Clipperton: Where is the island that Mexico lost to France?

Clipperton: Where is the island that Mexico lost to France?
Clipperton Island because Mexico lost it
An international arbitration panel decided who owned the island: Image: Shutterstock

This island in the Pacific Ocean belongs to Mexico, is located 1,200 kilometers from Acapulco and 900 kilometers from Socorro Island, in the Revillagigedo archipelago, only in 1931 it passed into the hands of France. in We will tell you the story of Clipperton Island and how Mexico lost it to France.

Although it is not a tourist site, it is currently more of a research site. A year ago, we reported that a group of international scientists had found a new species on the plains of the Clarion-Clipperton region in the central Pacific Ocean.

History of Clipperton Island

An article by Miguel González Avelar, also a novelist and author of Clipperton, the Mexican Island, published in Journal of the University of MexicoDetails also called Medanos Island or simply Medanos He got lost due to ridiculous situations.

It is not known with certainty who discovered the island. There are several versions, the most famous is that it was discovered by the Spaniard Alvaro Saavedra, in the sixteenth century. Therefore, after Mexico’s independence it became a national territory. However, on some cartographic maps this island is recorded as part of Mexican territory.

In the 18th century, it was “sighted” by the English navigator John Clipperton, and according to English navigation charts, the island began to be called by that name. He could not claim it for England because this navigator was a pirate. Clipperton Island was also known as Passion Island.

A century later, France entered the scene and “seized” in the name of the Emperor Clipperton Island in November 1858, through Lieutenant Victor Le Quat de Kerueguin, according to González Avelar’s ​​publication.

Years later, England and the United States also became interested in the island. Through telegrams and publications in newspapers at the time, it was indicated that England would raise its flag on Cleburne Island.

This was stated in other American newspapers, but it was added that the aforementioned act would not be acceptable, because the area “belongs to the United States.”

Due to these statements, the Mexican government published some strange things and sent individuals to investigate the island. They found employees of an American company there.

Who owns it?

This unusual interest in this Mexican atoll was explained, according to experts on the subject, because it was an area rich in guano. There was also an important element, which was its geographical location in relation to the then Panama Canal project.

Hence, the government of President Porfirio Díaz took action on the matter, sending officials to review the situation, and appointing a responsible person, a kind of governor, to look after the affairs of the island.

Captain Ramon Arno, who also speaks Spanish, English and French, was chosen to be familiar with the issues that existed with those countries.

In France things were not going well at all and they were dissatisfied with Mexico’s actions. They argued that the island was French, while the Mexican government defended this area, which incidentally appeared on cartographic maps of the time.

The winner was…

The island, also called Passion Island, has been disputed since the 19th century until both sides agreed to request an international arbitrator, in this case the King of Italy, who would determine who owned Clipperton Island.

Meanwhile, Mexico granted Pacific Island Company a permit to exploit guano. While Ramon Arno served as governor of this region. A Mexican colony was established that populated the area and a lighthouse was built.

This territorial dispute coincided with the Mexican Revolution and with King Victor Manuel III’s delay in issuing his rule.

Meanwhile, things at Clipperton were not going well at all for the islanders, who found themselves cut off from Mexican aid, first because of the conflict and then because the entrants did not want to help them.

After nearly 20 years of controversy, the King of Italy ruled on an arbitration award between the territorial dispute between Mexico and France. It decided that France had sovereignty over the island since November 17, 1858.

Ridiculous situations

Experts believe that Mexico never had to submit to international arbitration, because the territory belonged to it, in addition to the fact that the atoll was inhabited by Mexicans. Likewise, they consider that the maps of Spanish ships that reported on the island of Medanos long before the French presence were not taken into account.

Moreover, legal scholars expressed their surprise that the arbitrator’s decision was not appealed to the International Court of Justice.

This combination of ridiculous positions led to the Clipperton Territory being annulled, in Article 42, as part of Mexico, a place it occupied with other islands.

If you would like to view the decision, you can access this document reproduced by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Clipperton Island today

Currently, Clipperton remains uninhabited, article on the website BBC She notes that the atoll or island is “a white belt of coral sand that stands out against the blue of the ocean and surrounds a lagoon of emerald water.”

It is uninhabited and the species that dominate it are booby birds and crabs. It is known that it is not suitable for human inhabitation. Currently, the island and the waters are constantly developing, therefore the aquatic fauna and flora found on it are the subject of scientific research.

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