Isla de Isabel II

The Island of Isabel II (Spanish: Isla de Isabel II) is the central island of the Chafarinas Islands archipelago, in the Mediterranean Sea. The island belongs to Spain. It is located only 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) away from the North-African shore, in front of the Moroccan town of Ras Kebdana. Its area is 0.153 km2 (15.3 ha), and there is a military base and a church.

Island of Isabel II
Isla de Isabel II desde el cabo de Agua.jpg
The island as seen from the Moroccan coast.
LocationAlborán Sea
Coordinates35°10′55″N 2°25′46″W / 35.18194°N 2.42944°W / 35.18194; -2.42944Coordinates: 35°10′55″N 2°25′46″W / 35.18194°N 2.42944°W / 35.18194; -2.42944
ArchipelagoChafarinas Islands
Area0.153 km2 (0.059 sq mi)
Highest elevation35 m (115 ft)


The name of the island comes from Isabella II,[1] queen of Spain from 1833 to 1868.


Displaying a rounded shape,[2] it has a total area of 0.153 square kilometres (0.059 sq mi).[3] Substantially flatter than the Isla del Congreso, it reaches a maximum height of 35 metres above sea level.[2]


The church and other buildings as depicted in La Ilustración Española y Americana in 1893.

Archeological remains found in the island suggest the existence of an outpost intended for sheltering ships by the 1st century BC, a time when the North-African coastline thrived during the reign of Juba II.[4]

Along the other two islands of the archipelago (Isla del Rey and Isla del Congreso), it was occupied in 1848 by Spain, that alleged terra nullius,[5] anticipating French intentions to do the same from Algeria.[6] General Francisco Serrano took possession of the islands bringing two ships from Málaga.[7]

The works of conditioning of the island of Isabel II suffered a major setback after the passing of a strong storm in March 1849.[8] Then the question on whether if the stay in the archipelago was worth it or not arose.[9]

Between 1910 and 1915 the island was connected through a dike with the Isla del Rey.[10]

Electric lighting was installed in the island in 1922.[11]


The island is the only inhabited island of the archipelago. It currently hosts a military garrison with personnel from the Ministry of Environment of Spain, as the islands are a National Reserve protected because of the wealth of their natural species.


  1. ^ Alamán, Lucas (1853). Diccionario universal de historia y de geografía. Librería de Andrade. p. 166.
  2. ^ a b Pineda & Barrera 2013, p. 10.
  3. ^ Calderon, Cruz & Ruggeri 2018, p. 85.
  4. ^ Aragón Gómez 2013, p. 141.
  5. ^ Jiménez García-Carriazo 2018, p. 216.
  6. ^ Madariaga 2012.
  7. ^ Cal, Juan Carlos de la; Ruiz, Sara (14 July 2002). "Las otras "perejiles"". El Mundo.
  8. ^ Esquembri Hinojo 2013a, pp. 194–195.
  9. ^ Esquembri Hinojo 2013a, p. 196.
  10. ^ Escámez Pastrana 1989, p. 47.
  11. ^ Esquembri Hinojo 2013b, p. 22.