Navassa Island

Navassa ( Navassa Iceland English, French Ile de la Navasse or La Navase, kreol: Lanavaz or Lavsh ) is an uninhabited island in the Caribbean Sea. It is located about 1/ 4 of the distance from Haiti to Jamaica and heard as nichtinkorporiertes American outdoor area to the United States. The island is also claimed by Haiti, on the island base ( Hispaniola ) it lies.


Navassa is located about 50 km west of Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti and about 160 km south of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Navassa is similar to the island Henderson in the Pacific, a so-called " Upscale Atoll " represents and reaches a height of up to 77 meters above sea level. The Surrounded by a coral reef island has an area of 5.4 km ² and a coastline length of 8 km.

The island is not permanently habitable because there are no natural sources of fresh water. In addition, many native plants are poisonous and the ground is sometimes so sharp that it cuts through footwear. The only vegetation consists of groups of trees, scattered cactus and grass, grazing on the goats. Since 1999, the island is a nature reserve, there is a strict prohibition order.

The location of the island, 160 km south of the military base at Guantanamo Bay, is of strategic interest for the United States.


Already in 1504 stranded Spanish and Indian sailors who of Jamaica rowed to Hispaniola during the fourth voyage of Christopher Columbus, under the command of Diego Méndez, to get help for the in distress team, with their canoes on the island and christened it Navaza ( from the Spanish Nava = level). Originally assigned to Haiti, it was annexed in 1857, citing the Guano Islands Act of the United States, making it the oldest overseas territory of the country. But there was no guano on the island, the white phosphorite was confused with the bird droppings. After phosphorite also found use as a fertilizer, he was intensively mined from 1865 to 1889.

In 1917, Navassa was taken over by the United States Coast Guard and a lighthouse in the south of the island erected since since the opening of the Panama Canal many more ships passed through the island. In 1996, the lighthouse was abandoned due to advances in navigation technology and provided the island with the surrounding sea area under protection.

Since 1999, the island, including the waters within 12 miles radius is managed as a National Wildlife Refuge by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under the name of Navassa National Wildlife Refuge., A prehistoric palm, or two already believed to be extinct endemic species of lizards: on several expeditions to the island several new species, inter alia, also the last occurring in natural habitats copy of the pseudo Phoenix sargentii saonae ( navassana subspecies ) have since been discovered.

" Principality Navaza "

The island is now also claimed by the Italians and former honorary consul of Somalia, Ezio Scaglione. He called there on 12 October 2005, the internationally unrecognized micronation of the Principality Navaza ( Principality of Navaza ) from, possibly to escape as head of state with diplomatic immunity of prosecution. Scaglione is accused of having his office used to have dumped in collaboration with some northern Italian industrialist and former Somali President Ali Mahdi Muhammad toxic waste off the Somali coast and is involved in the arms trade between Iraq, Ireland, Beirut and Somalia. The film Toxic Somalia ( broadcast by Arte ) partially addresses this case.