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As the abstract of this article claims,

Madagascar was one of the last landmasses to be reached by people ... Madagascar was settled approximately 1200 years ago by a very small group of women (approx. 30), most of Indonesian descent (approx. 93%).

So is Madagascar the most-recently settled landmass in the world?

(I do not know what a good definition of "settle" is, but I might suggest this: Multiple generations living and reproducing continuously. This is to exclude places like Antarctica.)

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See Dewar, et al. "Stone tools and foraging in northern Madagascar challenge Holocene extinction models." PNAS, 110.31 (2013) for a newer and opposing point of view regarding Madagascar's late settlement. –  David Hammen May 4 at 21:01
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1. What do you mean under landmass? How big it should be? Are small islands counted? 2. Should it be an island, or may be peninsula, desert, steppe, plateu etc? 3. What do you mean under "exclude places like Antarctica"? –  Anixx May 4 at 22:27
    
I strongly disagree with the hold. Timelines of human settlement are a very important area of interest to historians and archaeologists. –  RI Swamp Yankee May 5 at 11:29
    
Antarctica. no doubt about it. –  Oldcat May 6 at 0:11

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

New Zealand is usually credited to be the last significant area on Earth to have been colonized by human beings in the sense of the question; as the first settlers seem to have arrived in the late 1200CE. By contrast, there are signs of human settlements on Madagascar dating from the beginning of the common era and records of trade with the island dating from around 700CE, so half a millennia before anyone stepped foot on New-Zealand (and indeed, even Iceland seems to have been colonized much later than Madagascar).

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