In this article, You will read the (Ultimate List of) Important Islands of the World – for UPSC IAS.
- An island or isle is any piece of subcontinental 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.
- Sedimentary islands in the Ganges delta are called chars.
- A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands, such as the Philippines, is referred to as an archipelago.
List of the Major Islands of the World
- Greenland is the world’s largest island, located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Greenland is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.
- New Guinea is the world’s second-largest island and the largest island in the Southern Hemisphere.
- New Guinea is an island to the north of the Australian mainland, south of the equator.
- Located in Melanesia in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, it is separated by the 150 km wide Torres Strait from the Australian continent.
- Borneo is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia.
- East Kalimantan is located over 1,400 km from Jakarta, on the island of Borneo.
- Mineral-rich East Kalimantan was once almost completely covered by rainforests.
- It’s known for its beaches and ancient, biodiverse rainforest, home to wildlife including orangutans and clouded leopards.
- Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa across the Mozambique Channel.
- Madagascar is the world’s second-largest island country.
- Baffin Island, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, is the largest island in Canada and the fifth-largest island in the world.
Sumatra & Java
Honshu & Hokkaido
- Sulawesi, an Indonesian island east of Borneo, comprises several long peninsulas radiating from a mountainous center.
- It’s known for coral reefs and dive sites such as Bunaken National Park, the Togian Islands, and Wakatobi National Park.
- Sulawesi is island is one of the four Greater Sunda Islands.
- It is situated east of Borneo, west of the Maluku Islands, and south of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. The Strait of Makassar runs along the western side of the island and separates the island from Borneo.
- Within Indonesia, it is smaller than Sumatra and larger than Java Island.
- Sulawesi Cave Paintings
- Archaeologists have discovered the world’s oldest known cave art which is a life-sized picture of a wild pig that was painted at least 45,500 years ago in Indonesia.
- The South Island of New Zealand is renowned for its mountains, lakes, and glaciers.
- The Southern Alps, home to 3,724m-high Aoraki Mt. Cook, run along the entire length of the island. In the southwest is Fiordland National Park, with steep-sided Milford Sound.
- In the north is Abel Tasman National Park, known for its trails and ocean kayaking. Queenstown is famed for adventure sports like bungee jumping and skiing
- The North Island of New Zealand is known for its volcanic activity, national parks and cosmopolitan cities.
- Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos.
- Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet.
- The country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
- Tasmania is an island state of Australia. It is located 240 km to the south of the Australian mainland, separated by the Bass Strait.
- Stewart Island / Rakiura, commonly known as Stewart Island, is New Zealand’s third-largest island, located 30 kilometers south of the South Island, across the Foveaux Strait.
Tierra del Fuego
- Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago at South America’s southernmost tip, shared by Chile and Argentina.
- In shape, the main island, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan, is a triangle with its base on Beagle Channel.
Disputed islands in south china sea
The Paracel Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The Spratly Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Philippines.
The Scarborough Shoal is claimed by Philippines, China and Taiwan.
Disputed islands in east china sea
Senkaku Islands or Diaoyu Islands
- Japan and China claim the uninhabited islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Tiaoyu in China, as their own, but Japan has administered them since 1972.
- The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands were formally claimed by Japan in 1895. After Japan’s defeat in World War II, the island chain was controlled by the US until 1971 before its return. Since then, Japan has administered the island chains.
- China began to reassert claims over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the 1970s, citing historic rights to the area. However, Japan does not recognize Chinese claims.
- More recently, there has been a flare-up in the region. The Japanese government had protested to China regarding a set of names recently assigned by Beijing to seabed zones in the East China Sea, including the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
Disputed islands between Russia and Japan
Kuril Islands dispute
- The Kuril Islands dispute, known in Japan as the Northern Territories dispute, is a territorial dispute between Japan and the Russian Federation over the ownership of the four southernmost Kuril Islands.
- The Kuril Islands are a chain of islands that stretch between the Japanese island of Hokkaido at their southern end and the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula at their northern end. The islands separate the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean.
- The four disputed islands, like other islands in the Kuril chain that are not in dispute, were annexed by the Soviet Union following the Kuril Islands landing operation at the end of World War II.
- The disputed islands are under Russian administration as the South Kuril District of the Sakhalin Oblast. They are claimed by Japan, which refers to them as its Northern Territories or Southern Chishima, and considers them part of the Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture.
- The islands in dispute are:
- Habomai Islands