou; Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catherine (2005). Répression et enfermement en Guinée : Le pénitencier de Fotoba et la prison centrale de Conakry de 1900 à 1958. Paris: L'Harmattan.
  8. ^ "IV. La formation de la colonie de la Guinée française (1875–1904)". webguinee.net. Afriq Access & Tierno S. Bah. Retrieved 1 April 2016.