.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

TAAF 2016
Kerguelen Islands


COUNTRY: TAAF
ISSUE DATE: 1 January 2016
STAMP THEME: Survol des îles Kerguelen
STAMP SIZE: 87 x 112 mm
STAMP DESIGN: Pierre-André Cousin


The Kerguelen Islands also known as the Desolation Islands were officially discovered by the Breton-French navigator Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen-Trémarec on 12 February 1772. The next day Charles de Boisguehenneuc landed and claimed the island for the French crown. The Kerguelen Islands, along with the islands of Amsterdam and St. Paul, and the Crozet archipelago were officially annexed by France in 1893, and were included as possessions in the French constitution in 1924.


Soon after their discovery, the archipelago was regularly visited by whalers and sealers (mostly British, American and Norwegian) who hunted the resident populations of whales and seals to the point of near extinction.

Until 1955, the Kerguelen Islands were part of the French Colony of Madagascar and Dependencies. That same year they collectively became known as Les Terres australes et antarctiques françaises (French Southern and Antarctic Lands) and were administratively part of the French Départment d'outre-mer de la Réunion. 

In 2004 they were permanently transformed into their own entity (keeping the same name) but having inherited another group of five very remote tropical islands, les îles Éparses, which are also owned by France and are dispersed widely throughout the southern Indian Ocean.

The main island, Grande Terre, is 6,675 km2 (2,577 sq mi) in area and is surrounded by a further 300 smaller islands and islets, forming an archipelago of 7,215 km2.