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The Islands Portal

Atafu atoll in Tokelau

An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands is called an archipelago, such as the Philippines.

An island may be described as such, despite the presence of an artificial land bridge; examples are Singapore and its causeway, and the various Dutch delta islands, such as IJsselmonde. Some places may even retain "island" in their names for historical reasons after being connected to a larger landmass by a land bridge or landfill, such as Coney Island and Coronado Island, though these are, strictly speaking, tied islands. Conversely, when a piece of land is separated from the mainland by a man-made canal, for example the Peloponnese by the Corinth Canal or Marble Hill in northern Manhattan during the time between the building of the United States Ship Canal and the filling-in of the Harlem River which surrounded the area, it is generally not considered an island.

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A floating island is a mass of floating aquatic plants, mud, and peat ranging in thickness from several centimetres to a few metres. Floating islands are a common natural phenomenon that are found in many parts of the world. They exist less commonly as an artificial phenomenon. Floating islands are generally found on marshlands, lakes, and similar wetland locations, and can be many hectares in size. Read more...

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A lava rock poi pounder dated from the 18th century or earlier. (From the Honolulu Museum of Art's collection)

Native Hawaiian cuisine is based on the traditional Hawaiian foods that predate contact with Europeans and immigration from East and Southeast Asia. The earliest Polynesian seafarers are believed to have arrived on the Hawaiian Islands in 300–500 AD.[a] Few edible plants were indigenous to Hawaii aside from few ferns and fruits that grew at higher elevations. Various food producing plants were introduced to the island by migrating Polynesian peoples.

Botanists and archaeologists believe that these voyagers introduced anywhere between 27 to more than 30 plants to the islands, mainly for food. The most important of them was taro. For centuries taro, and the poi made from it, was the main staple of the Hawaiian diet and it is still much loved. ‘Uala (Sweet potatoes) and yams were also planted. The Marquesans, the first settlers from Polynesia, brought ‘Ulu (breadfruit) and the Tahitians later introduced the baking banana. Settlers from Polynesia also brought coconuts and sugarcane. ʻAwa (Piper methysticum, commonly known as kava) is also a traditional food among Hawaiians. Breadfruit, sweet potato, kava and he‘e (octopus) are associated with the four major Hawaiian gods: Kāne, , Lono and Kanaloa. Read more...

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