From Ishi the last native American, to an 86 year-old, butt naked Japanese Hermit, living on an island, this is a list of the 10 most isolated people in the world. Now that we live in such a connected world, it’s fascinating to see how some people can live such isolated, unconnected lives. We live in the age of information, where almost everything we could ever want to know is only a few clicks away, but some of these people aren’t even aware that people outside their tribe exist.
The Mountain People, or the Ramapo Mountan Indians, are 5000 people in the Ramapo mountains, in New York. They are believed to be of European, possibly Dutch origin, who began to live and get into relationships, with Indians, and people of African heritage. It’s mysterious how such a diverse group of people ended up living in a seemingly random mountain in the U.S. According to a New Yorker article from 1938, there were several families of albinos living in the tribe, and the queen of the Albinos travelled with a circus. The Barnum & Bailey sideshow to be precise, and they marketed her as a wild girl, captured in the Australian bush.
The Man of The Hole
The Man of the Hole lives in Brazil, and is the last surviving member of his tribe. Nobody knows what language he speaks, what tribe he was a part of, or how they all died. He consistently builds small homes, and then abandons them. Inside each of the homes there is a deep hole. Nobody knows what the hole is for. Some speculate the he uses it to capture animals, or to hide in it. He was attacked by gunman, believed to be ranchers, in 2009. A protection post in the area was looted, and shotgun shells left on the floor. It’s believed that he survived the attack, but isn’t known whether he was injured or not.
Ishi – Last Native American
Ishi was declared the last “wild Indian” in America. He left isolation in 1911, at 50 years old. He was named Ishi, which means “man”, because he cannot speak his own name, or the name of his tribe due to the nature of his culture. After leaving isolation he was studied at a university for five years. He was attacked, in 1908, before meeting with the modern world. A group of surveyors, came and attacked his uncle, his younger sister, and his mother. They all ran except for his mother, they had no choice but to leaver her, as she was too sick to escape. His sister, and uncle never returned to the campsite.
Agafia is a Russian hermit who lives alone in the Taiga, and has done for almost her entire life. Videos of her online, have gotten millions of views. She’s an Old Believer. She lived in the wilderness for 71 years, and only left to give a message to the world, “I wish everyone good health, spiritual salvation, prosperity, well-being and long years ahead”. She used to be part of a larger clan, but is the only surviving member. Agafia claims that the air and water outside of taiga makes her sick. She’s only ever left four times. Once the Soviet Union paid for her to travel around the empire for a month.
Masafumi lived as a hermit on a Japanese Island, where he was the only human, for 20 years, butt naked. He lives on Sotobanari island, a place where fisherman avoid, and so do most people due to it’s dangerous waters. Masafumi only leaves a few times a month for essential food, and other resources, other than that he never divorces himself from his home, and lives purely as an island man. He stopped wearing clothes 20 years ago, and loves rice cakes. As a 76 year-old-man, he plans on spending the rest of life on the island he loves. “I don’t do what society tells me, but I do follow the rules of the natural world. You can’t beat nature, so you just have to obey it completely,” Masafumi Oura. Like many of the isolated people on this list, he chooses to live this way.
Heimo Korth and his wife Edna, are two of the only permanent residents of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Their meals come from nature, through hunting and fishing. They’ve been living in the 19 million acre park for the past 30 years. He met Edna, while living in an Eskimo Whaling Village. They live alone, with the closest humans being around 100 miles away from them. There are very few isolated people living there. They have four daughters, who they raise 400 miles away from civilisation. Korth wasn’t happy with an ordinary life, so at 19 he left on an adventure, and ended up in Alaska.
The Lone Brazilian
The Lone Brazilian is the last surviving member of a Brazilian tribe. He lives alone, and is so well camouflaged that he can barely be seen, and if you weren’t trying to see him, you never would. People have been trying to make contact with him for over 15 years, but he’s an elusive man. Ranching and logging companies began tearing away his home, and the government had to create a zone around where he was living, that was off-limits to trespassing. The Australian also stole the children of thousands of the families, claiming that this was to help the assimilate. He’s one of the most isolated people in the world.
3000 people are living in Southeastern West Papua, and had no awareness of people outside of their own tribe, until 1970. They live in tree houses mainly, although some of them have moved into the local villages. They get their meals through hunting, gathering, and growing. They’re resourceful, and have honed their techniques for hunting and fishing over many generations. They have gender roles, such as the preparation of sago, and the performance of ceremonies where only male adults take part. The leader of the Korowais is a “Big man”, someone who isn’t formally in charge, but has authority due to his skills, or wisdom.
The Pintupi Aboriginals
The Pintupi are an Australian aboriginal group who are a part of the Western Desert cultural group. There has recently been a significant increase in their populations, and in the speakers of the Pintupi language. A while ago these isolated people were forced to relocate when the Australian government wanted to strike her homeland with missiles, even though they knew the area was inhabited.
Barrientos is a cowboy living alone. For the most of his 81 years he has been living in isolation. He lives in Patagonia as a Shepard, and rancher, known as a gaucho. He used to live on O’Higgens island, with his large family. But eventually each of them left the island one by one, and vengeful neighbours burnt down their house. He only briefly interacts with people every now and then in order to sell his cattle. Barrientos lives in a house boat, a fishing boat he converted into a house. He has two buildings where he lives. A small house with a radio, his only contact with the modern world, and another small building he uses to store food. Barrientos says it’s better to live alone, and enjoys his life.