Queen Elizabeth Islands

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Queen Elizabeth Islands, northern Canada.
  Nunavut
  Northwest Territories
  Quebec
  Greenland

The Queen Elizabeth Islands (French: Îles de la Reine-Élisabeth; formerly Parry Islands or Parry Archipelago) are the northernmost cluster of islands in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, split between Nunavut and Northwest Territories in Northern Canada.

Geography[edit]

The islands, together 419,061 km2 (161,800 sq mi)[1] in area, were renamed as a group after Elizabeth II on her coronation as Queen of Canada in 1953. Most are uninhabited, but their main industry is oil drilling.[citation needed]

First sighted by Europeans in 1616, the Queen Elizabeth Islands were not fully explored and charted until the British Northwest Passage expeditions and later Norwegian exploration of the 19th century.

These islands were known as the Parry Archipelago for over 130 years. They were first named after British Arctic explorer Sir William Parry, who sailed there in 1820, aboard the Hecla. Since the renaming of the archipelago in 1953, the term Parry Islands continued to be used for its southwestern part (less Ellesmere Island and Sverdrup Islands). The regional break down of the archipelago is therefore as follows:

Ellesmere Island is the northernmost and by far the largest. The Sverdrup Islands are located west of Ellesmere Island and north of Norwegian Bay. The remaining islands further south and west, but north of Lancaster Sound, Viscount Melville Sound and McClure Strait have been carrying the name Parry Islands, which name until 1953 had also included the Sverdrup Islands and Ellesmere Island. South of Lancaster Sound, Viscount Melville Sound and McClure Strait are the remaining islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Major islands[edit]

Many of the islands are among the largest in the world, the largest being Ellesmere Island. Other major islands include Amund Ringnes Island, Axel Heiberg Island, Bathurst Island, Borden Island, Cornwall Island, Cornwallis Island, Devon Island, Eglinton Island, Ellef Ringnes Island, Mackenzie King Island, Melville Island, and Prince Patrick Island.[1]

Smaller islands[edit]

Other smaller but notable islands include; Beechey Island (74°43′N 091°51′W / 74.717°N 91.850°W / 74.717; -91.850 (Beechey Island)), which held the graves of Petty Officer John Torrington, Royal Marine Private William Braine, and Able Seaman John Hartnell, three members of Sir John Franklin's crew,[2][3] Hans Island (80°49′41″N 066°27′35″W / 80.82806°N 66.45972°W / 80.82806; -66.45972 (Hans Island)), a small, uninhabited barren knoll measuring 1.3 km2 (0.50 sq mi) whose ownership is disputed by Canada and Denmark,[4] the Cheyne Islands (76°18′22″N 097°31′12″W / 76.30611°N 97.52000°W / 76.30611; -97.52000 (Cheyne Islands)), three small (0.73 km2 (0.28 sq mi) together) islands that are Important Bird Area (#NU049) and a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site (NU site 5)[5] and Skraeling Island (78°54′42″N 075°37′58″W / 78.91167°N 75.63278°W / 78.91167; -75.63278 (Skraeling Island)) an important archaeological site where Inuit (Dorset, Thule) and Norse artifacts have been found.[6] They consist of Silurian and Carboniferous rocks covered with tundra.

Population[edit]

With a population of less than 400, the islands are nearly uninhabited. There are only three permanently inhabited places in the islands. The two municipalities are the hamlets of Resolute (population 229 as of the 2006 census[7]), on Cornwallis Island, and Grise Fiord (population 141 as of the 2006 census),[8] on Ellesmere Island. Alert with a population of 5 as of the 2006 census[9] is an Environment Canada weather station, a Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) atmosphere monitoring laboratory on Ellesmere Island, has several temporary inhabitants due to the co-located CFS Alert. Eureka, a small research base on Ellesmere Island, has a population of zero but at least 8 staff on a continuous rotational basis.

Only seasonally occupied are Camp Hazen on Ellesmere Island, McGill Arctic Research Station on Axel Heiberg Island, and Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island.

Formerly manned stations were Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island, Isachsen on Ellef Ringnes Island, and Fort Conger on Ellesmere Island.

Abandoned settlements are Dundas Harbour on Devon Island and Craig Harbour on Ellesmere Island.

Administration[edit]

Until 1999, the Queen Elizabeth Islands were part of the Baffin Region of the Northwest Territories.

With the creation of the Nunavut in 1999 all islands and fractions of islands of the archipelago east of the 110th meridian west became part of Qikiqtaaluk Region of the new territory, which was the major portion of the archipelago. The rest remained with the now-reduced Northwest Territories. Borden Island, Mackenzie King Island and Melville Island were divided between the two territories.

Prince Patrick Island, Eglinton Island and Emerald Island are the only notable islands that are now completely part of the Northwest Territories.

Below the level of the territory, there is the municipal level of administration. On that level, there are only two municipalities, Resolute and Grise Fiord, with an aggregate area of 450 km2 (170 sq mi) (0.11 percent of the area of the Queen Elizabeth Islands), but with most of the population of the archipelago (370 out of 375). The remaining 99.09 percent are unincorporated area, with a census 2006 population of five, all in Alert.

Overview of the islands[edit]

According to the Atlas of Canada there are 34 larger and 2,092 smaller islands in the archipelago.[1] With the exception of Ellesmere Island, they fall into two groups, the Sverdrup Islands and the Parry Islands:

Islandsub-
group
TerritoryPeakHeight
m
Height
ft
Area
km²
Area
sq mi
Rank
Canada
Rank
World
Coordinates
Alexander[10]ParryNUaverage elevation60–180200–59048418766 75°52′N 102°37′W / 75.867°N 102.617°W / 75.867; -102.617 (Alexander Island)
Amund Ringnes[11]SverdrupNUridge2658695,2552,0292511177°53′N 095°30′W / 77.883°N 95.500°W / 77.883; -95.500 (Amund Ringnes Island)
Axel Heiberg[12]SverdrupNUOutlook Peak2,2107,25043,17816,67173279°26′N 090°46′W / 79.433°N 90.767°W / 79.433; -90.767 (Axel Heiberg Island)
Baillie-Hamilton Island[13]ParryNU 20066029011091 75°53′N 094°35′W / 75.883°N 94.583°W / 75.883; -94.583 (Baillie-Hamilton Island)
Bathurst[14]ParryNUStokes Mountain4121,35216,0426,194135475°46′N 099°47′W / 75.767°N 99.783°W / 75.767; -99.783 (Bathurst Island)
Borden[15]ParryNU/NT 1504902,7941,0793017078°33′N 111°10′W / 78.550°N 111.167°W / 78.550; -111.167 (Borden Island)
Brock[16]ParryNT 672207642955838377°51′N 114°27′W / 77.850°N 114.450°W / 77.850; -114.450 (Brock Island)
Buckingham Island[17]ParryNUMount Windsor15049013753137 77°12′N 091°00′W / 77.200°N 91.000°W / 77.200; -91.000 (Buckingham Island)
Byam Martin[18]ParryNU 1535021,1504404229475°12′N 104°17′W / 75.200°N 104.283°W / 75.200; -104.283 (Byam Martin Island)
Cameron[19]ParryNUMount Wilmot  1,0594094631277°48′N 101°51′W / 77.800°N 101.850°W / 77.800; -101.850 (Cameron Island)
Coburg Island[20]ParryNU 8002,60041115983 75°57′N 079°18′W / 75.950°N 79.300°W / 75.950; -79.300 (Coburg Island)
Cornwall[21]SverdrupNUMcLeod Peak4001,3002,3589103118477°37′N 094°52′W / 77.617°N 94.867°W / 77.617; -94.867 (Cornwall Island)
Cornwallis[22]ParryNU 3431,1256,9952,701219675°05′N 095°00′W / 75.083°N 95.000°W / 75.083; -95.000 (Cornwallis Island)
Devon[23]ParryNUDevon Ice Cap1,9206,30055,24721,33162775°08′N 087°51′W / 75.133°N 87.850°W / 75.133; -87.850 (Devon Island)
Eglinton[24]ParryNT 2006601,5415953624975°46′N 118°27′W / 75.767°N 118.450°W / 75.767; -118.450 (Eglinton Island)
Ellef Ringnes[25]SverdrupNUIsachsen Dome26085011,2954,361166978°37′N 101°56′W / 78.617°N 101.933°W / 78.617; -101.933 (Ellef Ringnes Island)
Ellesmere[26]NUBarbeau Peak2,6168,583196,23675,76731080°10′N 079°05′W / 80.167°N 79.083°W / 80.167; -79.083 (Ellesmere Island)
Emerald Isle[27]ParryNT 1504905492126346676°48′N 114°07′W / 76.800°N 114.117°W / 76.800; -114.117 (Emerald Isle)
Graham[28]SverdrupNU 1755741,3785323826577°26′N 090°30′W / 77.433°N 90.500°W / 77.433; -90.500 (Graham Island)
Griffith Island[29]ParryNU   18973110 74°35′N 095°30′W / 74.583°N 95.500°W / 74.583; -95.500 (Griffith Island)
Helena Island[30]ParryNUaverage in southern hills22072032712685 76°40′N 101°00′W / 76.667°N 101.000°W / 76.667; -101.000 (Helena Island)
Hoved Island[31]ParryNU   15861125 77°32′N 085°09′W / 77.533°N 85.150°W / 77.533; -85.150 (Hoved Island)
Île Vanier[32]ParryNU 2006601,1264354429876°10′N 103°15′W / 76.167°N 103.250°W / 76.167; -103.250 (Île Vanier)
King Christian[33]SverdrupNUKing Christian Mountain1655416452496042077°45′N 102°00′W / 77.750°N 102.000°W / 77.750; -102.000 (King Christian Island)
Little Cornwallis Island[34]ParryNU   41215975 75°30′N 096°30′W / 75.500°N 96.500°W / 75.500; -96.500 (Little Cornwallis Island)
Lougheed[35]ParryNU 60–110200–3601,3085054127377°24′N 105°15′W / 77.400°N 105.250°W / 77.400; -105.250 (Lougheed Island)
Lowther Island[36]ParryNUraised beach106.534914556133 74°33′N 097°30′W / 74.550°N 97.500°W / 74.550; -97.500 (Lowther Island)
Mackenzie King[37]ParryNU/NTCastel Butte3009805,0481,9492611577°43′N 111°57′W / 77.717°N 111.950°W / 77.717; -111.950 (Mackenzie King Island)
Massey[38]ParryNU 21069043216771 75°59′N 102°58′W / 75.983°N 102.967°W / 75.983; -102.967 (Massey Island)
Meighen[39]SverdrupNU 2608509553695033779°59′N 099°30′W / 79.983°N 99.500°W / 79.983; -99.500 (Meighen Island)
Melville[40]ParryNU/NT 7762,54642,14916,27483375°30′N 111°30′W / 75.500°N 111.500°W / 75.500; -111.500 (Melville Island)
North Kent[41]ParryNU 6002,0005902306245376°40′N 090°15′W / 76.667°N 90.250°W / 76.667; -90.250 (North Kent Island)
Prince Patrick[42]ParryNT 27991515,8486,119145576°45′N 119°30′W / 76.750°N 119.500°W / 76.750; -119.500 (Prince Patrick Island)
Stor Island[43]SverdrupNU 5001,60031312187 78°59′N 085°50′W / 78.983°N 85.833°W / 78.983; -85.833 (Stor Island)
remaining 2,092 islands[1]NU/NT2,321896......
Queen Elizabeth[1] NU/NTBarbeau Peak2,6168,583419,061161,800......78°05′N 095°10′W / 78.083°N 95.167°W / 78.083; -95.167 (Queen Elizabeth Islands)Coordinates: 78°05′N 095°10′W / 78.083°N 95.167°W / 78.083; -95.167 (Queen Elizabeth Islands)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Sea islands: Atlas of Canada; Natural Resources Canada
  2. ^ Researches for Sir John Franklin
  3. ^ Franklin timeline
  4. ^ Greenland, Canada squabbling over pet rock
  5. ^ Cheyne Islands
  6. ^ Vikings: the Arctic's first European visitors
  7. ^ 2006 Census - Resolute
  8. ^ 2006 Census - Grise Fiord
  9. ^ Statistics Canada
  10. ^ Alexander Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  11. ^ Amund Ringnes Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  12. ^ Axel Heiberg Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  13. ^ Baillie-Hamilton Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  14. ^ Bathurst Island at Bivouac.com
  15. ^ Borden Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  16. ^ Brock Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  17. ^ Buckingham Island at the Atlas of Canada
  18. ^ Byam Martin Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  19. ^ Cameron Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  20. ^ Coburg Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  21. ^ Cornwall Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  22. ^ Cornwallis Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  23. ^ Devon Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  24. ^ Eglinton Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  25. ^ Ellef Ringnes Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  26. ^ Ellesmere Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  27. ^ Emerald Isle at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  28. ^ Graham Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  29. ^ Griffith Island at the Atlas of Canada
  30. ^ Helena Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  31. ^ Hoved Island at the Atlas of Canada
  32. ^ Île Vanier at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  33. ^ King Christian Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  34. ^ Little Cornwallis Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  35. ^ Lougheed Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  36. ^ Lowther Island at the Atlas of Canada
  37. ^ Mackenzie King Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  38. ^ Massey Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  39. ^ Meighen Island at arctic.uoguelph.ca
  40. ^ Melville Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  41. ^ North Kent Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  42. ^ Prince Patrick Island at peakbagger.com
  43. ^ Stor Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com

External links[edit]