What’s in a name?

Tristan da Cunha
On approach to Tristan da Cunha
(Photo courtesy of NOE ZAMEL, MD, FRCPC)

Although we are Ottawa content writers and editors, Tristan Creative Writing was named after a group of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean called Tristan da Cunha.

There are hundreds of thousands of islands on this planet, why choose Tristan? Simply because it is one of the most interesting places on earth. Here’s why:

  • When you arrive, you are greeted by a sign that says “Welcome to the loneliest island.” And it truly is—it is located about halfway between South America and South Africa in the South Atlantic Ocean.
  • The 297 permanent residents of Tristan live on an active volcano—although it hasn’t erupted since 1961 when everyone had to relocate for two years.
  • Tristan da Cunha
    Upon landing at Tristan da Cunha
    (Photo courtesy of NOE ZAMEL, MD, FRCPC)

    There are only seven family names among the residents.

  • Early explorers ignored it for several reasons: not only did it feature a rugged mountain landscape, but there was no natural harbour, nowhere to grow crops and it rained heavily in every season. Sign me up!
  • Discovered by Portuguese Admiral Tristao da Cunha in 1506, it was so rugged it took another 300 years before it was settled by the Americans (the British seized it just six years later), even though it was located on what was then known as the “Maritime Motorway.”
  • Legends of treasure lost at sea near Tristan in the early 1800s are still talked about in the Tristan community and are explored in several books.

If you’d like to learn more about this wonderfully rugged and beautiful island, here are some websites that might interest you:

The Tristan da Cunha Website

Tristan on Wikipedia

Tristandacunha.org