Best Bermeja Island Tips:In 1997 the Mexican government sent a vessel to locate the island of Bermeja.
Off the northwest coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and approximately 80 square kilometers in size, it surely could be found, and formally claimed for Mexico.
But the expedition proved unsuccessful, the island was nowhere to be seen.
Now, the Mexican government were not completely lost in their search for Bermeja.
From the 16th century through to 1921 the island appeared on numerous maps.
First in 1539, in a Spanish list of all the islands of the region, and then precisely located by Spanish navigator and cartographer, Alonso de Chaves who reported that the little island was “blondish or reddish”, leading to its name, as Bermeja in older Iberian dialects means “reddish in color”.
And the stakes in finding this island were high.
Bermeja would be Mexico’s most northern island in the Gulf of Mexico; and as such extend Mexico’s exclusive economic zone further out into the gulf; and thereby securing Mexico’s rights to the massive oil deposits that lay beneath the seafloor; and as they searched for it, America and Mexico were undertaking negotiations over their maritime border in the Gulf.
So the pressure was on to find it.
These talks, however, with the island undiscovered, concluded with allocating vast maritime territories to America.
But where did the island go?
One politician who had been a long-time advocate of existence of Bermeja was Mexican Senator José Ángel Conchello.
On August 4th 1998, just a year after the navy had failed to find the island, he was killed in an “accident” when a semi-truck slammed into the side of his car.
The Senator’s death fuelled a conspiracy theory, that the island he wanted so desperately to find for Mexico was destroyed by the CIA to further an oil-fuelled American agenda.
That seems unlikely; island removal is a generally noticeable affair.
But where could it have gone?
Other less conspiratorial theories for the apparent disappearance have also been suggested.
Some have argued that the island located at the edge of the continental shelf was sunk by an earthquake or an underwater landslide.
Or perhaps, Bermeja was not a coral reef island like the islands that exist nearby.
But a sandy shoal that simply washed away, but given how far out to sea it is I wouldn’t count on that one.
So in all likelihood it never existed in the first place; and a 2009 ultrasonic survey of the seafloor, where the island is supposed to be found nothing but a flat sandy bottom.
So perhaps the truth is Bermeja was simply drawn onto a map when an explorer mistook something, or somewhere else, for the island in the 1500s, and copied by cartographers for centuries after.
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