Top 10 Largest Archipelagos in the World
Here are the 10 largest archipelagos in the world. Archipelagos within archipelagoes which could be greater to others on the list were not included (ex. Philippine Archipelago, which is part of Malay Archipelago, is much larger than New Zealand, Antilles, Svalbard and others).
The World is a unique archipelago though it’s not one of the largest in the world. It is man-made archipelago of 300 islands that represents the landmasses of the Earth.
This one-of-a-kind archipelago is located 4 km off the coast of Dubai, UAE.
10.) Severnaya Zemlya
Severnaya Zemlya or Northern Land is an archipelago located in the Russian high Arctic. This island-chain is the last archipelago on Earth to be discovered.
The uninhabited Severnaya Zemlya which was first noted in 1913 and first charted in 1933 is part of Russia. It has an area of 37,000 km² with 4 major islands and 70 smaller islands.
Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean with an area 61,022 km², constitutes the northernmost part of Norway.
This archipelago is situated about midway between the North Pole and mainland Norway. The 3 largest islands are Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet and Edgeoya.
8.) Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya, which means New Land, is also known as Nova Zembla. This large archipelago is located in the Arctic Ocean. It has a population of about 3,000 people who subsist mainly on fishing, trapping and hunting bear and seal.
The two largest islands of Novaya Zemlya are Severny and Yuzhny. The archipelago has a total area of about 90,650 km².
Antilles Archipelago is divided into Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles. An archipelago within Greater Antilles is Puerto Rican Islands. Archipelagos within Lesser Antilles include Leeward Islands, Windward Islands and Leeward Antilles.
Antilles is located in the Caribbean Sea and is geographically considered part of the North American continent but culturally included in Latin America.
6.) New Zealand
As a country, New Zealand ranked 74th in the world but as an archipelago, it ranks 6th with 268,021 km². It is located in the Pacific Ocean with two main landmasses and scores of smaller islands.
The two largest islands of this archipelago are the North Island and the South Island. The latter is often referred to as the "mainland" although it is only slightly larger. Larger part of the country’s population lives in the North Island.
5.) British Isles
The British Isles is the 5th largest archipelago in the world with an area of 315,134 km2.
Archipelagos within British Isles include Channel Islands, Hebrides, Isles of Scilly, Orkney and Shetland.
The British Isles include Great Britain and Ireland and more than 6,000 smaller islands. The use of the term “British Isles” is being discouraged, particularly by Ireland which is part of the archipelago. Britain and Ireland is more preferred.
4.) Japan Archipelago
Japan, as a country is ranked 61st largest country in the world but as an archipelago, it is the 4th largest with an area of 377,944 km².
The Japanese Archipelago is located in the Pacific Ocean. Mount Fuji on the above photo is Japan’s most iconic landmark. On the foreground, is Japan’s famous ‘bullet train’.
3.) New Guinea Archipelago
New Archipelago, located north of Australia in the Pacific Ocean, has an area of 786,000 km². New Guinea is the world’s 2nd largest island next to Greenland.
Geologically, New Guinea separated from the Australian mainland when the area now known as the Torres Strait flooded after the last glacial period.
2.) Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Canadian Arctic Archipelago is the world’s 2nd largest archipelago. Archipelagos within Canadian Arctic Archipelago include Belcher Islands and Queen Elizabeth Islands. It is also commonly referred to as ‘Arctic Archipelago’. It has a total area of about 1,424,500 km2.
The numerous islands are separated from each other and the continental mainland by a series of waterways collectively known as the Northwestern Passages. Three of the world’s 10 largest islands are contain in the Arctic Archipelago.
1.) Malay Archipelago
The world’s largest archipelago with an area of about 2 million km² is the Malay Archipelago. Archipelagos within Malay Archipelago include Indonesian Islands, Maluku Islands, Philippines Islands and Sunda Islands. There are also other archipelagos within the Philippine Archipelago and Sunda Islands.
The world’s largest archipelago, with 25,000 islands, is located between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. New Guinea, the world 2nd largest island, is not always included in definitions of the Malay Archipelago. It is situated in the Indian and Pacific oceans.
TOP TEN LARGEST ARCHIPELAGOS
|Archipelago||Area by km²||Location|
|1.) Malay Archipelago||2 million||Indian/Pacific Ocean|
|2.) Canadian Arctic Archipelago||1,424,500||Arctic Ocean|
|3.) New Guinea Archipelago||786,000||Pacific Ocean|
|4.) Japan Archipelago||377,944||Pacific Ocean|
|5.) British Isles||315,134||Atlantic Ocean|
|6.) New Zealand||268,021||Pacific Ocean|
|7.) Antilles||210,000||Caribbean Sea|
|8.) Novaya Zemlya||90,650||Arctic Ocean|
|9.) Svalbard||61,022||Arctic Ocean|
|10.) Sernaya Zemlya||37,000||Arctic Ocean|
- Distinctively Unique Islands in the World
- The Seven Summit and the World’s Tallest Mountains
- Interesting Facts About the World’s Top Ten Longest Rivers
- World’s Most Captivating Coves and Beautiful Barrier Bars
- The World’s Most Attractive Atolls
- The Top Five Beaches in the World
- World’s Most Beautiful and Unique Valleys
- Unique Features of the World’s Top Ten Largest Lakes
- The World’s Most Beautiful Bays
- The World’s Most Captivating Lagoons and Blue Holes