Isla Aves (Bird Island) is a small, isolated scrap of land in the eastern Caribbean, about 110 km (70 mi) west of Dominica and 550 km (340 mi) north of Venezuela. Having no supply of fresh water other than rainfall, the island has never been inhabited. From 1878 to 1912 it was occupied intermittantly by a U.S. company under the U.S. Guano Islands Act. Venezuela asserted its claim to the island in 1895 (based on an 1865 arbitration agreement with the Netherlands), but it took no action on the claim until 1950, when a Venezuelan naval force took physical possession of the island. In 1978, a permanent scientific station was established, staffed by scientists and protected by naval personnel.
Venezuelan ownership was confirmed in treaties with the U.S. in 1978, with France in 1980, and with Dominica, the closest nation of the Lesser Antilles, in 2006. However, erosion has claimed much of the island in recent decades, and there is a danger that rising sea levels will cause it to disappear completely.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 110.
Adjoining pages: East: Dominica | South: Venezuela Caribbean Islands
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Posted January 11, 2008. Checked and revised November 29, 2014. Lighthouses: 1. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.