Clipperton Island

I have always found it such an anomaly that this 2.3 square mile island is just 700 miles off the coast of Mexico but 6,600 miles from Paris and that it remains French.

Clipperton Island

It seems that despite the aerial view it’s no prize, and I suspect that if Peter Thiel made them an all cash offer of a few hundred bitcoins it could be his. One problem is no drinking water and only about 12 palm trees, which makes for great cartoons but not so paradisiacal.

In 1906 there was a small boomtown on the island. The abundant bird guano was super high in nitrogen and was prized for fertilizer and gunpowder (I am charmed by the irony that fertilizer is used to promote human welfare and that gunpowder reverses that).

A lighthouse and a small town were built. About 100 people lived on the island and they were resupplied every two months. But with the 1914 the Mexican Revolution the ships stopped coming, and by 1917 only 15 people were left alive.

King Victoriano

The lighthouse or King Victoriano’s castle

The one surviving man, the lighthouse keeper, decided to give himself a better job and crowned himself king. King Victoriano. He declared independence from France, and proceeded to murder the remaining men and attempt to rape the remaining women but they said, “Humm, 14 to one — I think I think we’ll just stab your sorry ass.” And they brought his short reign to a swift conclusion.

Soon thereafter the remaining survivors were rescued by a passing U.S. Navy gunboat. Yeah, gunboats.



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