Phantom island

A phantom island is a purported island which was included on maps for a period of time, but was later found not to exist. They usually originate from the reports of early sailors exploring new regions, and are commonly the result of navigational errors, mistaken observations, unverified misinformation, or deliberate fabrication. Some have remained on maps for centuries before being "un-discovered."

Fragment of George Powell's 1822 chart of the South Shetland Islands showing the phantom Middle Island (bottom right) in Bransfield Strait, Antarctica
The Zeno map of 1558 showing Frisland – a phantom island in the North Atlantic
The phantom island of Kianida or Cianeis in the Black Sea on a fragment of the 1467 Nicolaus Germanus edition of Ptolemy's Geography

Unlike lost lands, which are claimed (or known) to have once existed but to have been swallowed by the sea or otherwise destroyed, a phantom island is one that is claimed to exist contemporaneously, but later found not to have existed in the first place (or found not to be an island, as with the Island of California).


Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Phantom island, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.