Thursday, July 30, 2015

By Bess LovejoyOften, islands come to represent places of extremes: they serve
as utopias, purgatories, or ultimate dream vacation
destinations.
When it comes to mythological islands, utopias are especially popular.
 The Greeks had their Fortunate Islands, or Islands of the Blessed, where
the luckiest mortals whiled away their time drinking and sporting.
 The Irish had a similar concept with their Mag Mell, or Plain
of Honey, described as an island paradise where deities frolicked
and only the most daring mortals occasionally visited.
 But mythology isn’t the only engine creating islands
that don’t actually exist — some of these legendary land
masses popped up on maps after miscalculations by early explorers
who interpreted icebergs, fog banks, and mirages as real islands.
 Some of these cartographic "mistakes" may have been intentional —
certain islands depicted on medieval maps might have been invented so they
could be named after the patrons who funded the explorations.
Even explorer Robert E.
 Peary wasn’t immune: Some say he invented "Crocker
Land," a supposedly massive island in the Arctic, to secure funding from San
Francisco financier George Crocker.
Crocker Land didn’t exist, although that didn’t prevent major
American organizations (including the American Museum of Natural History) from
sponsoring a four-year expedition to find it.
Much like the fictional Crocker Island, here are 10 more imaginary isles, all
of which have a place in world history, literature, or mythology —
despite not having a place on the map.
1.
Isle of Demons  Photo: iStockSupposedly located off the coast of
Newfoundland, this landmass (sometimes depicted as two islands) appeared on
16th century and early 17th century maps, and was named for the mysterious
cries and groans mariners reported hearing through the mist.
The island was given a somewhat more solid identity after 1542, when nobleman
and adventurer Jean-François Roberval was instructed by the King of
France to found settlements along the North Atlantic coast.
He brought his niece, Marguerite de La Rocque de Roberval, along for the
voyage, but she began a passionate affair with one of Roberval’s
officers.
Annoyed, Roberval put his niece (and maybe the officer — accounts
differ), as well as her nurse, ashore on an otherwise
unspecified "Isle of Demons" in the St.
Lawrence River.
Marguerite gave birth on the island, but the child died, as
did Marguerite’s lover and nurse.
However, the plucky Marguerite survived alone for several years, using her
firearms against the wild beasts.
After being rescued by Basque fishermen and returning to France, she
reported that she had been beset "by beasts or other shapes abominably
and unutterably hideous, the brood of hell, howling in baffled fury.
"  Related:  15 Ancient Cities You Need to Visit Right Now
Marguerite’s story appears in several historical accounts, including
versions by Franciscan friar André Thevet and
the Queen of Navarre.
Still, the location of the "Isle of Demons" on which she landed has never
been found for certain.
Maritime historian and veteran Atlantic sailor Donald Johnson thinks he has
identified it as Fichot Island, close to the Strait of Belle Isle at
the northern tip of Newfoundland.
Johnson notes that Fichot Island lies on Roberval’s course, and is
home to a breeding colony of gannets — a type of seabird whose
guttural cries, heard only while breeding, may have been taken for the sounds
of demons.
2.
 Antillia  Spanish Antilles (Photo: iStock)
Also known as the
Isle of Seven Cities, Antillia was a 15th century
cartographic phenomenon said to lie far west of Spain and Portugal.
Stories about its existence are connected to an Iberian legend in which
seven Visigothic bishops and their parishioners fled Muslim
conquerors in the 8th century, sailing west and eventually discovering an
island where they founded seven settlements.
 The bishops burned their ships, so they could never return to their
former homeland.
 According to some versions of the legend, many people have
visited Antillia but no one has ever left; in other versions of
the tale, sailors can see the island from a distance, but the
land always vanishes once they approach.
Spain and Portugal even once squabbled over the island, despite its
non-existence, perhaps because its beaches were said to be strewn with
precious metals.
By the late 15th century, once the North Atlantic was better
mapped, references to Antillia disappeared — although it did lend its
name to the Spanish Antilles.
3.
 Atlantis  Photo: iStock
First mentioned by Plato, Atlantis
was supposedly a large island that lay "to the west of the Pillars of
Hercules" in the Atlantic Ocean.
It was said to be a peaceful but powerful kingdom lost beneath the waves
after a violent earthquake was released by the gods as punishment for waging
war against Athens.
 There have been many attempts at identifying the island,
although it may have been entirely a creation of Plato’s imagination;
some archaeologists associate it with the Minoan island
of Santorini, north of Crete, whose center collapsed after a volcanic
eruption and earthquake around 1500 BC.
  4.
 Aeaea In Greek mythology, Aeaea is the floating home of
Circe, the goddess of magic.
Circe is said to have spent her time on the island, gifted to her by her
father, the Sun, waiting for mortal sailors to land so she could seduce
them.
(Afterward, the story goes, she would turn them into pigs.
) Some classical scholars have identified Aeaea as the
Cape Circeium peninsula on the western coast of Italy, which may
have been an island in the days of Homer, or may have looked like one because
of the marshes surrounding its base.
   5.
 Hy-Brasil  Baffin Island (Photo: WikimediaCommons // CC
BY-SA 2.
5)
Also known as Country o'Breasal, Brazil
Rock, Hy na-Beatha (Isle of Life), Tir fo-Thuin (Land
Under the Wave), and by many other
names, Brasil (Gaelic for "Isle of the Blessed") is one of the
many mythical islands of Irish folklore, but one that nevertheless
made several appearances on real maps.
   Like the Mediterranean’s
Atlantis, Brasil was said to be a place of perfect contentment
and immortality.
It was also the domain of Breasal, the High King of the World, who held
court there every seven years.
 Breasal had the ability to make the island rise or sink as he
pleased, and normally only let the island be visible when his court was
in full swing.
  Related:  Travel Into the Past: The Best Historical
Re-enactment Sites According to legend, Brasil lay "where
the sun touched the horizon, or immediately on its other side — usually
close enough to see but too far to visit.
" It first appeared on a map made in 1325
by Genoese cartographer Daloroto, who depicted it as a large
area to the southwest of Ireland.
(Later maps placed it farther west.
) Its shape was usually drawn as a near-perfect circle, bifurcated by a
river.
Numerous explorers searched for the island, and some, including Italian
navigator John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto), even claimed to have found
it.
 Today, scholars think Brasil may have been a reference to
Baffin Island, or to now-sunken lands visible only when sea levels were lower
during the last Ice Age, or else an optical illusion produced by
layers of hot and cold air refracting light rays.
   6.
 Baralku  Among the indigenous Australians of
the Yolngu culture, Baralku (or Bralgu) is the island
of the dead.
The island holds a central place in the Yolngu cosmology — it’s
where the creator-spirit Barnumbirr is said to live before rising into the sky
as the planet Venus each morning.
Baralku is also the spot where the three siblings who created the landscape
of Australia, the Djanggawul, originated.
 The island supposedly lies to the east of Arnhem Land in
Northern Australia, and the Yolngu believe their souls return there after
death.
7.
 Saint Brendan’s Isle   Old map of North Africa and
where Saint Brendan’s Isle might have been.
(Photo: WikimediaCommons // Public Domain)
This piece of land was said
to have been discovered by Irish abbot and traveler Saint Brendan and his
followers in 512, and to be located in the North Atlantic, somewhere west of
Northern Africa.
Brendan became famous after the publication of the Latin Navigation of St
Brendan, an 8th/9th century text that described his voyage in search of
the wonderful "Land of Promise" in the Atlantic Ocean.
The book was a medieval best-seller, and gave the saint his nickname,
"Brendan the Navigator.
" The island was said to be thickly wooded, filled with rich fruit and
flowers.
Tales of St.
Brendan’s Isle inspired Christopher Columbus, among others, and
had an important influence on medieval cartography.
Sightings were reported as late as the 18th century.
8.
Avalon "The Last Sleep of Arthur in
Avalon" (Photo: WikimediaCommons // Public Domain)First mentioned in
Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 12th century Historia regum Britanniae, Avalon
is the place where the legendary King Arthur’s sword is forged, and
where he is sent to recover after being wounded in battle.
The island was said to be the domain of Arthur’s half-sister,
sorceress Morgan le Fay, as well as her eight sisters.
Starting in the 12th century, Avalon was identified with Glastonbury in
Somerset, in connection with Celtic legends about a paradisiacal "island of
glass.
" Twelfth century monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed
to have discovered Arthur’s bones—although later
historians believe their "discovery" was a publicity stunt to raise
money for Abbey repairs.
  9.
Island of Flame  In ancient Egyptian mythology, the Island of Flame
(also known as the Island of Peace) was the magical birthplace of the gods and
part of the kingdom of Osiris.
It was said to have emerged out of primeval waters and to lay far to the
East, beyond the boundaries of the world of the living.
Associated with the rising sun, it was a place of everlasting light.
   10.
 Thule Photo: WikimediaCommons // Public Domain
For the
Greeks and Romans, Thule existed at the northernmost limit
of their known world.
It first appears in a lost work by the Greek explorer Pytheas, who
supposedly found it in the 4th century BC.
Polybius says that "Pytheas … has led many
people into error by saying that he traversed the whole of Britain on foot
… and telling us also about Thule, those regions in which there
was no longer any proper land nor sea nor air, but a sort of mixture of all
three of the consistency of a jelly-fish in which one can neither walk nor
sail, holding everything together, so to speak.
" Later scholars have interpreted Thule as the
Orkneys, Shetlands, Iceland, or possibly Norway, while the Nazis
believed Thule was the ancient homeland of the Aryan race.
  Related:  An Ancient and Delicious Road Trip From Bodrum to
Ephesus Bonus: People Used to Think California was an Island  
Between the 16th and the 18th centuries, many Europeans
believed that California was an island.
Like other islands on this list, the place was reported as being a
kind of paradise.
In fact, the name "California" first appears in a romantic
novel penned by Spanish author Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo, who
described it as an island filled with gold and precious gems, populated
by a race of Amazons who rode griffins.
 More from Mental Floss:25 Things You Should Know About Philadelphia6
Responses to Sneezes From Around the World
25 Things You Should Know About
Detroit WATCH:  The Ancient City that Looks Like A Scene from Star Wars
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
"  Here are 10 imaginary isles, all of which have a place in world
history or mythology — despite not being on a map.
.
2.
 Antillia  Spanish Antilles (Photo: iStock)
Also known as the
Isle of Seven Cities, Antillia was a 15th century
cartographic phenomenon said to lie far west of Spain and Portugal.
Stories about its existence are connected to an Iberian legend in which
seven Visigothic bishops and their parishioners fled Muslim
conquerors in the 8th century, sailing west and eventually discovering an
island where they founded seven settlements.
 The bishops burned their ships, so they could never return to their
former homeland.
 According to some versions of the legend, many people have
visited Antillia but no one has ever left; in other versions of
the tale, sailors can see the island from a distance, but the
land always vanishes once they approach.
Spain and Portugal even once squabbled over the island, despite its
non-existence, perhaps because its beaches were said to be strewn with
precious metals.
By the late 15th century, once the North Atlantic was better
mapped, references to Antillia disappeared — although it did lend its
name to the Spanish Antilles.
3.
 Atlantis  Photo: iStock
First mentioned by Plato, Atlantis
was supposedly a large island that lay "to the west of the Pillars of
Hercules" in the Atlantic Ocean.
It was said to be a peaceful but powerful kingdom lost beneath the waves
after a violent earthquake was released by the gods as punishment for waging
war against Athens.
 There have been many attempts at identifying the island,
although it may have been entirely a creation of Plato’s imagination;
some archaeologists associate it with the Minoan island
of Santorini, north of Crete, whose center collapsed after a volcanic
eruption and earthquake around 1500 BC.
  4.
 Aeaea In Greek mythology, Aeaea is the floating home of
Circe, the goddess of magic.
Circe is said to have spent her time on the island, gifted to her by her
father, the Sun, waiting for mortal sailors to land so she could seduce
them.
(Afterward, the story goes, she would turn them into pigs.
) Some classical scholars have identified Aeaea as the
Cape Circeium peninsula on the western coast of Italy, which may
have been an island in the days of Homer, or may have looked like one because
of the marshes surrounding its base.
   5.
 Hy-Brasil  Baffin Island (Photo: WikimediaCommons // CC
BY-SA 2.
5)
Also known as Country o'Breasal, Brazil
Rock, Hy na-Beatha (Isle of Life), Tir fo-Thuin (Land
Under the Wave), and by many other
names, Brasil (Gaelic for "Isle of the Blessed") is one of the
many mythical islands of Irish folklore, but one that nevertheless
made several appearances on real maps.
   Like the Mediterranean’s
Atlantis, Brasil was said to be a place of perfect contentment
and immortality.
It was also the domain of Breasal, the High King of the World, who held
court there every seven years.
 Breasal had the ability to make the island rise or sink as he
pleased, and normally only let the island be visible when his court was
in full swing.
  Related:  Travel Into the Past: The Best Historical
Re-enactment Sites According to legend, Brasil lay "where
the sun touched the horizon, or immediately on its other side — usually
close enough to see but too far to visit.
" It first appeared on a map made in 1325
by Genoese cartographer Daloroto, who depicted it as a large
area to the southwest of Ireland.
(Later maps placed it farther west.
) Its shape was usually drawn as a near-perfect circle, bifurcated by a
river.
Numerous explorers searched for the island, and some, including Italian
navigator John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto), even claimed to have found
it.
 Today, scholars think Brasil may have been a reference to
Baffin Island, or to now-sunken lands visible only when sea levels were lower
during the last Ice Age, or else an optical illusion produced by
layers of hot and cold air refracting light rays.
   6.
 Baralku  Among the indigenous Australians of
the Yolngu culture, Baralku (or Bralgu) is the island
of the dead.
The island holds a central place in the Yolngu cosmology — it’s
where the creator-spirit Barnumbirr is said to live before rising into the sky
as the planet Venus each morning.
Baralku is also the spot where the three siblings who created the landscape
of Australia, the Djanggawul, originated.
 The island supposedly lies to the east of Arnhem Land in
Northern Australia, and the Yolngu believe their souls return there after
death.
7.
 Saint Brendan’s Isle   Old map of North Africa and
where Saint Brendan’s Isle might have been.
(Photo: WikimediaCommons // Public Domain)
This piece of land was said
to have been discovered by Irish abbot and traveler Saint Brendan and his
followers in 512, and to be located in the North Atlantic, somewhere west of
Northern Africa.
Brendan became famous after the publication of the Latin Navigation of St
Brendan, an 8th/9th century text that described his voyage in search of
the wonderful "Land of Promise" in the Atlantic Ocean.
The book was a medieval best-seller, and gave the saint his nickname,
"Brendan the Navigator.
" The island was said to be thickly wooded, filled with rich fruit and
flowers.
Tales of St.
Brendan’s Isle inspired Christopher Columbus, among others, and
had an important influence on medieval cartography.
Sightings were reported as late as the 18th century.
8.
Avalon "The Last Sleep of Arthur in
Avalon" (Photo: WikimediaCommons // Public Domain)First mentioned in
Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 12th century Historia regum Britanniae, Avalon
is the place where the legendary King Arthur’s sword is forged, and
where he is sent to recover after being wounded in battle.
The island was said to be the domain of Arthur’s half-sister,
sorceress Morgan le Fay, as well as her eight sisters.
Starting in the 12th century, Avalon was identified with Glastonbury in
Somerset, in connection with Celtic legends about a paradisiacal "island of
glass.
" Twelfth century monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed
to have discovered Arthur’s bones—although later
historians believe their "discovery" was a publicity stunt to raise
money for Abbey repairs.
  9.
Island of Flame  In ancient Egyptian mythology, the Island of Flame
(also known as the Island of Peace) was the magical birthplace of the gods and
part of the kingdom of Osiris.
It was said to have emerged out of primeval waters and to lay far to the
East, beyond the boundaries of the world of the living.
Associated with the rising sun, it was a place of everlasting light.
   10.
 Thule Photo: WikimediaCommons // Public Domain
For the
Greeks and Romans, Thule existed at the northernmost limit
of their known world.
It first appears in a lost work by the Greek explorer Pytheas, who
supposedly found it in the 4th century BC.
Polybius says that "Pytheas … has led many
people into error by saying that he traversed the whole of Britain on foot
… and telling us also about Thule, those regions in which there
was no longer any proper land nor sea nor air, but a sort of mixture of all
three of the consistency of a jelly-fish in which one can neither walk nor
sail, holding everything together, so to speak.
" Later scholars have interpreted Thule as the
Orkneys, Shetlands, Iceland, or possibly Norway, while the Nazis
believed Thule was the ancient homeland of the Aryan race.
  Related:  An Ancient and Delicious Road Trip From Bodrum to
Ephesus Bonus: People Used to Think California was an Island  
Between the 16th and the 18th centuries, many Europeans
believed that California was an island.
Like other islands on this list, the place was reported as being a
kind of paradise.
In fact, the name "California" first appears in a romantic
novel penned by Spanish author Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo, who
described it as an island filled with gold and precious gems, populated
by a race of Amazons who rode griffins.
 More from Mental Floss:25 Things You Should Know About Philadelphia6
Responses to Sneezes From Around the World
25 Things You Should Know About
Detroit WATCH:  The Ancient City that Looks Like A Scene from Star Wars
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
" Here are 10 imaginary isles, all of which have a place in world history
or mythology — despite not being on a map.

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