The Billion Dollar Island That Disappeared: Bermeja, Mexico 🗿
Old maps, oil, & the CIA: this one's got it all (🗿Amazing Places Series)
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The Billion Dollar Island That Disappeared:
Bermeja Island, Mexico (?)
There’s an island in the Gulf of Mexico that holds the key to billions of dollars of oil. Slight Problem though: we can’t agree if it’s actually there. It’s not small and it’s been on maps for the last 400 years, but we can’t seem to find it.
So who cares? Mexico does. Bc its worth about 22 billion bucks, give or take a few billion.
It’s called Bermeja, and it may (or may not be) about 100 miles off the coast of the Yucatan in Mexico. In the 70s, The US and Mexico set a pretty standard 200-nautical mile boundary in the gulf of Mexico. That left some gaps that one cared about for a while (actually 2 gaps but the other one’s not part of this story) … that is, until deep sea oil was discovered. Then amazingly both countries were intent on setting an exact line.
Bermeja is in maps and records since the 1500s through 1998. Even on google maps. It’s shown in the same place with roughly the same shape and description for 450 years. So it’s not weird for Mexico to assume it exists, and it’s pretty advantageous if it does: it would extend the Mexican boundary into a lot of that oil.
Mexico sent many missions in the late 90s to find it, with shiny equipment and hope in their eyes… but no one found Bermeja.
In 2000, without the ability to prove the island exists, Mexico relented to using the continental shelf as boundary, which essentially put most of the gap’s oil in the US.
So what happened to Bermeja? Some think the CIA destroyed it in a covert op that somehow leveled a 30 mi island without anyone noticing. Another theory is that it sunk or moved with shifts in the continental shelf. Tho the CIA does have a history of making things vanish, the best bet is that Bermeja actually never existed. It’s most likely that it was a mistake copied through centuries of maps. I tell my son it’s ok to make mistakes. Im now going to add: just try not to repeat it for 400 years.
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