Amirante Islands

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Amirante Islands
Nickname: Ilhas do Almirante
Satellite Image Map, with neighbouring Alphonse Group in the lower left
Amirante Islands is located in Seychelles
Amirante Islands
Amirante Islands
Location of Amirante Islands in Seychelles
Location Indian Ocean
Coordinates 04°49′S 53°40′E / 4.817°S 53.667°E / -4.817; 53.667Coordinates: 04°49′S 53°40′E / 4.817°S 53.667°E / -4.817; 53.667
Archipelago Seychelles
Adjacent bodies of water Indian Ocean
Total islands 20
Major islands
Area 11.5 km2 (4.4 sq mi)
Highest elevation 15 m (49 ft)
Group Outer Islands
Sub-Group Amirante Islands
Districts Outer Islands District
Largest settlement
Île Desroches
(population 40)
Demonym Creole
Population 300 (2014)
Pop. density 26 /km2 (67 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Creole, French, East Africans, Indians.
Additional information
Time zone
Official website
ISO Code = SC-26

The Amirante Islands (Les Amirantes), a group of coral islands and atolls, belong to the Outer Islands of the Seychelles.

They stretch about 155 km from the African Banks (African Islands) in the north to Desnœufs (Isle des Noeufs) in the south, all on the shallow Amirantes Bank (Amirantes Plateau, with depths of mostly 25 to 70 m), except the main island Île Desroches in the east, and submerged Lady Denison-Pender Shoal at the northern end. 90 km south of the Amirante Islands is Alphonse Group, the closest group of islands, which are sometimes incorrectly considered part of the Amirantes.


The Amirantes were discovered by Vasco da Gama on his second voyage of exploration in 1502, and named "Ilhas do Almirante" (Admiral Islands). Previous knowledge of the islands by Arab and Indian traders is possible. Along with the Seychelles, the islands were first claimed by France in 1742. Formal possession was asserted in 1756. By the Treaty of Paris (1814), the islands were passed officially to the British, as a part of Mauritius. In 1909, the Seychelles became a separate colony, thereby including the Amirantes. On November 8, 1965, the United Kingdom split Île Desroches from the Seychelles to become part of the newly created British Indian Ocean Territory. The purpose was to allow the construction of a military base for the mutual benefit of the United Kingdom and the United States. On June 23, 1976, Île Desroches was returned to the Seychelles as a result of it attaining independence.

The total land area is 11.5 km2. The total population is 300. The biggest concentrations are the Prison 2 km from Marie Louise village and the Collins group construction camp which is 2 km from the capital village of Desroches village (which had a population of 35 in the last census).


There are eight single islands (five low sand cays and three uplifted sand cays), plus three atolls with a total of 18 islets (St. Joseph Atoll with 14, Desroches with 1, Poivre Atoll with 3). In addition to these 11 units, the following table also has entries for a reef and a shoal without islets, for the sake of completeness. The five largest ones in area are inhabited. The different island types are marked by different background colours in the table.

(alternate name)
type Area
1 Lady Denison-Pender submerged shoal - - 04°49′S 53°20′E / 4.817°S 53.333°E / -4.817; 53.333 (Lady Denison-Pender Shoal)
2 African Banks (African Islands) sand cay 0.04 - 04°53′S 53°24′E / 4.883°S 53.400°E / -4.883; 53.400 (African Banks)
3 Remire Reef drying reef - - 05°05′S 53°21′E / 5.083°S 53.350°E / -5.083; 53.350 (Remire Reef)
4 Remire (Eagle) uplifted sand cay 0.27 6 05°07′S 53°19′E / 5.117°S 53.317°E / -5.117; 53.317 (Remire Island)
5 D'Arros sand cay 1.71 42 05°24.5′S 53°18′E / 5.4083°S 53.300°E / -5.4083; 53.300 (D'Arros Island)
6 St. Joseph atoll 1.63 0 05°25′S 53°20′E / 5.417°S 53.333°E / -5.417; 53.333 (Saint Joseph Atoll)
7 Bertaut sand cay 0.002 - 05°39′06″S 53°14′18″E / 5.65167°S 53.23833°E / -5.65167; 53.23833 (Bertaut Reef)
8 Desroches atoll 4.02 100 05°41′S 53°41′E / 5.683°S 53.683°E / -5.683; 53.683 (Île Desroches)
9 Poivre atoll 2.78 10 05°46′S 53°19′E / 5.767°S 53.317°E / -5.767; 53.317 (Poivre Islands)
10 Étoile (Lampériaire) sand cay 0.05 - 05°53′S 53°01′E / 5.883°S 53.017°E / -5.883; 53.017 (Étoile Cay)
11 Boudeuse (King Ross) sand cay 0.03 - 06°05′31″S 52°49′50″E / 6.09194°S 52.83056°E / -6.09194; 52.83056 (Boudeuse Cay)
12 Marie Louise uplifted sand cay 0.556 150 06°11′S 53°08′E / 6.183°S 53.133°E / -6.183; 53.133 (Marie Louise Island)
13 Desnœufs (Île des Noeufs) uplifted sand cay 0.45 - 06°14′S 53°03′E / 6.233°S 53.050°E / -6.233; 53.050 (Île Desnœufs)
  Amirante Islands island chain 11.5 300 04°49' to 06°14'S,
52°50° to 53°41'E

Alphonse Group[edit]

90 km south of the Amirante Islands is Alphonse Group, the closest group of islands, which are sometimes incorrectly considered part of the Amirantes chain because they appear as a southern continuation or extension of the Amirantes chain. Alphonse Group lies however clearly south of the Amirantes Bank, separated from it by deep water (generally 1000 to 2000 metres deep).

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Amirante Islands on Birdlife International