Pacific Ocean

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Place Names


Cocos Islands

There are several Cocos Islands located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The word "Cocos" means coconut, so its not surprising that sailors would choose to name an island loaded with coconuts after this valuable tree. The maps below appear to show two different "Cocos Islands".

The first two show a pair of islands - Cocos Island and Traitor Island. I'm not sure what islands these refer to, but its possible they refer to two of the islands that today are known as the Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean. Or they could refer to a pair of islands in some other group altogether.

The third map shows the Cocos Island that is located in the eastern Pacific, 500 km off the coast of Costa Rica. This is an isolated island, with no second island that could have shown up on the earlier maps.

Mallet, 1683

While not technically a map, this view shows the Cocos and Traitors Islands.


Bonne, 1787

A map of the same two islands. (This is from a chart that includes maps of a number of Pacific islands.


Vancouver, 1798

This is a detailed map of the Cocos Island located off the coast of Costa Rica (based on the latitude and longitude shown on the map). This map is an inset in a larger map that includes Hawaii and part of the Galapagos.

(Copyright 2000, Cartography Associates.)