If an island is a body of land completely surrounded by water, how can there be such a thing as an “inland” island? That’s easy. An inland island is a body of land completely surrounded by rivers.
The Araguaia is a 1,360-mile-long river in Brazil whose waters empty into the ocean near the mouth of the Amazon River. At one point along its course, the Araguaia divides into two branches, called the Braco Minor and the Braco Major. Both branches flow for about 200 miles before joining together to form the Araguaia River again.
The land between the two branches of the Araguaia is called the Island of Bananal. Bananal is the world’s largest inland island, about 200 miles long and up to about 35 miles wide, covering an area larger than Puerto Rico.
Another Brazilian island, called Marajo, lies at the mouth of the Amazon. The waters of the Amazon and other rivers flow all around the island. The largest island on earth completely surrounded by fresh water, Marajo measures about 13,500 square miles, more than twice the area of all the Hawaiian Islands put together!