The horrible history of Clipperton Island

Clipperton Island is a small atoll, 1,000km off the southwest coast of Mexico. In the course of its history, four nations - France, Britain, Mexico and the United States - have laid claim to it, each seeking to make money from the thick layer of guano on its surface (bird droppings have long been valuable as fertiliser, being rich in nitrogen and phosphorus). Although the island is currently uninhabited, several settlements have been attempted since the mid-19th century. The last, between 1914 and 1917, was a disastrous event, in which a handful of Mexicans became trapped under the rule of a self-proclaimed 'king', who brutalised the women and children who shared the island with him.

To find out more about this fascinating story, click on the image below.