When an island is small in size it is called an islet. As a general criterion, the vast majority of islets are uninhabited places. This is usually due to a specific reason: its small size is associated with a lack of natural resources and this circumstance makes life difficult in society .
From a geographical point of view, a set of islands is known as an archipelago . Usually every archipelago is formed by a group of islands of different sizes and, in parallel, a series of islets. The archipelago has a common name (eg Canary Islands) and each island and islet is also given a specific name for its geographic identification.
From an administrative point of view, every islet is part of a nation. In some cases, these mini-islands have a strategic value because of their geographic location or because they are a territory related to a territorial dispute. Islet
In antiquity, some islets near the coast were human settlements.
The coastal islets were inhabited for several reasons:
1) served as a place of defense against possible enemy attacks;
2) were used to store goods provisionally before being permanently installed on land;
3) these territories were used for funerary purposes, more specifically as a necropolis or to perform sacred rituals.
On the Caribbean coast the term cayo is used instead of islet
Etymologically Cayo is a word that comes from the Arahuaca languages spoken in the Caribbean and Central America. For this reason, most islets are called cayos, such as “Cayo Cordoba” in the San Andrés archipelago in Colombia or “Cayo Santa Maria” in Cuba. Islet
In the history of Caribbean countries, the cayos were used as a refuge for pirates and corsairs. Nowadays some of these small territories have become luxury residential areas.
From geography to physiology
The nomenclature of some geographic features is used in the physiological description of the human body. In this sense, an isthmus is a narrow band that joins two larger territories, but there are also parts of the human body with this term, such as the isthmus of the fauces or the isthmus of the thyroid. Islet
The same is true for the word islet, as there is a bony islet and pancreatic islets.