Queen Elizabeth Islands - Geography

Geography

The islands, together 419,061 km2 (161,800 sq mi) 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.

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.

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