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Atafu atoll in Tokelau

An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands is called an archipelago, such as the Philippines.

An island may be described as such, despite the presence of an artificial land bridge; examples are Singapore and its causeway, and the various Dutch delta islands, such as IJsselmonde. Some places may even retain "island" in their names for historical reasons after being connected to a larger landmass by a land bridge or landfill, such as Coney Island and Coronado Island, though these are, strictly speaking, tied islands. Conversely, when a piece of land is separated from the mainland by a man-made canal, for example the Peloponnese by the Corinth Canal or Marble Hill in northern Manhattan during the time between the building of the United States Ship Canal and the filling-in of the Harlem River which surrounded the area, it is generally not considered an island.

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A private island with a summer cottage in Finnish Lakeland, Finland
A private island is a disconnected body of land wholly owned by a single private citizen or corporation. Although this exclusivity gives the owner substantial control over the property, private islands still fall within the jurisdiction of national and sometimes local governments. Compared to property on the mainland, an island property has much more restricted access, both by potential trespassers and by the residents, who need to transport all supplies by boat or aircraft. Livestock has often been kept on islands, because an island is a natural enclosure, preventing the escape of cattle and sheep. There are many thousands of uninhabited islands in the world with potential for commercial development of tourist resorts or private recreational use. Commercial development of uninhabited islands can raise ecological concerns, as many have a fragile environment.

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