|This island was discovered by the Spanish explorer Juan Sebastián Elcano on March 18, 1522. Elcano did not name the island, however.|
Having found the island unnamed, the Dutch captain Anthonie van Diemen named it Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch for New Amsterdam) after his ship in 1633.
French Captain François Péron, was marooned three years on this island. Péron had been on the French ship Emélie, which wrecked on New Amsterdam Island in 1792. In 1795 he was taken to Australia by ship Ceres. His 'Memoires', in which he describes his survival alone on New Amsterdam, were published in a limited edition and are now an expensive collectors' item.
In 1871 a British frigate, HMS Megaera, was wrecked in this lonely island. Most of the 400 persons on board had to remain upwards of three months on the island.
The islands of Île Amsterdam and Île Saint-Paul were attached to Madagascar in 1924 and hence became a French colony.
The first French base in New Amsterdam was erected in 1949, and was originally called Camp Heurtin.
The Global Atmosphere Watch still has an atmospheric research station on Île Amsterdam.