Amirante Islands

The Amirante Islands (Les Amirantes) are a group of coral islands and atolls that belong to the Outer Islands of the Seychelles.

Amirante Islands
Nickname: Ilhas do Almirante
Satellite Image Map, with neighbouring Alphonse Group in the lower left
Amirante Islands is located in Seychelles
Amirante Islands
Amirante Islands
Location of Amirante Islands in Seychelles
LocationIndian Ocean
Coordinates04°49′S 53°40′E / 4.817°S 53.667°E / -4.817; 53.667Coordinates: 04°49′S 53°40′E / 4.817°S 53.667°E / -4.817; 53.667
Adjacent bodies of waterIndian Ocean
Total islands20
Major islands
Area11.5 km2 (4.4 sq mi)
Highest elevation15 m (49 ft)
GroupOuter Islands
Sub-GroupAmirante Islands
DistrictsOuter Islands District
Largest settlementÎle Desroches (pop. 40)
Population300 (2014)
Pop. density26/km2 (67/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsCreole, French, East Africans, Indians.
Additional information
Time zone
ISO codeSC-26

They stretch about 155 km from the African Banks (African Islands) in the north to Desnœufs (Isle des Noeufs) in the south, all on the shallow Amirantes Bank (Amirantes Plateau, with depths of mostly 25 to 70 m), except the main island Île Desroches in the east, and submerged Lady Denison-Pender Shoal at the northern end. 90 km south of the Amirante Islands is Alphonse Group, the closest group of islands, which are sometimes considered part of the Amirantes.


The Amirantes were discovered by Vasco da Gama on his second voyage of exploration in 1503, and later named "Ilhas do Almirante" (Admiral Islands). Previous knowledge of the islands by Arab and Indian traders is possible. The islands were claimed by Sieur Michel Blin for France in 1802. By the Treaty of Paris (1814), the islands were passed officially to the British, as a part of Mauritius. In 1909, the Seychelles became a separate colony, thereby including the Amirantes. On November 8, 1965, the United Kingdom split Île Desroches from the Seychelles to become part of the newly created British Indian Ocean Territory. The purpose was to allow the construction of a military base for the mutual benefit of the United Kingdom and the United States. On June 23, 1976, Île Desroches was returned to the Seychelles as a result of it attaining independence.

The total land area is 11.5 km2. The total population is 300. The biggest concentrations are the Prison 2 km from Marie Louise village and the Collins group construction camp which is 2 km from the capital village of Desroches village (which had a population of 35 in the last census).


There are eight single islands (five low sand cays and three uplifted sand cays), plus three atolls with a total of 18 islets (St. Joseph Atoll with 14, Desroches with 1, Poivre Atoll with 3). In addition to these 11 units, the following table also has entries for a reef and a shoal without islets, for the sake of completeness. The five largest ones in area are inhabited. The different island types are marked by different background colours in the table.

(alternate name)
type Area
1 Lady Denison-Pender submerged shoal - - 04°49′S 53°20′E / 4.817°S 53.333°E / -4.817; 53.333 (Lady Denison-Pender Shoal)
2 African Banks (African Islands) sand cay 0.04 - 04°53′S 53°24′E / 4.883°S 53.400°E / -4.883; 53.400 (African Banks)
3 Remire Reef drying reef - - 05°05′S 53°21′E / 5.083°S 53.350°E / -5.083; 53.350 (Remire Reef)
4 Remire (Eagle) uplifted sand cay 0.27 6 05°07′S 53°19′E / 5.117°S 53.317°E / -5.117; 53.317 (Remire Island)
5 D'Arros sand cay 1.71 42 05°24.5′S 53°18′E / 5.4083°S 53.300°E / -5.4083; 53.300 (D'Arros Island)
6 St. Joseph atoll 1.63 0 05°25′S 53°20′E / 5.417°S 53.333°E / -5.417; 53.333 (Saint Joseph Atoll)
7 Bertaut sand cay 0.002 - 05°39′06″S 53°14′18″E / 5.65167°S 53.23833°E / -5.65167; 53.23833 (Bertaut Reef)
8 Desroches atoll 4.02 100 05°41′S 53°41′E / 5.683°S 53.683°E / -5.683; 53.683 (Île Desroches)
9 Poivre atoll 2.78 10 05°46′S 53°19′E / 5.767°S 53.317°E / -5.767; 53.317 (Poivre Islands)
10 Étoile sand cay 0.05 - 05°53′S 53°01′E / 5.883°S 53.017°E / -5.883; 53.017 (Étoile Cay)
11 Boudeuse sand cay 0.03 - 06°05′31″S 52°49′50″E / 6.09194°S 52.83056°E / -6.09194; 52.83056 (Boudeuse Cay)
12 Marie Louise uplifted sand cay 0.556 150 06°11′S 53°08′E / 6.183°S 53.133°E / -6.183; 53.133 (Marie Louise Island)
13 Desnœufs (Île des Noeufs) uplifted sand cay 0.45 - 06°14′S 53°03′E / 6.233°S 53.050°E / -6.233; 53.050 (Île Desnœufs)
  Amirante Islands island chain 11.5 300 04°49' to 06°14'S,
52°50° to 53°41'E
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML

Alphonse GroupEdit

90 km south of the Amirante Islands is Alphonse Group, the closest group of islands, which are sometimes considered part of the Amirantes chain because they are a southern continuation or extension of the Amirantes chain. Alphonse Group lies south of the Amirantes Bank, separated from it by deep water (generally 1000 to 2000 metres deep).

Image galleryEdit

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

Amirante Islands on Birdlife International