- For the smaller island off the coast of The Island, see Hydra Island.
- For the orchestral piece, see "The Island" (composition).
- For specific locations on the Island, see Locations.
The Island is the geographic location of the Lost castaways, covering a period of at least 2000 years. From a literary perspective, the writers of Lost project the Island as both a location and an entity, with its own characteristics and influence.
The Island has healing powers and cured John Locke of his paralysis and Rose Nadler of her cancer. It also functions as a "cork" that suppresses a dangerous force from escaping. At the Heart of the Island is a bright light, the source of "life, death, (and) rebirth" that needs to be protected. The current protector is Hugo Reyes. The protector also brings others to the island for various purposes, such as becoming the new protector of the Island.
The Island was inhabited by Egyptians and possibly Sumerians and Southeast Asians in the distant past, and also was home to a village of Latin-speaking people who were shipwrecked there in the early first millennium. The Island frequently moves its physical location. The Island was in the South Pacific Ocean in 2004, and appears to have been both in the Mediterranean Sea and off the coast of Africa at some point in its history.
Nature and purpose
According to Jacob, the Island acts as a cork, holding back a malevolent force that would destroy the world if released. When the Man in Black made contact with the site of this suppression, the Heart of the Island, he transformed into a smoke monster that plagued the Island for thousands of years. A protector guards the Heart of the Island, the source of life, death, and rebirth. Despite the Heart, or possibly because of it, not all who die on the Island move on - some remain, whispering. Other apparitions of various origin also appear, often confronting people with images from their past.
The Heart of the Island manifests itself as electromagnetism concentrated in specific pockets. The Man in Black's people dug wells at these sites, and the Dharma Initiative built stations, including the Orchid and the Swan. Since at least 1977, when scientists penetrated a pocket, this energy has healed sickness, including cancer, paralysis, brain damage and male infertility, but it causes pregnant women to reject embryos, killing both mother and fetus. The electromagnetism also affects navigation, hiding the Island from the outside world, drawing back those who leave the Island, moving the Island and even transporting travelers through time.
Classical Roman times
The Island's first known protector lived on the Island for an unknown number of years in a cave. In classical Roman times, a ship crashed near the Island and its passengers, likely Romans, built a village. One passenger, Claudia, gave birth to twins sons and the protector killed Claudia and adopted them. Jacob, one of the two sons, became the next Island protector. His fraternal twin (whose name is never revealed), became known as the Man in Black and transformed into the smoke monster. Both lived on the Island for thousands of years, long after their adoptive mother exterminated Claudia's people. ("Across the Sea")
Evidence suggests an early Egyptian presence on the Island. A Statue of Taweret stood until the mid 19th century. Hieroglyphs remain on many ancient structures, including the cork, the Temple, the Tunnels, the Lighthouse, and Ben's secret room. The Egyptians encountered the Monster in some incarnation - they engraved a mural depicting it with Anubis. It's possible that they also discovered and completed the frozen wheel the Man in Black built. At an unknown time, they seem to have left the Island; Jacob's tapestry, which features Egyptian iconography, depicts sailboats departing from the Island with the Statue of Taweret visible on the shore, leaving a rich legacy to later groups. Besides Jacob's tapestry, the DHARMA Initiative used hieroglyphs to indicate a system failure on the Countdown timer in the Swan and taught students about hieroglyphs in the classroom.
Other early inhabitants
Early civilizations on the Island built a number of structures, including several that remain as ruins.
Sometime after Jacob's mother's death, people built a cork at the Heart of the Island. (DVD commentary) This cork featured both Egyptian hieroglyphics and older Mesopotamian cuneiform writing, which ancient Iraqi civilizations used thousands of years ago. These island inhabitants evidently corked the Light following the Man in Black's transformation. (DVD commentary)
Jacob drew various travelers to the Island in the following years. By 1867, all had died. He then drew the Black Rock, which contained Magnus Hanso, 40 crew-members and a number of slaves, including Richard Alpert. All died but Richard, who joined Jacob. Jacob continued to draw people, and they formed a society later known as the Others.
1950s Army presence
The Island was one of several in the South Pacific that the United States Army designated for nuclear tests. Before tests began though, the Hostiles, under Richard Alpert, isolated and killed the army's initial scouting party of eighteen soldiers. Before this defeat, the scouting party did manage to transport a hydrogen bomb, nicknamed "Jughead" to the Island. A time traveling Daniel Faraday suggested the Others encase the bomb in concrete and bury it. They stored it unsealed in a subterranean chamber connected to the surface with a tunnel system. ("Jughead") ("Follow the Leader")
1970s - 1990s: The DHARMA Initiative
A new and large period of human activity began in the early 1970s under the leadership of the DHARMA Initiative, who found the Island via their Lamp Post station in Los Angeles. They constructed buildings all over the Island, including a series of isolated science stations and a community-style living facility. They dug tunnels, built roads and created a communications network.
During this time, Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking led the Others. Benjamin Linus, a former DHARMA employee, helped them kill nearly all members of the DHARMA Initiative using their own poison gas. Later, Charles was banished from the Island for poor conduct and Ben became the leader of the Others.
1980s - 2000s: Island castaways
Radio signals from the Island attracted a French science team to the Island in 1988. While the entire team survived the shipwreck, the smoke monster killed several of them and Danielle Rousseau killed the rest, believing them infected with a sickness. She lived on the Island till her 2004 death. In 2001, a storm stranded Desmond Hume on the Island, and shortly thereafter the last on-island DHARMA Initiative member recruited him to work in the Swan Station. Henry Gale's balloon crashed on the Island sometime around July 2004 and a drug smugglers' plane crashed on the Island sometime between the late 1990s and early 2000s.
2004 to present
On September 22, 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the Island. At least 70 passengers survived the crash, and they met the Island's other inhabitants, including Desmond, Rousseau and the Others. A few months later, the Swan imploded, revealing the Island to the outside world, at which point Widmore then sent armed mercenaries to the Island. In response, and to avoid further outside incursions, Ben utilized the frozen wheel to move the Island through space and time.
Three years later, Ajira Flight 316 landed on Hydra Island. The Man in Black managed to kill Jacob, but the survivors' leader, Jack, defeated him soon after in the Battle for the Island when the cork on the Island's Heart was removed, rendering him mortal. Jack killed the Man in Black by kicking him off the Island's cliff and sacrificed himself to save the Island. Another survivor, Hurley, became the Island's new protector with Ben Linus as his new second in command. He changed the rules that governed it, planning to let people leave freely and only come if they chose to.
According to the scale of Danielle Rousseau's maps, the Island is 60 km (40 mi) north to south, and about 45 km (30 mi) east to west. The diameter of the Island has been shown to be a several-days' walk, as demonstrated by the Tailies traveling to join the midsection survivors, by Kate and Sawyer's return from the Hydra Island, and by Kate, Locke, Sayid and Rousseau's journey to The Flame and then to the Barracks. ("The Other 48 Days") ("I Do")
The Island has many different geographical zones. There is a very distinctive coastline comprised mostly of beach sand. Some of the beach is rocky and hard to navigate, such as the cove where Kelvin kept the Elizabeth ("Live Together, Die Alone"), and a rocky peninsula that the Tailies went around rather than over to save time ("Abandoned"). A cape was mentioned by Locke ("The Little Prince"). There also appear to be steep cliff faces that drop off into the sea, such as where Dave is seen jumping away from Hurley. ("Dave") One such cliff hides the cliffside cave. ("The Substitute")
Jungle and forest seem to make up most of the interior of the Island. Although they run together, there are distinct differences between them: the forest appears to be more sparse, with smaller trees; while the jungle appears to be more dense, with more hanging vines over-head. Within the jungle area is also the dark territory, a dangerous area where the Monster seems to roam.
In the hills is a plateau called the Mesa where Hurley's golf course was located. Hurley rode the DHARMA van on the Mesa. ("Enter 77") The caves are also located near the Mesa. There is also a cliff next to some mountains that was viewed from afar by Sayid, Charlie, and Ana Lucia while searching for Henry Gale's balloon. ("The Whole Truth"). Finally, multiple ravines exist on the Island, such as one that Jack nearly fell into, or one which was crossed by Hurley and Charlie using a rickety rope bridge. ("White Rabbit") ("Numbers")
There are mountains throughout the Island, including at least one volcano in the South. There are two main ridges, both stretching from North to South. The valley between the mountain ridges contains rivers, streams, and waterfalls. Part of it is known as the North Valley. There is also a lake located next to the sonar fence.
Open fields are common on the Island, such as where Shannon translated the distress signal and where Hurley and Charlie drove the DHARMA van. ("Pilot, Part 2") ("Tricia Tanaka Is Dead") They seem to be mostly on hill-sides and on the Mesa. An area named Pascal Flats is shown on Ben's map, however, not much is known of this area other than it is south of the Barracks and the Pearl, and southwest of the radio tower. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
There is at least one volcano on the Island. Olivia mentions to her class how the Island had volcanic reactions occurring "a long time ago", suggesting it was dormant or extinct. ("The Man Behind the Curtain") Furthermore, the word "crater" is seen on Rousseau's map.
There are several clues to the Island being volcanic. The general topography of the Island is typical of a volcanic island, such as the apparent lava-formed coastlines. The powdery substance surrounding Jacob's cabin also looked similar to volcanic ash. The sign Bernard was making in "S.O.S." consisted of volcanic rocks. Moreover, The Barracks appear to sit in a crater-like formation, possibly a caldera or volcanic crater. ("A Tale of Two Cities") Locke and Charlie also discovered a lava tube being used as a den by one or more polar bears. Finally, Jack and Sayid surmised that the Swan's power source was geothermal. While volcanic activity is not required for geothermal power, it makes the process much easier.
When Desmond removes the cork stone within the Heart in "The End", temporarily extinguishing the light, the hole where the cork resided fills with the orange glow of "unseen molten activity," and the entire Island (including Hydra Island) begins to shake and disintegrate. It thus appears that the Heart is at least partly responsible for holding volcanic and seismic activity on the Island at bay, and that it is volcanic activity that threatens to destroy the Island in the series finale.
Sites remain from a number of Island crashes and shipwrecks. The Black Rock stood deep in the jungle till it exploded in 2007. The Drug smugglers' plane was perched above the Pearl for some years before it fell to the ground below. Henry Gale's balloon still hangs in a tree.
Oceanic 815's passengers created several locations to survive on the seemingly deserted Island. They lived at a beach camp, though some temporarily lived in caves. They made a garden to grow food and a graveyard for their dead. They began building a church, which later turned into a sweat lodge. The tail section survivors built a tiger pit for prisoners. The survivors also made a golf course for recreation, and they sometimes swam at a waterfall.
DHARMA Initiative locations
The DHARMA Initiative built a series of science facilities, referred to as "stations", across the Island. Most of these stations have been destroyed, abandoned, ceased functioning, or are in a general state of disrepair. Known stations include the Swan, the Pearl, the Arrow, the Staff, the Flame, the Hydra, the Looking Glass, the Tempest, and the Orchid. Other DHARMA Initiative locations include the Barracks where they lived and the sonar fence that surrounds it, a capsule dump and a radio tower. They also built several docks, including the wharf and the Pala Ferry. Horace Goodspeed built a cabin.
Besides the DHARMA facilities they later occupied, the Others lived in several locations. They lived in one camp in the 1970s and set up another near the beach after they left the Barracks. They used a primitive village while in the Barracks to hide their true nature, and a door at the entrance mimicked the entrance to a DHARMA station. The Others also built a runway on Hydra Island. Many of the group lived at an ancient Temple. The Man in Black briefly set up a separate camp.
A few locations on the Island were made by unknown previous inhabitants of the Island from before the DHARMA Initiative's time. Ancient societies built a statue of Taweret where Jacob lived, the Temple where the Others lived and other structures that remained as ruins. An ancient stone doorway led to a chamber that summoned the Monster, and other tunnels formed an underground network. The Man in Black's people dug wells, including a subterranean chamber that eventually housed the frozen wheel.
Jacob used a lighthouse to observe his candidates, and these names also appeared in a cave located halfway down a sea cliff. A stone bench stood somewhere between the Black Rock and the Statue thousands of years ago.
Flora and fauna
Among the Island's vegetation are Banyan trees and fruit-bearing mango, papaya, and guava plants. There are also bananas, passion fruit, coconuts and some star fruit. ("Hearts and Minds")
Native animals encountered by the survivors include wild chicken, bees, tree frogs, and spiders. From the sea, sea turtles, various types of fish, shellfish, and sea urchin have been found. The Island is also in the path of tagged migratory seagulls. The Island has a number of animal species not native to the South Seas, including boars, Mikhail's cat Nadia, and a domesticated dove. The Others also kept cattle at the Flame, and at least two horses have been seen: one ridden by Bea Klugh, and a mysterious black horse seen by Kate and Sawyer.
- More info: Membata, Maps, The Numbers#Natural occurrences, Island in Google Maps, Island-Tunisia Oppositism
The Island has no fixed location. It continually moves.
The U.S. Army discovered and infiltrated the Island on September 23, 1954 as is evidenced by a photograph pinned on a wall in the Lamp Post station beneath a church in Los Angeles. The DHARMA Initiative found the Island via the Lamp Post, which they constructed over a "unique pocket of electromagnetic energy" that connected to similar pockets such as the Island's. The DHARMA Initiative built a pendulum and created a series of equations to accurately predict the Island's movements. Eloise Hawking explained that the Island is accessible through "windows" that open at different locations for limited periods of time. She found a particular window for the Oceanic Six to get back to the Island and had them take Ajira Flight 316 to access it. ("316")
The pilot of Oceanic Flight 815, Seth Norris said the plane had lost radio contact before the crash and had changed course towards Fiji. He estimated they were 1000 miles off course by the time they crashed. ("Pilot, Part 1") Desmond believed the Island was one week east of Fiji, traveling at nine knots. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1") This fits with Rousseau's statement that she was three days out of Tahiti when she wrecked on the Island. ("Solitary")
The Oceanic Six were rescued by Penelope's boat Searcher, from which they sailed to the Island of Sumba to stage their reappearance to the world. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 2") This places the Island's location in the South Pacific in late 2004. It is known to have been located somewhere between Hawaii and Guam in 2007, as evidenced by the window Ajira 316 used to get to the Island. ("316")
Individuals trying to find the Island, such as the team aboard Charles Widmore's boat, found locating it difficult, even with a set of coordinates. While Naomi Dorrit did manage to find the Island in her helicopter, it took a satellite phone's GPS system for the freighter team to lock on to the Island's position. Moreover, the DHARMA Initiative had to use a sonar beacon in a station they called the Looking Glass to guide submarines to the Island.
Moving the Island
Turning the frozen wheel in a secret chamber underneath the Orchid station could move the Island. Turning it produces a loud noise and bright light, (similar to the "discharge") both on and off the Island. After this disturbance the Island disappears from its location in the ocean. The Island, along with its smaller, companion island, vanish from the space they occupied, leaving a vacuum in the ocean that seawater quickly fills. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 3")
Skipping through time
After the Island was moved by Ben, the remaining survivors from Flight 815, Juliet, and the new arrivals from the freighter began moving erratically through time. The effect would begin with a ringing or buzzing noise that would build in intensity until the entire Island would be engulfed in white light during which the time flash would take place, moving them into the past or future. ("Because You Left") At the direction of the Man in Black in the form of Christian Shephard, the time flashes ended after John Locke realigned the frozen wheel. The time-shifting survivors were deposited in 1974. ("This Place Is Death") ("LaFleur")
In the survivors' afterlife, they imagined the Island as but a memory, just below the surface of their collective consciousness. The Island therefore appeared underwater on the ocean floor.
Many characters can call the Island their home, or even birthplace. (Note: Some of the babies born on the Island were probably conceived on the Island, however many times we do not know if the mother stayed on the Island from conception till the birth of the child uninterrupted) These characters include (in chronological order);
- Ancient Roman times: Jacob and his brother - born to Claudia and an unknown father. Claudia shipwrecked onto the Island and a mysterious woman, native to the Island, helped her deliver her babies. To their surprise, she was carrying twins, but Claudia only named the older child, Jacob, after which the woman murdered her. The children were conceived and brought virtually fully to term off the Island, Claudia only arriving on the Island at most a few days before giving birth. Jacob also died on the Island in 2007, when his former follower Benjamin Linus stabbed him, being manipulated by Jacob's brother, who also died on the Island after being shot by Kate and pushed off a cliff by Jack.
- 1937: Eloise Hawking - According to the Mysteries of the Universe, Eloise doesn't have a birth certificate, indicating that she was probably born on the Island. She left the Island under unknown circumstances possibly related to her pregnancy, and operates at the Lamp Post. It is not known if she was conceived on the Island and brought fully to term on the Island.
- 1971: Charlotte Lewis - Born to Jeanette and David Lewis. Charlotte and her mother left the Island hours before the Incident via the submarine. She also died on the Island during the fourteenth time shift because of temporal displacement, caused by her previous life on the Island as a child. It is not known if she was conceived and brought fully to term on the Island without interruption.
- Between 1977 and 1978: Daniel Faraday - Possibly born on the Island to Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore. It is not known if he was conceived and brought fully to term on the Island without interruption but it was rumored that Eloise left the Island while pregnant with him.
- 1977: Miles Straume - Born to Pierre and Lara Chang in the Barracks' delivery room during the time of the DHARMA Initiative. Miles and his mother left the Island hours before The Incident via the submarine. It is not known if he was conceived and brought fully to term on the Island without interruption.
- 1977: Ethan Rom - Born to Horace Goodspeed and Amy in the Barracks' delivery room during the time of the DHARMA Initiative. Ethan allied himself with the Hostiles since the Purge. He also died on the Island in 2004, after a vengeful Charlie shot him. He is the last baby known to have been conceived, brought fully to term on the Island and born there.
- 1988: Alex Linus/Rousseau - Born to Danielle Rousseau and Robert. Danielle gave birth on the Island alone in January of the same year, after murdering Robert and Lacombe. Ben kidnapped the child and raised her as his own on the Island ever since, to Widmore's chagrin. She also died on the Island in 2004, after being shot by Keamy. Conceived off Island with her mother arriving on the Island while seven months pregnant with her.
- 2004: Aaron Littleton - Born to Claire Littleton and Thomas. Claire gave birth on their forty-first day on the Island whilst in the jungle. Kate delivered the baby while a time-traveling Sawyer watched silently. Aaron was rescued, but his mother abandoned him on their last day on the Island and chose to stay behind for unknown reasons. Conceived off Island with his mother arriving on the Island while eight months pregnant with him.
- 2004: As a side note, Ji Yeon, the daughter of Sun & Jin Kwon, although not born on the Island, was conceived on it. Sun left the Island just before the end of the first trimester. Ji Yeon was born healthy with no complications off Island.
Some examples of this personification are:
- After his first encounter with the Monster, Locke stated, "I looked into the eye of this Island, and what I saw... was beautiful." ("White Rabbit")
- Locke told Jack that the Island brought all the survivors to it. ("Exodus, Part 2")
- Locke told Charlie he needed to talk to the Island. ("Further Instructions")
- Ben told Locke that the Island is very selective regarding whom it chooses to heal. He added, "I can't wait to show you what this Island can do." ("The Brig") The Island chose not to heal/prevent Ben's tumor and Jack's appendicitis.
- Tom told Michael off the Island that the Island wouldn't let him commit suicide because Michael still had "work to do". ("Meet Kevin Johnson")
- Eloise told Desmond that the Island wasn't done with him when he attempted to leave the Lamp Post. ("316")
The survivors have various different nicknames for the Island and some of its geographical features:
- "Heart of Darkness" - Jack - A reference to the novel by Joseph Conrad
- "Craphole Island" - Shannon ("Raised by Another")
- "The Magical Forest" - Sawyer
- "Monkey Island" - Sawyer
- "Mount Vesuvius" - Sawyer
- "Mystery Frickin' Island" - Shannon
- "Death" - Charlotte ("This Place Is Death")
- "This rock" - Sawyer ("Recon")
- "Hell" - Anthony Cooper, The Man in Black, Richard Alpert ("The Brig") ("Ab Aeterno")
- "The Cork" - Jacob ("Ab Aeterno")
- "God Forsaken Rock" - Man in Black ("Everybody Loves Hugo")
- According to special features on the Season 1 DVD, the events described in "Whatever the Case May Be", concerning the Island tide changes, were planned by the directors. They wanted to "write-off" the fuselage set because Oahu's rising winter tides would eventually submerge the set, a reason similar to the in-universe reason Sayid gave for moving away from the fuselage.
- The Island's volcano was originally intended to play a bigger role in the show, namely in the series finale. According to Damon Lindelof, it was planned to be the birthplace of the monster and the fight between Jack and The Man in Black would take place in the midst of magma after it erupted. Ultimately the idea was scrapped due to budget constraints, and the concern that the fight scene would be compared with a similar duel in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith between Anakin and Obi-Wan, in the midst of a volcanic planet. It was thought the scene would look "Mickey Mouse" next to it. 
- Sri Lanka Video - First part of video contains direct information about the Island
- Map - Disambiguation page for various maps regarding the Island
- Flight path of Oceanic 815
- Island in Google Maps