Peros Banhos Island 2 pounds 2017


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Peros Banhos Island 2 pounds 2017

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15.00


Peros Banhos is a formerly inhabited atoll in the Chagos Archipelago of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The atoll has a total area of 503 km2, but a land area of only 9.6 km2 made up by some 32 islets. Most of the remaining surface (490 km2) is occupied by the lagoon, which is connected to the open sea, and the reef flat. Île du Coin was the only island that was settled permanently in Peros Banhos.

Peros Banhos was discovered in 1513 by Portuguese navigator Afonso de Albuquerque. The name of this atoll derives from "Pêro dos Banhos", the name is believed to refer to another Portuguese navigator who died there after his ship ran aground on this atoll. Since 1756 Île du Coin was home to a population of up to 500 people. Most of the inhabitants, the Ilois, were workers in the coconut plantations and in the oil-producing industry. The Ilois were Christian and there were churches and primary schools in Peros Banhos before the local population was moved away. Their language was a Creole version of French, known as Chagossian Creole. There is a small bushy island called Île Diable on the NW of the atoll. The name of this islet suggests that there were some local folkloric beliefs.

In 1970, the entire population of Peros Banhos Atoll was expelled by the British Government and sent to live in Mauritius. More recently, the islands have been investigated as a possible location for resettlement, although access is currently prohibited.

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