- 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 Lost castaways throughout time, covering a period of at least 2000 years. Lost castaways are mysteriously "brought" to the Island, presumably through the use of its mystical and electromagnetic properties. 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 evidently serves as a cork, preventing a mysterious evil from escaping into the rest of the world. The suppression of this evil serves as the source of all life, death and rebirth. Given its importance, a protector is charged with protecting the Island. The Island moves to various geographic locations, making it difficult to find. The Island seems to have been in the Mediterranean ("Across the Sea"), mid-Atlantic ("Namaste") ("Ab Aeterno") and also the South Pacific at various points in its history. Its current location is unknown.
- More info: Membata, Maps, The Numbers#Natural occurrences, Island in Google Maps, Island-Tunisia Oppositism
The Island appears to have no fixed location, as it is always moving. The present location of the Island is unknown.
The DHARMA Initiative found the Island via the Lamp Post, a station they occupied beneath a church in Los Angeles. The Lamp Post was constructed over a "unique pocket of electromagnetic energy" that connects to similar pockets all over the world, one of which is associated with the Island. Figuring that the Island was always moving, the DHARMA Initiative built a pendulum and created a series of equations to accurately predict where the Island would be, in time. 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 original location, at least within the established timeline of the show, within the South Pacific.
Individuals trying to find the Island, such as the team aboard Charles Widmore's boat, the Kahana, found it difficult to find the Island, 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, it is known that the DHARMA Initiative had to use a sonar beacon in a station they called the Looking Glass to guide submarines to the Island. Other issues surrounding the Island's location include how a small plane which launched from Nigeria could have traveled all the way to the Pacific Ocean before it crashed (assuming that is indeed where the Island is).
Moving the Island
Ben turned the frozen wheel located in a secret chamber underneath the Orchid station, which caused the Island to move. Soon after the wheel was turned, a loud noise and bright light (similar to the "discharge") were experienced throughout the local area, both on and off the Island. This disturbance happened immediately before the Island disappeared from the ocean. The Island, along with its smaller, companion island, known as Hydra Island, vanished from the space they occupied, leaving a vacuum in the ocean that was quickly filled in by seawater. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 2")
After moving the Island, during a surprise visit to Charles Widmore's penthouse suite Ben promised him that he would never find the Island. Widmore replies with "that island is mine and it will be again". ("The Shape of Things to Come")
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 Template: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 life without the Island, with the Island as but a memory, just below the surface of their collective consciousness. The Island therefore appeared underwater on the ocean floor. Several locations on the Island such as the Barracks, the sonar fence and the remnants of the Statue of Taweret are seen, all covered in ocean plant life and coral. ("LA X, Part 1")
Egyptians & early inhabitants
Evidence suggests an early Egyptian presence on the Island. A Statue of Taweret stood till the mid 19th Century. Hieroglyphics remain on many ancient structures, including 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. ("Dead Is Dead") 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. They left a legacy to later groups. Besides Jacob's tapestry, the DHARMA Initiative used hieroglyphs to indicate a system failure on the Swan's Countdown timer in the Swan and taught students about hieroglyphs in the classroom.
Nothing definitely dates the Egyptians' time on the island. Hieroglyphics at the Heart of the Island though suggest they predate Jacob. Hieroglyphics also decorate the frozen wheel chamber that the Man in Black apparently first discovered.
Mother, Jacob and the Man in Black
Sometime in a classical Roman time period, some 2,000 years before the crash of Oceanic 815, Mother comes upon a pregnant woman named Claudia drinking from a nearby stream. Claudia arrived on the Island via a ship wreck which left her and the rest of the crew scattered all over the ocean, landing on different shores of the Island. Mother takes the woman back to her primitive cave to treat her injuries and feeds her. ("Across the Sea")
A short time later after coming to the cave, Claudia goes into labor with Mother acting as a midwife. Claudia gives birth to a beautiful blue-eyed baby boy, which she names Jacob. Mother delivers the peaceful boy and wraps him in a white cloth. Unbeknownst to Claudia she was pregnant with twins. About a minute after Jacob is born, another boy is born. Unlike Jacob, he is agitated and restless. Claudia says she had only one name picked out, so the second boy, wrapped in a black cloth, would go on to be nameless. Claudia asks to see the second boy, Mother says "I'm sorry" and strikes her in the head with a rock, killing Claudia. ("Across the Sea")
1867 - The Black Rock Arrives
Other known visitors to the Island include the sailors of the Black Rock, which arrived on the Island in 1867 after leaving Portsmouth, England. ("Ab Aeterno") The crew consisted of Magnus Hanso, 40 crew-members, and a number of slaves, including Richard Alpert, bought in places such as Tenerife. The blast door map says that the remains of the ship's owner, Magnus Hanso, are buried somewhere on the Island, presumably near the Black Rock.
Jacob and The Man in Black have inhabited the Island for some time before the Black Rock arrived. Jacob told Richard that there were many who came before him, but they had all died; insinuating that there have been many visitors to the Island before 1867.
United States Army
The Island was one of several in the South Pacific designated for nuclear tests by the United States Army in the 1950s. However, the initial scouting party of eighteen soldiers of an Army battalion, was isolated and eventually killed by the Hostiles under Richard Alpert. Before this defeat, the scouting party did manage to transport a hydrogen bomb, named "Jughead," to the Island. Per Daniel Faraday's instructions, the bomb should have been encased in concrete and buried somewhere on the Island to keep it from detonating, ("Jughead") but the Others stored it unsealed in a subterranean chamber, connected with a tunnel system. ("Follow the Leader")
A large new 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. The DHARMA Initiative had gathered proof of the Island's existence and, assuming correctly that the Island was always moving, used the Lamp Post to accurately predict where the Island would be.
Construction projects occurred across the Island, including a series of isolated science stations. They also built a community-style living facility known as the Barracks. Tunnels were dug, along with a limited number of road projects. The Island was also equipped with a communications network.
During this time, Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking were leading the Others. Benjamin Linus, a former DHARMA member, aided them in what would become known as the Purge, which resulted in the deaths of nearly all members of the DHARMA Initiative. Later, Charles was banished from the Island for poor conduct and Ben became the leader of the Others.
- A French science team, attracted by radio signals from the Island, arrived around 1988. While several members of the team survived the shipwreck, only Danielle Rousseau and, possibly, Montand survived after a mysterious sickness, which apparently caused her team to act as though they were not themselves. ("This Place Is Death") After killing everyone in her team to protect herself from becoming "sick", Danielle took up residence on the Island for more than 16 years until she was killed in December 2004.
- Some time during 2001 Desmond Hume got stranded on the Island while racing across the Pacific on his sailboat "Elizabeth". He got into a storm, was knocked unconscious, and rescued by DHARMA Initiative member Kelvin Inman. Sometime later Desmond accidently killed Kelvin while trying to leave the Island on the same boat he(Desmond) came in, leaving Desmond alone in the Swan Station. On December 31, 2004, after over three years on the Island, Desmond was rescued along with the Oceanic Six.
- Henry Gale's balloon crashed on the Island sometime around July 2004. Henry Gale survived the crash long enough to write a note to his wife Jennifer. He died (or was killed) sometime in the following months after his crash.
- A drug smugglers' plane crashed on the Island sometime between the late 1990s and early 2000s. There were no survivors.
- On September 22, 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the Island during an electromagnetic event precipitated by Desmond Hume's failure to push the button in the Swan station on the Island. At least 70 passengers survived the crash.
- On December 17, 2004, Naomi Dorrit parachuted onto the Island after her helicopter went down. A few days later, the Kahana's science team and mercenary team came to the Island. Naomi and the mercenaries were eventually killed. The three-member science team remained stranded on the Island after the Kahana exploded, while pilot Frank Lapidus escaped with the Oceanic Six. ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")
- In early 2008, Ajira Airways Flight 316 passed through a "window" to the Island about ten hours into its scheduled flight from Los Angeles to Guam, and was landed on the Hydra Island by its pilot, Frank Lapidus. At least a dozen passengers, including Lapidus, Sun-Hwa Kwon, Ben Linus, Caesar, and Ilana were stranded there, while Jack Shephard, Kate Austen, Hugo Reyes and Sayid Jarrah were teleported to the year 1977 before the plane made an emergency landing on Hydra Island. ("316") ("Namaste")
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, sea turtles 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.
The DHARMA Initiative brought certain non-native animals, such as polar bears, sharks, rabbits, and dolphins, to Hydra Island and modified them to an unknown degree. During the Purge, the polar bears escaped and made their way to the main island and beyond. ("Confirmed Dead")
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, Part 1"), 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") It 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 is 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 can be seen when Sayid, Charlie, and Ana Lucia were searching for Henry Gale's balloon. ("The Whole Truth"). Also, Jack was rescued by Locke from falling off a cliff. ("White Rabbit")
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. The Pascal Flats are shown on Ben's map. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1"). Not much is known of this area other than it is south of the Barracks and the Pearl, and southwest of the radio tower.
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. Overall, the Island's presumed location in the South Pacific seems to correspond with the notion of it being volcanic, as it is an area falling along the "Ring of Fire," so named because of a high frequency of seismic and volcanic occurrences.
On the DVD commentary track for "The Man Behind the Curtain", Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse point out an Easter egg when Olivia demonstrates the volcano model in her classroom. The producers stated that the volcano on the Island will be "less important than Annie, but still seismic"
When Desmond removes the cork stone within the Source in "The End", temporarily extinguishing the light, the hole where the cork resided fills with an orange glow, as of magma, and the entire Island (including Hydra Island) begins to shake and disintegrate. It thus appears that the Source 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.
Nature and purpose
According to Jacob, the island acts as a cork, holding back malevolence 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. Others apparitions of unknown origin also appear, often confronting people with images from their past.
The Heart of the Island manifests itself as electromagnetism concentrated in specific sites. The Man in Black's people dug wells at these sites, and the Dharma Initiative built stations, including the Orchid, which manipulated time, and the Swan. Since at least 1977, when scientists penetrated an electromagnetic pocket, this energy has healed sickness, including cancer, paralysis, brain damage and male infertility. The immunity boost though causes pregnant women to reject their embryos in the second trimester, killing both the mother and the 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.
Over time, a number of people have crashed or been shipwrecked on the Island.
The known crashes (in chronological order) are:
- An unnamed ship carrying a pregnant Claudia and her people.
- Black Rock, a ship located unusually deep in the Island's jungle
- Besixdouze, a vessel used by the French science expedition team
- Henry Gale's balloon, where Ben acquired his alias
- Desmond Hume was washed up on the Island while attempting to sail solo around the world
- Drug smugglers' plane that was perched above the Pearl
- Flight 815 broke apart mid-air and landed in three locations
- Flight 316 crash landed intact on the Hydra island
The various survivors on the Island have created locations in order to continue living while stranded on the seemingly deserted Island.
Some of the survivors' locations:
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.
The known stations are:
- The Swan (Electromagnetic research)
- The Pearl (Psychological research and/or observation)
- The Arrow (Defensive strategy development, intel gathering)
- The Staff (Medical research)
- The Flame (Communications)
- The Hydra (Zoological research)
- The Looking Glass (Signal jamming and sonar beacon)
- The Tempest (Toxic gas development)
- The Orchid (Space-time research)
Other DHARMA Initiative locations:
- A capsule dump, where the Pearl station observers apparently sent their reports
- The wharf, the Island's central port
- Pala Ferry, part of the DHARMA Island transportation system
- The Barracks, a group of modern homes and buildings which served as their living quarters
- The sonar fence, which surrounds and protects the Barracks
- A radio tower, designed to broadcast signals in a continuous loop over long distances
There are other location on the Island that were created by someone, possibly the DHARMA Initiative, but whose exact origin is unknown. A number of these have been occupied and used by the Others, similar to the stations.
Some locations used by the Others are:
- The decoy village, where the Others pretended to be primitive Island inhabitants
- "The door", a fake station entrance located at the decoy village
- A runway, on which the Others were working at the quarry
- Jacob's cabin, built by Horace Goodspeed and abandoned by Jacob
- The Others' camp, a place the Others lived at least through the 1970s
- The Others' beach camp, where Richard and his group lived in at least 2007
- The Temple, an ancient refuge and apparently the Others' headquarters
- Man in Black's camp,
A few locations on the Island are still deeply shrouded in mystery. These locations were made by unknown previous inhabitants of the Island, most likely before the DHARMA Initiative's time. These locations have not been explained, but only briefly mentioned or shown:
Some notable historic locations are:
- A statue of Taweret, an enormous statue of unknown origin.
- Ruins of some old structure, visited briefly by the Others.
- The Temple, within the "dark territory" and visited by:
- Wells, are scattered all over the Island.
- An underground chamber that contains the frozen wheel.
- An ancient stone doorway marked by hieroglyphs, which serves as the entrance to a long tunnel with a pool at the end that could be used to summon the Monster.
- A system of tunnels, that form part of an underground location used by the Hostiles.
- A lighthouse that Jacob used to observe his Candidates.
- A cave located halfway down a sea cliff. It is accessible only by a series of rope and bamboo ladders that extend from the top of the cliff to a narrow ledge near its entrance. Inside the cave are the names of former and future Candidates, some of which are crossed out.
- A stone bench probably located between the Black Rock and the Statue.
Many characters can call the Island their birthplace or even home, because they were born there. 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. 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 last Mysteries of the Universe, Ellie 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.
- 1971: Charlotte Lewis - Born to Jeanette Lewis and her first husband. 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.
- Between 1977 and 1978: Daniel Faraday - possibly born on island to Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore.
- 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. He's experienced nosebleeds during the time shifts, caused by his previous life on the Island as a child.
- 1977: Ethan Rom - born to Horace Goodspeed and Amy (surname unknown, possibly Rom) 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.
- 1989: Alex Linus/Rousseau - born to Robert (surname unknown) and Danielle Rousseau. 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.
- 2004: Aaron Littleton - born to Thomas (surname unknown) and Claire Littleton. Claire gave birth on their forty-first day on the Island whilst in the jungle. Kate delivered the baby whilst time-travelling 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.
Some examples of this personification are:
- Locke told Jack that the Island brought all the survivors to it. ("Exodus, Part 2")
- 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")
- 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 tells Desmond that "the Island isn't done with you yet". ("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, as they had to transport, assemble, and disassemble the entire thing every time they had to shoot a scene that required it.
- The Island is a tropical island. The Tropics of Cancer (north of the equator) and Capricorn (south of the equator) are both appoximately 23 degrees from the equator.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Island/Theories
- Does the Island manipulate/exert control over events in the outside world?
- Who were the original inhabitants of the Island?
- Why did the Island heal Locke's legs and Rose's cancer?
- 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