Matthew and Hunter Islands

Matthew And Hunter Islands

Disputed Islands
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Matthew and Hunter Islands

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The Matthew and Hunter Islands are a group of two small and uninhabited volcanic islands in the South Pacific, located 300 km east of New Caledonia and south-east of Vanuatu archipelago. Hunter Island and Matthew Island, 70 km apart, are claimed both by Vanuatu (as part of Tafea province, and considered by the people of Anatom Island part of their custom ownership) and France (as part of New Caledonia).

Small, arid, without fresh water and not easily accessible, the islands had no interest for Britain or France during their colonization of the Pacific in the course of the 18th and 19th centuries. France officially annexed both islands in 1929. In 1965, the United Kingdom also claimed the two islands, as part of the New Hebrides. France conducted a symbolic occupation in 1975. In 1980, on its independence, Vanuatu claimed sovereignty, but made no occupation of the islands. In 1979, Météo-France set up an automatic weather station on one of the islands, and the French Navy regularly visits both of them.

Matthew Island

île Matthew in French, the island is 0.7 km² in area, and a 177 meter high stratovolcano located at .

Captain Thomas Gilbert of the Royal Navy on board the Charlotte discovered Matthew Island on 27 May 1788 and named it after the owner of his ship. The island is in fact two conic islets attached by a rocky 200-metre-wide isthmus. The western part is of lava and slag, with a serrated peak 177 metres high, and the eastern part is of......
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