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Glorioso Islands
Îles Glorieuses
MottoLiberté, égalité, fraternité (English: "Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood")
AnthemLa Marseillaise
Location of the Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean:

• 1 : Bassas da India • 2 : Europa Island • 3 : Glorioso Islands • 4 : Juan de Nova Island • 5 : Tromelin Island

(KM : Comoros, MG: Madagascar, MU: Mauritius, MZ: Mozambique, RE: Réunion, YT: Mayotte)
Island overview
Satellite image of the islands

The Glorieuses or Glorioso Islands (French: Îles Glorieuses or officially also Archipel des Glorieuses) are a group of French islands and rocks totalling 5 square kilometres (1,200 acres), at 11°33′S 47°20′E / 11.55°S 47.333°E / -11.55; 47.333Coordinates: 11°33′S 47°20′E / 11.55°S 47.333°E / -11.55; 47.333, in the northern Mozambique channel, about 160 kilometres (99 mi) northwest of Madagascar. The Glorieuses have an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 48,350 square kilometres (18,670 sq mi). There are anchorages offshore, and Grande Glorieuse has a 1,300-metre (4,300 ft) long airstrip.

The archipelago consists of two islands, Grande Glorieuse (11°34′46.549″S 47°17′54.146″E / 11.57959694°S 47.29837389°E / -11.57959694; 47.29837389 (Grande Glorieuse)) and Île du Lys, as well as eight rock islets (Roches Vertes): Wreck Rock (11°30′45.194″S 47°22′54.178″E / 11.51255389°S 47.38171611°E / -11.51255389; 47.38171611 (Wreck Rock)), South Rock (11°35′43.760″S 47°18′6.6600″E / 11.5954889°S 47.30185°E / -11.5954889; 47.30185 (South Rock)) and Verte Rocks (11°34′15.636″S 47°19′54.188″E / 11.57101°S 47.33171889°E / -11.57101; 47.33171889 (Verte Rocks)) and three others that are unnamed. They form part of a coral reef and lagoon. Grande Glorieuses is roughly circular and measures about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) across. It is thickly vegetated, mainly by the remains of a coconut plantation and casuarina trees.

Île du Lys, located at 11°30′59.350″S 47°22′36.023″E / 11.5164861°S 47.37667306°E / -11.5164861; 47.37667306 (Île du Lys) about five miles (about 8 km) northeast of Grande Glorieuses, is about 600 metres (2,000 ft) long and consists of sand dunes and scrub with some mangroves. It was formerly quarried for phosphate (guano).

The Glorieuses were named and settled in 1880 by a Frenchman, Hippolyte Caltaux, who established a coconut and maize plantation on Grande Glorieuse. The archipelago became a French possession in 1892. From 1914 to 1958 concessions to exploit the islands were given to Seychelles companies.

The islands are today nature reserves with a meteorological station garrisoned by French troops (The French Foreign Legion). They are claimed by Madagascar (because of their strategic importance), the Seychelles (considering the islands part of the Seychelles Archipelago) and the Comoros (considering the islands part of the Comoros Archipelago).

The climate is tropical and the terrain is low and flat, varying from sea level to 12 metres (39 ft). Île de Lys in particular is a nesting ground for migratory seabirds, and turtles lay eggs on the beaches.


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Africa : East Africa : Glorioso Islands
Quick Facts
Capital administered from Reunion
Government possession of France
Area 5 sq km
Population there is a small French military garrison along with a few meteorologists; visited by scientists
Time Zone UTC +4

The Gloriosos Islands are a small atoll in the Indian Ocean off East Africa, near Madagascar.

A French possession since 1892, the Glorioso Islands are composed of two lushly vegetated tropical coral islands (Ile Glorieuse and Ile du Lys) and three rock islets. A military garrison operates a weather and radio station on Ile Glorieuse.


The islands and rocks are low and flat, surrounded by an extensive reef system.

Get in

By plane

There is an airstrip on Ile Glorieuse.

By boat

There are no harbors.


There is no economic activity in the Gloriosos Islands.


There are no public accommodations in the Gloriosos Islands.

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