Clipperton Island is an uninhabited nine-square-kilometer coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean, southwest of Mexico and west of Central America. It is an overseas possession of France under direct authority of the Minister of Overseas France.
Clipperton Island is low-lying and largely barren, save for scattered grasses and a few clumps of coconut palms. A small volcanic outcrop rising to 29 meters on its southeast side is referred to as "Clipperton Rock".
Clipperton's name comes from John Clipperton, an English pirate and privateer who fought the Spanish during the early 18th century, and who is said to have passed by the island. Some sources say he used it as a base for his raids on shipping, yet there is no documentary evidence for this assertion. The name Île de la Passion (English: Passion Island) was officially given to Clipperton in 1711 by French discoverers Martin de Chassiron and Michel Du Bocage, commanding the French ships La Princesse and La Découverte. They drew up the first map of the island and annexed it to France.
The atoll has been occupied at various times by guano miners, would-be settlers or military personnel, mostly from Mexico, which formerly claimed it until international arbitration awarded it to France in 1931. In the late 1930s, Clipperton Island was visited twice by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wanted it to become an American possession for use as an airbase for Pacific Ocean operations. In 1944, he ordered the US Navy to occupy the island (until 1945) in one of the most secret U.S. operations of World War II.
The island was abandoned at the end of World War II. Since then it has only been visited by sport fishermen, film crews, shipwreck survivors, regularly scheduled patrols of the French Navy, and by Mexican tuna and shark fishermen.
There are 3 different coins from Clipperton Island:
- 100 francs Brass
- 200 francs Bimetallic Brass/Nickel
- 500 francs Bimetallic Brass/Nickel