Quita Sueño Bank

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Landsat image of Quita Sueño Bank

Quita Sueño Bank (claimed as Quitasueño) is a reef formation of Colombia which was once claimed by the United States, located 110 km North-northeast of Providencia Island.


In 1869, James Jennett claimed the bank for the United States under the Guano Islands Act of 1856. In 1972 a treaty was signed (ratified in 1981) between the United States and Colombia which abandoned the U.S. claims to the reef. Unlike some islands included in the treaty which were ceded to Colombia, Quita Sueño Bank was regarded by the United States as having no emergent land and thus ineligible for the basis of a sovereignty claim. Rather than being ceded to any particular nation, the claim was simply abandoned with American fishing rights retained.[1] Colombia, which had also made previous claims on the reef, considers the bank to be a part of its San Andres and Providencia Department.

In the northern part of the eastern reef is Quita Sueño Light.[2] The location is named Cayo Quitasueño on the official nautical chart at 14°28′57.2298″N 81°7′39.7632″W / 14.482563833°N 81.127712000°W / 14.482563833; -81.127712000, but no emergent land is indicated around the lighthouse.[3] The light is erected on top of a square platform.[4] This lighthouse has originally been established by the United States in 1919. The current structure is from 1977. It is now called Faro Quitasueño Norte since in 2008, a second lighthouse Faro Quitasueño Sur was establishen in the southern part of the reef at 14°09′17″N 81°9′40″W / 14.15472°N 81.16111°W / 14.15472; -81.16111.[5]

Nicaragua also had a claim to the bank. On November 19, 2012 the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled the bank is a part of Colombia.[6] The ICJ found that only one of the 54 features identified by Nicaragua in Quitasueño is an island at high tide and thus eligible for a sovereignty claim.[7][8]

See also[edit]


Coordinates: 14°19′N 81°10′W / 14.317°N 81.167°W / 14.317; -81.167