History of the island
1501: Discover the island
The island was discovered in 1501 while crossing the Mozambique Channel by the Portuguese captain João da Nova, which controls the third Portuguese expedition to India. He named Agalega or Galega (Galician) in reference to his nationality. The island then change name Johan de Nova on the map of Pilestrima (1519), Joa de Nova (Mercator, 1569), San-Christophoro (Ortelius, 1570), St. Kitts (Lislet Geoffroy). She will receive her final name by William Fitzwilliam Owen, who calls Juan de Nova. It seems to have been sometimes confused with Island Bassas da India2 (can be submerged at high tide)
Although located on the spice route, the island then of no interest to the colonial powers because of its very small size and lack of assets in terms of call. It is believed that it could serve as a refuge for pirates like Olivier Le Vasseur nicknamed La Buse.
1896-1897: Acquisition by France
In the absence of permanent foreign presence, the French colonial empire linking the island as well as that of Europa and Bassas da India by the Act of 6 August 1896 before being formally under French sovereignty by the establishment of the pavilion after the act of December 31, 1897.
1923-1975: Resource Development
At that time, only Malagasy fishermen operating on the island during the nesting ground for sea turtles but by 1900 the lease of the island is given to a French for a 20-year lease. The exploitation of guano and the island of phosphates and begins production reached 53 000 tonnes in 1923 while the coconut grove produces 12 tons of copra per year. During World War II, all facilities are destroyed so that they are not used by the enemy and the island perhaps serves as a refuge for German submarines. The activity will take a few years after the war.
A second concession is then granted March 10, 1952 for a period of 15 years at the company SOFIM (French Society of the Malagasy islands), chaired by Hector Patureau brother Maurice Patureau (Companion of the Liberation). It shall be renewed for 25 years June 15, 1960 after the independence of Madagascar. The phosphate mining then becomes important and many buildings are constructed with a house called home, two pavilions corner of France and the Assistant Administrator, storage sheds and guano phosphate, a crushing plant, warehouses, workshops, a wash house, housing workers, power plant providing electricity and running water. A prison is built and the cemetery is located amidst the casuarinas. Finally carts on Decauville provide rail freight transport to the embarkation wharf.
The workers are mainly from Mauritius and the Seychelles. The working conditions are extremely harsh and each worker must extract a ton of phosphate per day to earn 3.5 rupees. All merchandise is bought at the warehouse and every breach of the rules is punished by flogging or imprisonment. Fights are frequent but in September 1968 a revolt initiated by Mauritians obliges responsible for the operation to seek the intervention of the police to Jean Vaudeville, prefect of Reunion. This incident will lead the Prefecture and the media and press and metropolitan Reunion to be interested in the activities and dubious morals (seigneur of law practiced by one of the foremen). This will force the president of the SOFIM to part with some of its staff.
While the export production is by boat, a runway was built in 1934 to the dealers SOFIM. Prior to December 8, 1929, a Farman 190 piloted by Sergeant Jean-Michel Bourgeois makes emergency landing on the island following a gas leak. The plane left the airport Ivato (Madagascar) to Quelimane (Mozambique). Three days later, the other two passengers (Captain Marcel Goulette and Chief Warrant Officer René Marchesseau) boarded the ship Marechal Gallieni while Bourgeois spent two months on the island the time to develop a makeshift runway where he will take off on February 1 1930 Tananarive. A panel at the end of the current track reminded of the event. Later, a second landing is done by Maryse Hilsz accompanied by Maurice Dronne, April 9, 1932 with an F291 that redécolla few days later, its engine changed.
During the 1960s, the price of phosphate collapses and operation ceases to be profitable. The SOFIM finally dissolved in 1968 and the last workers left the island in 1975. The French government then resumes the concession and pay compensation of 45 million CFA Hector Patureau for facilities and equipment.
1971-1973: Installation of a weather station
In 1963, an auxiliary meteorological system, called La Goulette is installed to take regular samples of temperatures and pressures. But during his time on the island in 1971, the Weather Service representative noted many irregularities in the surveys and a very bad guarding the island which are then the responsibility of Puteau. Following the recommendations of the World Weather Watch, a basic weather station, permanent service is built in 1973 in the southwest of the island, in the end.
1974 – Today: military installation
In 1974, the French government decided to install military detachments on the Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean that has in the channel (Juan de Nova, Europa and Glorioso Islands) to, among others, to respond to claims Territorial Madagascar on these three areas that are characterized by a considerable EEZ. The island has a small garrison of 14 soldiers from the 2nd RPIMa Pierrefonds and a gendarme. They settled in housing workers of the SOFIM became the SEGA3 camp. The military detachment is refueled by a C-160 Transall the ETOM 50 (Air Force) from the BA 181 every 45 days. The runway 10/28 (FMZJ according to ICAO nomenclature) of the 1 300 m, is the island structure more visible from the air. It consists of compressed sand and cement and covered with bitumen and sand to limit the impact of the sun on the asphalt.
Today, the entire facility is in ruins and only a few buildings are still maintained for use by the military and the cemetery. Converted into a nature reserve that contributes to national biodiversity protection policy and especially coralliens4 reefs, the island is off limits; only scientists (naturalists, archaeologists …) are allowed to come in on temporary missions.
A DXCC entity shared with Europa …
Juan de Nova has been added to the list of countries DX Century Club (DXCC) June 25, 1960 and has, with the island of Europa, for the same entity. The first recorded activity is that of FB8BI / J in 1960.
Since that time, few major expedition were not authorized and we measure the chance that is given to us. Amateur radio activities were conducted primarily by the staff of Météo-France on the occasion of professional assignments. The last major operation cash for DXCC, but since Europa Island, conducted under the guidance and TO4E TO4WW achieved 34000 contacts in 2003.
Non-exhaustive list of activities recorded from Juan de Nova:
- FB8BI / J 1960
- FR7ZC / J 1963
- FR7ZU / J 1974
- FR7ZL / J 1974 + 1975
- FR7AI / J 1975 + 1981 + 1982
- FR0DZ / J , FR0RX / J and FR0CIW / J 1980
- FR0FLO / J and FR7BP / J 1981
- FR0GGL / J 1982
- FR5ES / J 1987
- FR0EH / J 1988
- FR4FA / J 1988
- FR5AI / J 1990 + 1991
- FR5ZQ / J 1992 + 1993 + 1994 + 1997
- FR5DT / J 1996 + 1997
- FR5KH / J 1997
- FR5ZU / J 1997
Europa (last major activity):
- TO4E and TO4WW 2003 (by F5CW, F5NHJ, F5PTM, F5JJK , F5IRO – 34000 QSO)