The island of Lampedusa, administratively attached to the province of Agrigento from which is distant of about 200 km, is the largest island of the Pelagie archipelago, with 20,2 km ² and about 6200 inhabitants (2009). It is situated only 115 km far from the Tunisian coasts.
The island is made of a calcareous plate which culminates at 133 m, geologically related to the African plate. Its northern coast is a long cliff, whereas the south is very cut out, forming headlands and splits sheltering of small sand beaches.
There is on the island only one inhabited center, Lampedusa, whose inhabitants live thanks to fishing and tourism. The interior of the island, arid and stony, has a desert aspect.
Lampedusa has an airport. Near to Africa, it is one of the privileged entry points for the irregular African immigrants who want to join Europe, often in poor boats coming from Tunisia or Libya.
Since its beginnings, in about 1992, the phenomenon is in increase: 31.700 migrants without-paper in 2007 (23 000 in 2005,13 000 in 2004,…)
Historical elements on Lampedusa
Lampedusa was a halt since antiquity, for the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans or Arabic who left traces of their passage there. The Romans exploited Lampedusa to install a fish exploitation to produce the garum, a condiment probably close to the nuoc-man which was very widespread at this time.
The Arabs left many traces. They used the island as bases of their piracy.
The island remained a long time deserted, to be gradually Re-colonized in the 18th century by a group of French, followed by Maltese…
Access to Lampedusa
Lampedusa can be reached by boat (9 hours from Oporto Empedocle near Agrigento – 4 ore in fast ferry), or by plane from Palermo.
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