The Island That Wasn’t There


While looking up information on the Fortunate Isles for a previous post, I came across the Wikipedia page on phantom islands, which is pretty interesting. Some of these islands turned out to actually be parts of other lands, or something that looked like land but wasn’t. Some might have existed at one point, but were later destroyed. Some, however, were just plain made up. One of the latter is Crocker Land, a non-existent island near the North Pole that Robert Peary seems to have named to curry favor with San Francisco banker George Crocker.

Personally, I prefer Betty Crocker Land. Much tastier. Another famous legendary island is Antillia, which shows up in Iberian Christian mythology. Legend has it that, during the invasion of Hispania by the Moops…er, Moors, seven bishops fled the area in ships, eventually settling on the island of Antillia. There, they each founded a city, hence the place sometimes being called the Isle of Seven Cities. According to fifteenth-century cartographer Grazioso Benincasa, these cities are called Aira, Antuab, Ansalli, Ansesseli, Ansodi, Ansolli and Con. I can only assume the bishop who founded that last one was jeered for breaking the pattern. It was said that the bishops burned the boats so that none of the settlers could return, and that it was now impossible to reach. Or maybe people did reach it, but they all liked it so much they didn’t want to go back home. Before the Atlantic Ocean had been thoroughly explored, Antillia frequently appeared on maps, usually drawn to be quite large and almost perfectly rectangular, and located due west of Portugal.

Just to the north was Satanazes, the Isle of Devils, a hellish place inhabited by demons. And to the west was the smaller Royllo, or Ymana.

It doesn’t look like there’s much information available on these other two islands, but they were commonly depicted as a group. Antillia provided the name for the Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. I’m not sure if there’s any connection to Wedge Antilles from Star Wars, but I have read that there are two unrelated Antilles families in the series. I know there are plenty of unrelated families with the same name in real life, but that’s a lot less common in fiction. I guess they ARE from totally different planets, though.

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1 Response to The Island That Wasn’t There

  1. Pingback: Working Undercover for the Fans | VoVatia

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