This article is all about list and detail information of largest archipelagos of world, famous archipelagos, smallest archipelagos, list of archipelagos of different seas and oceans in world, other different examples of archipelagos in the world.
What is Archipelago ?
Archipelago is defined as the group or cluster of islands. In ancient times the word “Archipelago” was used to denote the cluster of Aegean Sea islands which eventually turned to a common definition for a groups of islands. The typical example of an archipelago includes Malay Archipelago of Indonesian islands, Aegean islands off the coast of Greece, Andaman and Nicobar islands of India etc.
List of Largest Archipelagos in world by Area, Number of Islands
Detail information about the Largest Archipelagos in World
Largest Archipelago of World : Norway Archipelago
Norway Archipelago is the largest archipelago of the world in terms of number of islands. It is the seventh largest archipelago of the world in terms of area. The total number of islands which lies off the western coast of Norway is more than 50,000. All of these islands are located in Norwegian Sea. It consists of Svalbard, Jan Mayen and Lofoten groups of islands. Svalbard archipelago is located in Greenland Sea to east and Barents sea to south east.
Second Largest Archipelagos of World : Archipelago Sea (Finland Archipelago)
Archipelago sea is the second largest archipelago of the world in terms of number of islands. Is is basically located in Sea of Aland which is south of Gulf of Bothnia and west of Gulf of Finland. All these seas forms the part of Baltic Sea. The islands of Finland Archipelago are very small in size and very tightly clustered. A number of islands of this archipelago are so small that they even do not fit into the definition of an island. There are some rock like structures protruding out of the sea. For example the number of islands with area less than 1 Sq Km is about 250, and number of islands with area 0.005 Sq Km (or 5000 Sq meter) is 17,700.
Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Canadian Arctic Archipelago is the third largest archipelago in world in terms of number of islands and second largest in terms of area. These are a groups of more than 36,000 islands in north of Canada spread in Arctic Ocean. The archipelago is surrounded by Arctic sea in northwest, Baffin bay and Davis Strait in east, Hudson Bay in southeast and mainland Canada in south. The three largest islands of this archipelago are the Baffin island, Victoria island and Ellesmere island respectively. Baffin island is also the fifth largest island of world. Baffin island and Victoria island are also the top and second most populated island of this archipelago. There are 94 islands which have area more than 130 Sq Km and are classified as Major Islands of this archipelago. Most of the islands are uninhabited and the climate is harsh Tundra climate in hilly areas and Taiga in plain areas.
Archipelagos of Sweden : Stockholm, Sodermanland, East Coast, Oregrund Archipelagos
There are four major archipelagos in Sweden. These are Stockholm archipelago, Sodermanland archipelago, East Coast archipelago and Oregrund archipelago. The number of islands in Stockholm archipelago is 28,945 and that in Sodemanland archipelago is 5,371 and togather it is referred as Sweden Archipelago with around 34,000 islands. The Swedish East Coast Archipelago consists of Smaland archipelago (12740 islands) and Ostergotland archipelago (8,888 islands). East Coast Archipelago of Sweden is located south of Stockholm archipelago in Baltic sea. Oregrund archipelago is located north most of all Swedish archipelagos and is located in Gulf of Bothnia. Of all the Swedish archipelagos, Stockholm is the largest archipelago of Sweden and second largest of whole Baltic sea (largest being the Archipelago sea of Finland). During the ancient and medieval times, fishing was the largest and most popular industry and economic practise. During present times the fishing industry is almost defunct and travel and tourism industry is prospering on these islands.
Malay Archipelago : Indonesian and Philippine archipelago
Malay archipelago is a group of more than about 25,000 islands which are located in South China Sea. Both Indonesian archipelago (17,500 islands) and Philippine archipelago (7500 islands) are together called as Malay archipelago. Malay archipelago is the largest archipelago of world in terms of area and stands at fifth position in terms of number of islands.
The Indonesian archipelago is subdivided into Greater Sunda islands, lesser Sunda islands, Maluku islands and New Guinea islands. Greater Sunda consists of Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi; Lesser Sunda consists of Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Timor, etc. islands. Four different countries do exist among islands of Indonesian archipelago – Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia and Malaysia. Borneo islands is not only the biggest island of Malay archipelago but it is also the third largest island of world. Borneo island has iteself three administrative regions ruled by countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
Philippine archipelago is the group of 7641 islands in south China sea. It is ruled by Republic of Philippines. This archipelago has total area of about 3 lakh Sq Km. The largest of all these islands is Luzon island which has area of 105,000 Sq Km. Mindano is the second largest (area 95,000 Sq Km) island of this archipelago.
It is also called as Lucayan archipelago. It is a group of about 3200 islands which consists of Countries of The Bahamas and British overseas territories of Turks and Caicos islands. This archipelago is located in western part of north Atlantic ocean near the coast of Florida, north to Antilles. These islands although do not form the border with Caribbean sea, still for the sake of convenience they are called as Caribbean countries.
All the islands of Japanese archipelago are ruled by Japan. This archipelago consists of about 6,852 islands out of which only 430 are inhabited. The four main, largest islands of this archipelago in decreasing order of the area are Honshu (227,962 Sq Km), Hokkaidu (83,453 Sq Km), Kyushu (35,640 Sq Km) and Shikoku (18,800 Sq Km). Out of all islands Honshu is the largest and hence is called as mainland Japan. This archipelago is located in west of Sea of Japan and northwest of Pacific ocean.
These are a group of more than 6000 islands that are located in northwest of mainland continental Europe. The island of Great Britain and Ireland are the two largest islands of this archipelago, rest of all are small isles. The Ireland island is administratively divided in two sovereign states – i) United Kingdom of Great Bitain and Northern Ireland and ii) Republic of Ireland. The island of Great Britain is also called as United Kingdom. The British Isles also includes three Crown dependencies – Isle of Man, ii) Bailwick of Jersey and iii) Bailwick of Guernsey.
Aegean Archipelago (Islands of Greece in Aegean Sea)
The number of islands of Greece is between 1200 to 6000. Some islands are small enough to hardly fit in the definition of an island. If even the smallest isles/islets are taken to account then the total number of islands of Greece becomes 6000. The majority of the Aegean islands belong to Greece while some smaller isles (Imbros and Tenedos etc. ) in northeast Aegean comes under Turkish rule. of all the islands of Aegean, Crete island is the largest one and second largest is Euboea. The islands of Aegean can be subdivided in following clusters –
- Saronic group of islands in Saronic gulf of Greece
- Cyclades which is the largest group of islands in central Aegean sea
- North Aegean group of islands off the coast of northwest Turkey
- Dodecanese group of islands in southeast Aegean between Crete and Turkey
- Sporades group of islands north of Euboea
- Ionian islands in the Ionian sea
All the above group of islands except Ionian islands comes under Aegean Archipelago while if the Ionian islands are also combined they are called as Greek Archipelago.
Other Important Archipelagos of different Countries