Discover the Unbelievable Barmeja: Reddish Island that Disappeared in 1921 from the Gulf of Mexico.
Disappearances have been a recurring occurrence in history, with ships mysteriously vanishing, or people disappearing. Still, these incidents have never failed to perplex people at the idea that existed yesterday suddenly disappeared today. An overwhelming incident happened after the 1600s to the 1900s an entire island disappeared.
Bermeja is, or instead was a tiny uninhabited island located off the North Coast of Yucatan Peninsula, in the Gulf of Mexico. This island, which one century sat at 22°33’N, 91°22’E, and the next century it completely vanished as baffled and confounded maritime investigations and aerial surveys. The existence of this island has been documented only in maps which were made by cartographers between the 16th and 20th century. Alonso de Santa Cruz first mentioned the existence of this island in 1539 via his list of islands, also called the El Yucatan e Islas Adyacentes. Next year, after some research its precise location was given by Alonso de Chavez who mentioned it in his journal, Espejo de Navegantes.
Chavez must have seen the island from up close as he said that the island appeared to be blondish or reddish, which in Spanish translates to Bermeja, which is how the island got its name.
Back in Back in the 16th and 17th centuries, the existence of Bermeja can be found on maps drawn by a Spanish explorer. Though the location varied slightly and the name occasionally appeared as Vermeja.
Investigations on Island's Disappearance:
Michel Antochiw Kolpa, a French American cartographer, said that British maps have shown sinking of the island, around 60 fathoms below. However, the reason for such sinking is still up for debate. The last remote existence of the island was documented in the 1921 edition of Geographic Atlas of the Mexican Republic. The disappearance left behind the inevitable question. In 1997 a detailed survey was conducted. However, there was no trace of any island at the location. Sudden interest in the island arose as if such an island existed it would be critical to correctly estimate its boundaries for the exploitation of oil in Hoyos de Dona (Doughnut Hole) in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Mexican and US government negotiated a treaty to divide the doughnut hole, which led to Mexico sending another expedition to Bermeja, as it would extend Mexico’s maritime limits. Another 3 surveys were conducted in 2008, including one by the National Autonomous University of Mexico, on behalf of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies which also turned out to be futile. They used all the technology at their disposal, but couldn’t even find a trace of the island. It seemed as if the island never existed.
The island’s apparent disappearance has been met with various theories and explanations. Some as simple as an erroneous observation by the cartographers and some as unlikely as a conspiracy theory claiming that the Central Intelligence Agency destroyed the island to expand the USA’s economic zone.
Shifts in the geography of the ocean floor or rising sea levels are also possible causes of the disappearance of the landmass. Julio Zamora, president of Mexico’s Geography Society, had another claim to make, which wasn’t entirely improbable.
He said, “Countries making maps in the 16th and 17th century published them with inaccuracies to prevent enemies from using them. This suggests that countries would strategically place an artificial island that would dissuade usurpers from that time to venture into that area.
Bermeja could be a phantom island, a decoy island, a misplaced island, or something else. The entire incident was indeed a mind-boggling one. After so many years it’s doubtful that the elusive island will even be found again if it existed.
No one knows the truth about the island, and that is still up for debate, a debate which will be hard to resolve in the absence of the island in question.
Read more such interestingly mysterious incidents in The Socians