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Redonda from the south
Redonda from the south
Waters Caribbean Sea
Archipelago Leeward Islands
Geographical location 16 ° 56 '18 "  N , 62 ° 20' 43"  W Coordinates: 16 ° 56 '18 "  N , 62 ° 20' 43"  W.
Redonda (Antigua and Barbuda)
length 1.36 km
width 530 m
surface 56 ha
Highest elevation King Juan's Peak
296  m
Residents uninhabited

Redonda , not to be confused with the small rocky island of Little Redonda near Montserrat , is an uninhabited island in the Caribbean Sea , which mainly consists of an extinct volcano jutting out of the sea . It is roughly halfway between Montserrat in the southeast and Nevis in the northwest. Politically, the island belongs to Antigua and Barbuda and is located about 54 kilometers west-southwest of the main island Antigua , from where it can also be seen.


The island has an area of ​​almost 60 hectares (1.6 × 0.5 km) and protrudes steeply from the water; the highest point, King Juan's Peak , is 296 meters above sea level. It has only a larger flat area at the south end, about 4000 m² in size and 230 m above sea level, as well as a small stretch of beach. The beach can be reached by boat, the plateau of the island by helicopter.


The whole island with the surrounding marine area is described by BirdLife International as an important area for birds, as Redonda Important Bird Area  (AG001), an area of ​​720 hectares. The island meets the criteria B4ii (major distribution area): Native are here particularly about 500  Magnificent Frigatebird (Magnificent Frigatebird, Fregata magnificens ), and brood over 150  masked boobies (Masked Booby, Sula dactylatra ) and 300 per  red-footed boobies (Red-footed Booby, Sula sula ) and white-bellied booby (Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster ). The island is also part of the Lesser Antilles Endemic Bird Area ( Lesser Antilles ). A national protection status is pending.

There are also six reptile species, three of which are endemic are: Ameiva atrata (Jungle-runner, a teiidae ), Anolis nubilus (a iguania ) and a possible new subspecies of sphaerodactylus ( Sphaerodactylus sp ). The endangered green green turtle ( Chelonia mydas ) and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) have also been spotted here .



Christopher Columbus discovered Redonda on November 14, 1493 on his second voyage to America, took possession of it for the Spanish crown and gave it the name Santa Maria Redonda , probably after the Pantheon in Rome, the church of Santa Maria Rotunda , Maria is about under this title also venerated in the church of Santa María de la Redonda in Logroño . Columbus did not set foot on the island, but only anchored there on the journey from Guadeloupe to Saint Croix .

British mining colony

The British took possession of the island in the 1860s .

In the following decades, the island's phosphate deposits ( guano ) were exploited (up to 7,000 tons per year). This is the only time when Redonda was inhabited (population 1901: 120).

During the First World War , mining came to a standstill and workers left Redonda, which has remained uninhabited since then. The dilapidated buildings still stand on the island today.

Kingdom of Redonda

Flag of the "Kingdom of Redonda"

The writer and author of Fantastic M. P. Shiel was the first to tell the story of the Kingdom of Redonda. According to this, his father Matthew Dowdy Shiell landed on Redonda in 1865 and claimed the uninhabited island for himself. When his son had his 15th birthday on July 20, 1880, Father Shiell returned to Redonda with a company of friends, including the Bishop of Antigua, and had his son proclaimed King of the island as Filipe I. As expected, Shiell's claim was not recognized by the British government and Shiell led a 15-year dispute to enforce it.

His son did nothing in this direction, but used his "royal dignity" to provide his friends and acquaintances with titles and dignities. The publisher Victor Gollancz was Grand Duke of Redonda, Alfred A. Knopf, Ellery Queen and Dylan Thomas became dukes. After Shiel's death, his friend and administrator John Gawsworth succeeded Juan I as king. This established a "literary dynasty" that extends to Javier Marías . The main duty of each king is to take care of the dissemination of the work of M. P. Shiel. The succession to the throne is controversial after Gawsworth's death in 1967, so there are currently at least four rival pretenders for the throne.


  • Nick Middleton: An Atlas of Countries That Don't Exist. Macmillan, London 2015, ISBN 978-1-4472-9527-3 , Redonda section .

Web links

Commons : Redonda  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b BirdLife International: Important Bird Areas factsheet: Redonda , accessed February 23, 2014.
  2. B4ii continental criterion corresponds to A4ii globally, which means that more than 1% of a population of at least one animal species threatened in the continental bioregion is native here, or 5% stay here seasonally.
  3. Inventory 2007, third 2001; Bird Areas factsheet
  4. a b Bird Areas factsheet , section Other biodiversity
  5. Linda B. Hall: Mary, Mother and Warrior: The Virgin in Spain and the Americas . University of Texas Press, 2009, pp. 978-02927792425-3 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  6. ^ A b Charlesworth Ross: The First West Indian Novelist. In: Caribbean Quarterly. Vol. 14, No. 4 (December 1968), pp. 56-60, JSTOR 40653474 .
  7. Derived from his second first name Phipps.