Isla Contreras Island is a small island located in the Gulf of California about 260 kilometers northeast of Acapulco. The island is about 7.5 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide, and has a total land area of about 2 square kilometers. The island was first sighted by Europeans on November 25, 1542 by Sebastián Vizcaíno.
Isla Contreras Island History
Isla Contreras was first sighted by Europeans on November 25, 1542 by Sebastián Vizcaíno. The island became a favored anchorage for Spanish ships during the 16th century due to its deep waters and calm weather. In 1596, Isla Contreras served as an asylum for retired conquistadors who were seeking a haven from a reign of terror perpetrated by Francisco Pizarro and his troops in Peru.
In 1602, Isla Contreras was purchased from the natives by Gaspar de Portolà along with eight other islands in the area.
In 1749 a Spanish fort and a battery were built on Isla Contreras as protection against French corsairs, and catbird droppings found in excavations that have been preserved in the Castle Museum today allow historians to calculate its approximate construction date. The island was part of Yucatán from 1696 until 1821, when it was acquired by Mexico through purchase under the terms of Mexican Independence.
During this time there is evidence linking Basque fishermen from San Sebastian de Cavada Island with trade dealings with both Spain and France; however no specific additional documentation has been found to prove direct interaction between the island and Isla Espíritu Santo.
The island has a tropical maritime climate, with average daily temperatures ranging from 23°C in the winter to 28°C during the summer. Average annual rainfall is 2,300mm (88″).
During the dry season from May to October, wind speed often exceeds 7 m/s. The island receives most of its annual precipitation within a period of three weeks during September when moist trade winds are prevalent and generally cause high waves and violent sea swells on nearby Isla Espiritu Santo at low tide.
There is no indigenous culture on Isla Contreras, however it has been noted that a Basque fishing tradition and trading links with both Spain and France have contributed to the island’s multicultural character. The most visible traces of this heritage are seen in the architecture of two Spanish forts, as well as some traditional Mayan structures such as longhouses located on the eastern side of the island.
The island has also been home to a small community of Basques who have made it their home since 1821. There are occasional cultural events and festivals held on the island in celebration of religious celebrations such as Corpus Christ, as well the Basque Festival of San Sebastian de egas.
During a recent international conference on island disputes, it was proposed that Isla Contreras has national significance for its cultural heritage and should be protected under Article 121(c) of the United Nations Convention on Law of Sea (UNCLOS), however no decision has been made thus far.
The island is administered by a mayor who is appointed by the central government of Guatemala. The current mayor is Salvador Jiménez, who was elected in February 2013. There are no traditional political parties on Isla Contreras, with citizens broadly divided along ideological lines between left-wing and right-wing groups.
The island’s economy is largely driven by tourism, which accounts for around 95% of its GDP. Other important economic sectors include forestry and agricultural production, most notably coffee beans which are shipped to mainland markets. Trade links with nearby islands also play an important role in island-wide economics, as is a small but successful farmer’s market.
The island also has a community radio station Radio Contreras. The current mayor states that the island’s goal is to become “the new Costa Rica”. Nicaraguan tourism has increased markedly since Nicaragua’s 2007 Constitution reduced its maximum monthly income tax from 29% to 22%.
There are no public hospitals or clinics on Isla Contreras, and medical care is largely limited to island-based doctors. In order to access services, island residents must travel by boat or helicopter to the mainland.
Island-wide electricity supplies are provided by a hydroelectric dam located 150 km away on the mainland. There is also a small airport that serves passenger flights from Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city.
Isla Contreras is popular with tourists for its natural beauty, including rugged mountains and crystal-clear water. The island is also known for its coffee production, which can be tasted in local cafes and restaurants.
Tourism on the island has increased markedly in recent years due to a growth in Nicaraguan tourism. This has created new jobs on the island, as well as increased demand for services such as accommodation and food.
Island residents receive a small salary from the government to cover basic needs such as food and rent, but they are largely reliant on supplementary income earned through employment or tourism to survive.
Due to island access limitations, the number of tourists is strictly controlled. These controls exist both for protection and conservation purposes, as well as improving issues relating to ecological preservation and erosion control The island states that it aims “to be a new Costa Rica“.
The Isla Contreras Island is located in the Gulf of California, off the coast of Baja California Norte, Mexico. It lies at an average depth of 192 meters (620 feet), and has a maximum depth of 406 meters (1,300 feet). The island is divided into two main parts: the east and west extremities. The east extremity is more visited due to its abundance of marine resources, such as fish and coral. The west extremity is less visited because it contains less economic resources.
1.What Is The Island’s Official Name?
Ans: The island is officially known as Isla Contreras. However, it is commonly referred to by its popular name, Isla de la Paz.
2.When Was The Island First Sighted By Europeans?
Ans: Isla Contreras was first sighted on November 25, 1542 by Sebastián Vizcaíno during his expedition of exploration along the west coast of North America.
3.What Is The Island’s Official Population?
Ans: There are no current records of the island’s official population, however it is estimated to be around 100 people.
4.What Are The Main Activities Undertaken On The Island?
Ans: The main activities undertaken on Isla Contreras include fishing, coral fishing, and ecotourism.
5.Is There Any Airport Or Port On The Island?
Ans: No airports or ports currently exist on Isla Contreras, but plans are in place for a future airport or port to be constructed.