Sable Island

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Coordinates: 43°57′00″N 59°54′57″W / 43.95°N 59.91583°W / 43.95; -59.91583

Sable Island (French: île de Sable) is a small Canadian island situated 300 km southeast of mainland Nova Scotia in the Atlantic Ocean. The island is a year-round home to approximately five people (four Environment Canada station personnel and one resident researcher). In summer, this number swells to include seasonal contractors, research scientists, photographers, and others. The island is notable for its population of feral horses, known as Sable Island Ponies. Sable Island is protected under the Canada Shipping Act, which means that permission must be obtained from the Canadian Coast Guard to visit the island. Sable Island is part of District 13 of the Halifax Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia.



The Portuguese explorer João Álvares Fagundes and his expedition, who explored this region in 1520–1521, were among the first Europeans to have encountered the island. It is likely that he named the island Fagunda after himself,[1] but the identification of Sable Island with Fagunda is not certain.[2] A brief attempt at colonization at the end of the 16th century by France using convicts failed. The island was inhabited sporadically by sealers, shipwreck survivors, and salvagers who were known as "wreckers". A life-saving station was established on Sable Island by the government of Nova Scotia in 1801 and its life-saving crew became the first permanent inhabitants of the island. Two lighthouses, one on the eastern tip and one on the western tip were built in 1872.[3] Until the advent of modern ship navigation, Sable Island's two light stations were home to permanent lighthouse keepers and their families, as well as the crew members of the life-saving station. In the early 20th century, the Marconi Company established a wireless station on the island and the Canadian government similarly established a weather station.

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