Divided Islands

The Divided Islands: New Guinea

This series of articles focuses on a territorial quirk I find very interesting because cases are more numerous than I first thought and because it is the source of disparities; I will write about those islands that are split into several countries (mostly two, sometimes more). Of course, some cases are more famous than others. You might have thought of Cyprus and Ireland. I will attempt to write about as many as possible, so come back every week to read about a new place.

The two halves of New Guinea are faced with two very different situations. The Eastern part is ethnically homogeneous but is struggling with political instability due to corruption, separatist movements, and weak infrastructures. The Western part is still being affected by colonialism as Indonesia tries to control the local inhabitants by mixing them with other ethnicities coming from other parts of the country, which has pushed the Papuans to demand self-determination.

The island of New Guinea is split into two almost equal halves by the 141st Meridian east which acts as the border between Indonesia to the West and Papua New Guinea to the East. Continue reading

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Countries, Territories in the Pacific

Kiribati: keeping a population afloat

After having explored the cases of Nauru and Tuvalu, that of Kiribati must be looked into as it showcases the dedication of a government to counteract the effects of global warming. Kiribati is one of the poorest countries in the world. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, at least five days by boat away from other land, this nation’s survival is threatened by the rising sea level, a phenomenon the local government is dedicated to stall with the help of other stricken Small Islands States such as Tuvalu, Seychelles and the Maldives. 

Kiribati (pronounced Kee-ree-bus) is made out of 33 atolls and coral reefs, and is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, at least five days by boat away from any other land. The islands are divided into 3 island groups, Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands and Line Islands. They are located in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere as well as on both ends of the International Date Line. The local population is estimated at 110,000 people.Kiribati

The country is one of the least developed – and least visited – in the world; a visit outside South Tarawa is like stepping back in time. Men fish and tend to the coconut trees. Women plant vegetables and braid pandanus leaves into thatches. Only a minority is involved in the monetary economy. It is a simple life that lately has become harder.”

The threat

Every year, the seas are believed to rise by 3mm. Although the number sounds small, such an increase threatens many places around the world like Kiribati whose shores rise at around 2m above sea level. The nation is therefore weak in the face of tides, and especially king tides which have become more frequent (more than 3 times a year as opposed to once every 4 years 20 years ago) due to climate change. This kind of tide destroys the shores of the island more and more everytime, wiping out homes and arable land, leaving only sandy beaches behind. Due to the lack of depth of the islands, it is difficult for the inhabitants to stay away from the shores and so they remain threatened by high waves. Floods also cause the diminution of the sources of drinkable water.

In addition, sea bleaching, or coral bleaching, a phenomenon whereby water temperature rises and water becomes more acid, killing the marine wildlife has affected the Phoenix islands, killing corals and fish. It is only because the archipelago has been protected throughout the years from human activities that the ecosystem is slowly able to rebuild itself.

Finally, Cyclone Pam which destroyed Vanuatu and hit Tuvalu also had repercussions for Kiribati and the most southern islands of the archipelago were hit by strong waves. Kiribati is usually not affected by cyclones due to its location by the equator.

As the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong said:

I think what many people do not understand is they think climate change is something that is happening in the future. Well, we’re at the very bottom end of the spectrum. It’s already with us.

All in all, Kiribati is in a dire situation where its existence is in jeopardy. If the weather conditions continue the way they are now, the entire population will most probably have to relocate. This, however, raises concern amongst the i-Kiribati (the inhabitants of Kiribati) as they are traditionally very attached to their land, and the international level as there is no precedent to base action on.

Saving Kiribati

Several i-Kiribati already left their homeland in the 60s to migrate to Fiji. Movements of population are also occurring inland or to other islands, especially to Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati where unemployment is extremely high.

Another wave of migration has taken place in more recent years, notably to New Zealand and Australia, where the newcomers were granted temporary visas. But because the is no provision for climate refugees in international law, as the term of ‘refugee‘ refers to ” someone who, there are reasonable grounds to believe, will be persecuted due to their race, religion, nationality, political affiliation or membership of a certain social group”, the visas were never renewed.

Although the possibility to migrate is an evident one, the government wishes to look at it as the last recourse. Preserving the islands must be the priority for all, in an effort to preserve a country, an identity as well as to not give up in the face of climate change. The government of Kiribati is doing everything in its power to finds alternatives to the disappearance of this Pacific nation. The emphasis is put on “migration with dignity” which gives the opportunity for some to access training in neighbouring countries such as New Zealand and Fiji, thus giving them a chance to find a better alternative to their limited lives in Kiribati. And although this causes the risk of brain drain, it is seen positively as it could lift off pressure on the seldom local resources while remittance could be a source of revenues for the population of the islands.

In 2014, the government also purchased a 20 sq km piece of land on an island of Fiji, Vanua Levu. This land now serves to ensure Kiribati’s food security by being used to for agricultural and fish-farming projects. The possibility to displace i-Kiribati there is, however, not excluded if the conditions and life on the atolls were to become impossible. The government is also looking into constructing floating islands for its population.

The Phoenix Islands have also been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list, making them the largest designated Marine Protected Area in the world, in an effort to conserve the pristine environement of the islands.

The road ahead

Everything that is currently being done by Kiribati is to address the issue of climate change from all angles by advocating for the survival of the nation on the international scene by notably teaming up with their neighbouring islands which are faced with the same problems, but also by finding innovative and long term solution for the populations. In light of the migration crisis currently taking place in Europe, Anote Tong, the President of Kiribati, continues to seek better alternatives to humanitarian relief and forced migration.

COP21 offered a platform for the President of Kiribati to put his fight forward. He declared before the meeting that

Until we can think of [climate change] as a global phenomenon, because we create it, individually, as nations, but it affects everybody else, and yet, we refuse to do anything about it, and we deal with it as a national problem, which it is not — it is a global issue, and it’s got to be dealt with collectively.

Climate change is a global problem. What can be preserved should be kept intact. Development should be practiced responsibly. Kiribati, and many other islands, pollute very little but yet are the ones which are the most affected by human development and economic growth. They should not be the only ones who advocate for a change.

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Territories in the Pacific

Tuvalu: Countdown to drowning  

Tuvalu is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. It is one of the worst case illustrating the damaging effects of climate change. COP21 and other strategies are the country’s only ways to pressure the international community to strike a deal which would effectively slow down the climate deregulation process, thus buying more time to the islands before they are covered by the seas. 

Tuvalu is made of nine tiny islands (five of which are coral atolls), located in the South Pacific somewhere halfway between Hawaii and Australia. The country spreads over a total of 26 square kilometers of land. It is also, with a little over 10,000 inhabitants, the third-least populous sovereign state in the world, after the Vatican City and Nauru.

Map of Tuvalu

Map of Tuvalu

The islands were not inhabited until the 14th century, when Samoans, Tongans and settlers from other Polynesian islands migrated there. The territories were discovered by the Spanish in the 16th century. The island of Funafuti, where the current capital is, was then visited by the Brits who gave it the name of Ellice Island, after the name of the ship they were embarked on. The name was then extended to the archipelago. Between 1850 and 1875, many Tuvaluans were kidnapped for forced labour on plantations in Fiji and Queensland. Combined with the introduction of European diseases, the population of Tuvalu dropped from 20,000 to 3,000.  In 1892, Ellice Islands were merged with the Gilbert Islands as a British protectorate, a situation which lasted until 1975. The name of Tuvalu, meaning “eight standing together” replaced that of Ellice Islands. Three years later, the territory obtained its independence. (For more details about the history of Tuvalu, click here)

Irreversible climate change

Tuvalu’s doomed situation is what has been bringing this country to the headlines: it is so far one of the places in the world which has been the most affected by climate change. The archipelago is, on average, at 2 meters above sea level, with the culminating point at 4,6 meters. With the global rise of the seas, Tuvalu is bound to eventually drown. The emergency of the situation has been raised already in 1989 when the UN listed “Tuvalu as one of a number of island groups most likely to disappear beneath the sea in the 21st century because of global warming”.

Global warming has been affecting Tuvalu in many different ways. Among others, the rising of the seas threatens human activities. The coral reefs which surround most atolls are being damaged, which jeopardizes the fish stock, Tuvalu’s only national resource and crucial for feeding the population. The sea is also “invading underground fresh water supplies, which has consequences for farming, while drought constantly threatened to limit drinking water. Annual spring tides appear to be getting higher each year, eroding the coastline.” Global warming has also brought in more extreme weather conditions in the region – cyclones especially – as illustrated by Tropical Cyclone Pam which hit Tuvalu and Vanuatu on March 10, 2015. Among other consequences, “Cyclone Pam has redrawn the map of Tuvalu, scouring away coastlines, cutting an island in half, and making one islet disappear altogether.” Plus, “researchers projected that international migration would increase sharply by 2055 from Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru. The study found storms and “king tides” are likely to worsen. Sea levels have risen about 20 centimeters in the past century.

Tuvalu, facing Cyclone Pam

Tuvalu, facing Cyclone Pam (Photo: AFP)

When Cyclone Pam tore Tuvalu and the Vanuatu apart, the Red Cross and other humanitarian aid organizations came to the rescue of the islanders. The Italian Foreign Ministry also donate 100,000 euros to Tuvalu and 300,000 to Vanuatu for rebuilding the two countries. However, as highlighted by the Tuvaluan Prime Minister at COP21, “While [the Tuvaluans] were grateful for the assistance [they] received from the relief community, this ad hoc response to the impacts of climate change cannot continue. We need a permanent mechanism for Loss and Damage anchored in the Paris Treaty to give us the assurance that the necessary response to climate change impacts will be forthcoming.”

Seeking new land

One must understand the gravity of the situation: Tuvalu may soon disappear, swallowed by the seas. The rising of the seas and cyclones have already pushed many to flee the archipelago to find safer living conditions – it is estimated that the Tuvaluan diaspora in New Zealand already regroups 2,600 individuals. However, not every inhabitant of Tuvalu has the financial means to emigrate.

The government of Tuvalu is currently seeking solutions for its population. Fiji has recently “reaffirmed it will offer permanent refuge to citizens of Tuvalu and Kiribati should the risk of rising sea levels intensify in their islands” and New Zealand also agreed to welcome more refugees. Australia has so far not made any commitment.

COP21

The UN Climate Summit currently taking place in Paris has been the perfect platform for Tuvalu and the other endangered territories around the world to make their voices heard.

The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Honourable Enele S. Sopoaga, made the following declarations at the Leaders Events for Heads of State and Government at the Opening of the COP21 on November 30, 2015:

“Today, we stand here facing one of the greatest challenges of humankind, – climate change. We are at a critical point of history … Tuvalu’s future at current warming, is already bleak, any further temperature increase will spell the total demise of Tuvalu. No leader around        this room carries such a level of worry and responsibility … For Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and many others, setting a global temperature goal of below 1.5 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels is critical … Tuvalu is already suffering the impacts of climate change.”

(For the full address, click here)

Tuvalu Banki Moon

(Top Left) Mr. Ban met with the Prime Minister of Tuvalu – Photo: Instagram @UnitedNations

Tuvalu has been an apparent leader of the fight taken on by small countries to put pressure on the big ones to come up with solutions and sign a deal. US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon both met with Tuvaluan Prime Minister Enele Sapoaga during COP21, thus illustrating the relevance of Tuvalu when discussing climate change.

Tuvalu, like the Maldives, Philippines and many other are already facing the effects of global warming. It is no longer something which is coming, it is already here. And although COP21 wants to prove that the issue is being taken seriously by governments, what has been put on the table so far has not been ambitious enough. Even Ban Ki Moon called for a lower threshold than negotiated, explaining that “even a 2-degree rise will have serious consequences for food and water security, economic stability and international peace … The world’s Small Island Developing States have even less room to manoeuvre, and are desperately asking the world to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.” Sacrifices will need to be made, but they need to be made now before it is really too late.

Sovereignty recognition against attention

Tuvalu, like most Pacific islands, is extremely isolated and dependents almost exclusively on imports and international generosity and support. However, an interesting fact somewhat put Tuvalu, along with Vanuatu and Kiribati, back on the map in 2011 – this time, for other reasons that climate related issues.

Three years after the Russian-Georgian war of 2008 during which the pro-Russian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia seceded, the government of Tuvalu formally recognized the independence of the two newly created political entities. Their independence is not, however, recognized by the international community in the name of Georgia’s territorial integrity.

Many questions were raised following what seemed to be quite a random diplomatic act on the part of Tuvalu. What did they get out of recognizing two separatist regions located on the other side of the planet and with which they had nothing in common? Although there is no clear answer, the fact that Russia and the archipelago established diplomatic relations a few weeks after the recognition cannot be a coincidence – it seems extremely odd that Russia and Tuvalu would hold private meetings to discuss bilateral cooperation, including trade, fishing and education when the two nations had never been in contact before.

Tuvalu is also one of the few countries to recognize Taiwan today. This has, however, pushed Taiwan to say that it “wants to help Tuvalu deal with the effects of rising sea levels”.

So, what can we deduct from those two cases? It is possible to assume that, by recognizing states in search of international recognition, Tuvalu actually attracts media attention which can come in helpful to raise awareness about the archipelago’s struggles – a money-against-recognition type of deal is probably the most probable option. It may also push those who do not wish for Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Taiwan to be recognized as independent states to raise their bids and offer Tuvalu support in an effort to buy their allegiance. As an illustration,  Tuvalu finally retracted its recognition of the two secessionist regions last March when the Pacific nation agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Georgia. It seems like changing side is never a problem. This strategy has proven relatively effective, but Tuvalu’s best bet today is still on demonstrating that global warming is no longer a myth.

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Countries, History and Culture, Uncategorized

Nauru: When Development Goes Wrong  

Imagine an island lost in the middle of an Ocean where people have lived in peace and harmony with the local nature and wildlife for centuries. Then imagine the damages of colonialism and the exploitation to exhaustion of the local natural resource. Then what? Well, everything, from the local culture, wildlife, source of revenues and chance for a bright future have disappeared. This is what happened to several isolated places around the world. The most extreme case is, however, that of Nauru. This little island of 21 square kilometers located somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Australia and Hawaii, has been through it all, from peace to war, from a quiet traditional life to extreme westernization, and from wealth to poverty.

Nauru, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

Nauru, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

Discovered in 1789 by a British Captain who nicknamed it ‘Pleasant Island’, Nauru was then colonized by Germany in 1888 and taken over by Australia after World War I. The Japanese occupation during World War II dramatically reduced the local population by deporting two-thirds of them to Micronesia for force labour, or because of starvation and bombings during the war. After the conflict, Nauru became a trust territory administered by Australia. The island finally seized its independence in 1968, thus becoming the world’s smallest sovereign entity of the time.

From ‘Heaven’ to Hell

In 1900, it was discovered that Nauruans were sitting on large amounts of phosphate, a highly demanded natural resource used as fertilizer for agriculture. The exploitation of the mineral thus started. The production became more intense with the development of new means of transportation and the modernization of the industry. Australia was the main importer of the resource. The entire economy of Nauru adapted to the wealth of their soil: all traditional occupations disappeared and everyone reconverted into the production of phosphate. As the local population was not sufficient, foreigners arrived on the island, mainly from neighboring islands but also from Asia. At the end of the 1990s, it was estimated that “out of a total population of 12,000, some 4,000 are foreigners. Australians serve as managers, doctors and engineers, Chinese run the restaurants and shops, while other Pacific islanders do the dirty work in the mines.”

Phosphate made Nauru extremely rich: in the 1970s, the island even became the second largest country in the world, with three times the GDP of the United States. The island quickly developed, and the newly founded sovereign state took it upon itself to offer the best services to its population, possible thanks to the revenues generated by the mining. With the feeling that the wrongs of the past had been corrected, namely that the local resources were finally in the hands of the local population after decades of foreign rule, the Nauruans were now able to consume to their liking, and did not need to work to enjoy a high quality of life. The government could indeed provide free health care and education to everyone without imposing taxes.

This situation lasted as long as there was phosphate left: being a finite resource, phosphate eventually ran out. The ‘resource curse‘ had stricken.

A Series of Poor choices

Nobody was oblivious: it was clear from the very beginning that the phosphate would not last forever. A series of measures to continue benefiting from the revenues of the mineral were put in place such as a diversity of investments abroad. Most of them, contracted by the Australian authorities and the Nauruans government both seemed to have met misfortune, thus shrinking the long term revenues for the island. In addition, eager to enjoy their wealth, the Nauruan governments made some poor choices which cost them later on: the creation of a local airline, Air Nauru, was clearly not adapted to the needs and size of the island with its 7 planes even though the local population was around 10,000 inhabitants. When the revenues came to lack, Nauru was no longer able to pay for all the services it had previously offered, and accumulated large amounts of debt it tried to cover by asking for loans from the Asian Central Bank, but also by trying to become an offshore banking center, and tax haven for the Russian mafia, without success as the G7 quickly put an end to it. Nauru even sued Australia in 1989 in front of the International Court of Justice asking for repair for the destruction of one third of the island during the colonial era. Australia settled the suit for about $75 million. The fall of the price of phosphate in the 90s only worsened the situation, until it ran out in the early 2000.

The story of Nauru’s descent from prosperity to penury is one of the most cautionary tales of modern development

Dramatic Consequences

Beyond the impact on the local economy, the exploitation of phosphate irreversibly affected numerous aspects of Nauru’s life. First, the local population seems to have forgotten how to do anything with is not linked to mining; fishing has long been forgotten and replaced by imported processed food and the excavation of the phosphate has destroyed all possible arable land. As a result, the island entirely depends on imports for its food and the population presents high levels of obesity and diabetes and high blood pressure, and the life expectancy has dramatically dropped to 50 for men and 55 for women. It is estimated that 95% of the population is overweight.

Nauru

Nauru from the sky – Photo: Radio Australia

The consequences for the local climate are also worth mentioning: the deforestation on 90% of the islands have induced a continuous drought and is struck by heat waves. In addition, the local population lives on the coast, which is only 10 meters above the sea level, making them very vulnerable in the face of climate change and the rising of the oceans. For that reason, Nauru has joined 44 other small countries like Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu in the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) who fight together to ensure the survival of their threatened nations. The Maldives are on the forefront of the battle, hoping to put pressure on the big countries to halt the already ongoing global warming process which is already harming many in small islands around the globe.

Today, “seen from the air, Nauru resembles an enormous moth-eaten fedora: a ghastly grey mound of rock surrounded by a narrow green brim of vegetation.”

All in all, Nauru has become “case study for environmentalists and anthropologists in how easy it is to destroy a tropical ecosystem and crush a native culture.”

Finding Something Else To Do

The phosphate age is over and Nauru has needed to find new sources of revenue, which it has found by working with Australia. “Under former Prime Minister John Howard, the nation introduced the now-infamous Pacific Solution, a policy of diverting asylum seekers to detention centers on nearby Pacific islands.”

As a result, Nauru has become a refugee camp for all those got caught while trying to reach Australia by the seas. Since 2001, the Nauru Regional Processing Center has been hosting around 650 refugees at a time in unsanitary barracks. “In addition to the unnecessary and excessive processing period for asylum seekers, the camp has been singled out as substandard and inhumane by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees” which corroborates with the numerous cases of violence and rape which have become public.

Although it does not come close to the revenues once generated by phosphate, supporting ‘Solution Pacific’ is what Nauru has found to get some revenues. Who knows what will happen when the UNHCR will finally act and close those camps and Australia addresses their refugee crisis…

More about Nauru

I recently finished reading a novel taking place in Nauru titled “J’ai entraîné mon peuple dans cette aventure” (I led my people in this adventure) by Aymeric Patricot. Based on the history of the island, the story shows through the eyes of the main character how he experienced the changes the island was confronted to, how the local life evolved and how the local authorities, Australian than Nauruans exploited the phosphate and led the country to its loss. Although romanticized, the book appears to give a clear image of what happened in Nauru and how the local population who were eager to have access to more led their country to their doom.

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France's Forgotten Territories, Uncategorized

France’s forgotten territories: Clipperton & Floréana

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference in Paris, in the prestigious Ecole Militaire. The topic of the conference was the French forgotten territories, those pieces of land scattered around the globe which few people know about. On this blog, I have previously talked about Mayotte and some former French colonies such as Madagascar, but I have not yet touched upon the inhabited territories that France possesses. Based on his book “tour du monde des terres françaises oubliées”, Bruno Fuligni presented the enclaves, islands, rocks, houses and memorials which continue to make France an empire on which the sun never sets. Many believe that France is now a small country, as it is only a fraction of what it used to be. This is, however, only partly true. France may have lost its African, American and Asian possessions to decolonization, but some corners of the world were spared by this process.

This week, we will explore two islands located in the Pacific: Clipperton and Floréana. The first case is more of a classic one as it is claimed by France. The second one is a little bit quirkier as it official belongs to Ecuador, even if a French village claims their sovereignty over the island.

Clipperton 

Clipperton, lost in the Pacific Ocean

Clipperton, lost in the Pacific Ocean – Source: Marine Nationale

Located 1,300km off the coast of Mexico and 6,000 km away from Tahiti, from which it is administered, the atoll of Clipperton is the most isolated territory in the world. Clipperton spread over 6km² of land, in the middle of which a lagoon has formed. Clipperton gives France an exclusive economic zone of 425220 km² (more than that of metropolitan France), an important number considering the size of the territory, as well as in light of the local wildlife. The waters around Clipperton have been deemed rich in fish, and especially in tuna, which has allowed France to join the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (I.A.T.T.C.). An automatic meteorological station has been in place there since 1980.

Previously called Ile de la Passion, or Passion Island, the islet was allegedly discovered by Magellan at the beginning of the 18th century. France, however, did not claim ownership before 1859. The name of Clipperton comes from the name of the British pirate Clippington, better known as Clipperton, who was left on the island by the privateer William Dampier in 1704. The islet was the object of a territorial dispute between the United States and Mexico as both wanted to exploit the guano the seabirds left there. Guano was of particular importance for the farming industry as it was used as a fertilizer. In 1897, despite being a French possession, the Mexicans set a settlement on Clipperton. In order to settle the dispute, the responsibility to decide was given by the International Court to Italy. In 1931, amidst the rise of Mussolini in Italy, the king Vittorio Emanuele III awarded the possession to France, in an effort to make a gesture and bring the two countries closer together as the Second World War was preparing.  Clipperton was then used as a military base for the US Navy during World War Two.

Due to its geographic isolation, France has been unable to keep a close eye on the islet. Illegal and unregulated fishing has thus always been practiced, especially by Mexican fishermen. Today, France sends a military mission there every year in order to renew France’s sovereignty over Clipperton. This sovereignty is, however, not consecrated in the French constitution.

There have been many projects to set a scientific base, just like in the TAAF on Clipperton, in an effort to observe and study the local wildlife, as well as to assess the impact of pollution on this isolated island. As explained in the video below, the islet has been strongly impacted by maritime pollution, and Clipperton continues to be invaded by plastic wastes brought by the waves.

FloréanaFloréana

Named after the first president of Ecuador, Juan José Flores, the island of Floréana is located off the coast of Ecuador, in the archipelago of the Galapagos, in the Pacific Ocean.

In 1844, under Louis Philippe, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, François Guizot received a letter from a rich Frenchman offering the French government to acquire parts of the Galapagos islands as Flores wished to get rid of them in return for some money of which he was in dire need. This Frenchman, Léon Uthurburu, foresaw the strategic importance of those islands if a canal were to be built to cut through central America. The interest would be great for France as a canal would enable the Antilles and Tahiti to be connected much easier. The French government refused as the digging of what would become the Panama Canal was, at the time, unimaginable for them. Léon Uthurburu still acquired one of the island of the Galapagos, Floréana, for his own account. Single and childless, he left all his possessions to the village he came from, Barcus, in the French Basque country. Since then, the village has claimed ownership of the island, even though France recognized in 1887 that Ecuador was the true owner of Floréana. It must be noted that France timidly tried to support Barcus’s claim as soon as the Panama Canal was dug, without success.

Floréana is a volcanic island, uninhabited by humans but full of giant turtles and iguanas.

This is the last article of the series. France possesses more territories around the world, but those I have mentioned are the most important. I could have mentioned the various churches France owns in Rome, or the cave in Jerusalem, and many more. But for now, that is it.

With this world tour, we have travelled around the globe and explored France’s grandeur. France is much more than the metropole and goes far beyond Europe. Indeed, France is not a European power, but a world power as there are more French land and water outside of European than in. France remains an international power.

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