I. An island (Sp. isla de Finos) in the Caribbean sea, 33 m. off the S. W. extremity of Cuba; length 43 m., greatest breadth 35 m.; area, 1,200 sq. m.; pop. about 2,000. The coasts are deeply indented by bays and inlets, some of which afford commodious anchorage, though surrounded by innumerable rocky islets or keys. A mountain chain traverses the island, the Sierra de la Canada, over 1,600 ft. high, and sends off two spurs: that of the Daguilla, 1,500 ft., and the Sierra de los Cabellos, over 1,000 ft. The country is well watered by several rivers, some of which, particularly those of las Nuevas and Santa Fe, are navigable 5 m. inland by craft drawing 10 ft. Among the mineral productions are silver, quicksilver, iron, sulphur, and rock crystal; and marble of various beautiful colors occurs in large quantities. The centre is somewhat marshy, but the soil is elsewhere very fertile. Timber and precious woods are very abundant; and the cultivated products are the same as those of the Western department of Cuba. The climate being extremely mild and salubrious, the island is a common resort for invalids. Nueva Gerona, capital of the colony of la Reina Amalia, had in 1870 about 100 inhabitants.
Other towns are Santa Fe and Jorobado. The colony is governed by a resident political and military commandant, under the jurisdiction of the political governor of Havana. The island was discovered by Columbus in 1494, and was long the favorite haunt of pirates, among whom was Gibbs.
An Island Fr. Ue Des Pins (In The S. Pacific), belonging to France, about 12 m. in circumference, lying off the S. E. extremity of New Caledonia, of which it is a dependency, in lat. 22° 38' S., Ion. 167° 25' E.; pop. (exclusive of convicts sent since 1872) estimated at 800. The greater part of the surface is a dry plateau, but in the S. E. part a single peak, the mountain of N'gu, rises abruptly to the height of 872 ft., forming a conspicuous landmark. The smaller islands clustered about this one are thickly covered with valuable wood, which is largely exported; but the isle of Pines, in spite of its name (which is said to have been given by Capt. Cook, who discovered the island in 1774 and cut spars here for his vessel), has a generally barren surface, with a broad belt of fertile land near the shore. The aboriginal inhabitants, of the same race as those in New Caledonia, were formerly cannibals; of late years they have become partially civilized. There are some European settlers, who cultivate the coast lands. In 1872 the French assembly selected the isle of Pines as a penal station for offenders condemned to imprisonment in a fortress.
Several of the participants in the communal insurrection of 1871 are confined there.