World’s Most Remote
Bouvet Island is discovered by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier on this day in 1739. Bouvet Island (Norwegian: Bouvetøya) an uninhabited sub-Antarctic volcanic island, is the most remote island in the world.
Bouvet, a dependency of Norway, lies about 1,400 miles south-southwest off the coast of South Africa and 1,100 miles north of Princess Coast, Antarctica. It is only 19 square miles, 93% of which is covered by a glacier. The center of the island is an ice-filled crater from an inactive volcano.
The island was first spotted on January 1, 1739, by (and was later named for) Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier. He recorded inaccurate coordinates and the island was not sighted again until 1808. The first Norwegian expedition landed on the island in 1927 and claimed it for Norway. After a dispute with the United Kingdom, it was declared a Norwegian dependency in 1930 and became a nature reserve in 1971.
The harsh climate and ice-bound terrain limits vegetation to fungi, lichens, mosses and liverworts. The island has been designated as an Important Bird Area by Bird Life International because of its importance as a breeding ground for seabirds. In 1978–79 there were an estimated 117,000 breeding penguins on the island. The only non-bird vertebrates on the island are seals.
Bouvet is the setting of the 2004 movie Alien vs. Predator, in which it is referred to using its Norwegian name “Bouvetøya”. Director Paul Anderson chose to set the film on the remote Antarctic island commenting, “It’s definitely the most hostile environment on Earth and probably the closest to an Alien surface you can get.”