The Ghost Island of Sicily: Isola Ferdinandea

Forgotten by many, a volcanic island near Pantelleria appeared, erupted, submerged and had never been seen again.

If the ghost island of Sicily, Isola Ferdinandea exists, perhaps Atlantis too?

Sicily is a region with lush islands at the foot of Italy. A couple of hundred years ago, almost forgotten by many, a volcanic island appeared in Sicily between Tunisia and the mainland. It is the ghost island of Isola Ferdinandea. The island erupted, submerged and had never been seen again.

The Ghost Island of Sicily

The island is part of a massive underwater volcano. The volcano formed the islet when it rose from the seafloor to the water surface due to eruptions. Many people believed that the island came into sight and disappeared plenty of times in the ancient period. It was around the First Punic War between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. Volcanic eruptions were used to be topics of myths. They were a godly activity to punish wrongdoings as many claimed — for instance, the legend of Atlantis which sank due to a natural disaster.

The Ghost Island of Sicily: Isola Ferdinandea

The owners of the island

On August 1st, 1831, the island reappeared and gained attention across Europe. Reports finally included stories about it upon its discovery in 1831; a few explorers landed on the island to study this episode. Because of its key position, four nations claimed ownership over the island including Spain. They called it in different names. Isola Ferdinandea for the Sicilian locals after the then King of the Two Sicilies. While the British called it Graham Island named after Sir James Graham, a politician at that time. The French naval forces coined it as Julia. However, it was only on the ground for five months. The island immersed again to the submarine world.

Its peak is around 26 feet below sea level. Researchers are not expecting it to show up anytime soon. However, they are observing the geologic deposits to estimate its future. In case the island resurfaces, Sicily and Italy planted their flags on the top of the bank. It was together with a marble plaque to avoid disputes. The plaque states that ‘This piece of land, once Ferdinandea, belonged and shall always belong to the Sicilian people’. Today, divers from all over the globe arranged diving trips to see the mystery of the sunk island. The island is now home to great kind of flora and fauna. Fish of all types and sizes are giving colours to this hidden gem.

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