Kerguelen Islands

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The Kerguelen Islands (pronounced /ˈkɜrɡələn/, /kərˈɡeɪlən/;[1] in French commonly Îles Kerguelen or Archipel de Kerguelen but officially Archipel des Kerguelen or Archipel Kerguelen, pronounced: [kɛʁɡelɛn]), also known as Desolation Island, are a group of islands in the southern Indian Ocean. The islands are a territory of France. There are no indigenous inhabitants, but France maintains a permanent presence of 50 to 100 scientists, engineers and researchers.[2]

The main island, Grande Terre, is 6,675 km² in area and is surrounded by another 300 smaller islands and islets, forming an archipelago of 7,215 km². The climate is raw and chilly with frequent high winds, but not severely cold throughout the year, much like that of the outer Aleutian Islands of Alaska and the Faroe Islands. While the surrounding seas are generally rough, they remain ice-free year-round.

There is no airport on the islands, so all travel and transport from the outside world is by ship.

Contents

History

The islands, along with Adélie Land, the Crozet Islands and the Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands are part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands and are administered as a separate district.

They were discovered by the Breton-French navigator Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen de Trémarec in February 1772.

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