Inaccessible Island is an extinct volcano, 14 km in area, rising out of the South Atlantic Ocean 45 km southwest of Tristan da Cunha. It is part of the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha, which is part of the overseas territory of the United Kingdom, known as Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Throughout its history it has had no permanent population and together with Gough Island is a protected wildlife reserve which has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Inaccessible Island was first discovered in 1652 during a voyage by 't Nachtglas, a Dutch ship, 146 years after Tristan da Cunha was first sighted by Portuguese sailors. When mapped by sailors, the newly found island was referred to as "inaccessible" because the crew who landed were not able to get further inland than the beach, as they were blocked by 1000-foot high cliffs. However, several later expeditions went deeper into the island to uncover more details about its wildlife. The Stoltenhoff brothers, who arrived on Inaccessible from Germany in 1871, lived there for several years intending to make a living sealing and selling their wares to passing traders (forgetting how infrequently Inaccessible had visitors). However, due to the scarcity of food, they were "overjoyed" to be rescued in 1873 during HMS Challenger's visit to examine the flora and fauna there. The South African author Eric Rosenthal chronicled the Stoltenhoffs' adventure in 1952. The nearby Stoltenhoff Island is named after the brothers. In 1922, the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition's ship, the Quest, stopped by Inaccessible briefly, and on-board naturalist Hubert Wilkins discovered a bird later named (after him) the Wilkins Bunting (Nesospiza wilkinsi).