Cornwallis Island (Nunavut)

Cornwallis Island

Closeup of Cornwallis Island
Location Northern Canada
Coordinates 75°08′N 95°00′W / 75.133°N 95.000°W / 75.133; -95.000 (Cornwallis Island)Coordinates: 75°08′N 95°00′W / 75.133°N 95.000°W / 75.133; -95.000 (Cornwallis Island)
Archipelago Queen Elizabeth Islands
Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Area 6,995 km2 (2,701 sq mi)
Length 113 km (70.2 mi)
Width 95 km (59 mi)
Highest elevation 359 m (1,178 ft)
Highest point Unnamed High Point
Territory Nunavut
Largest settlement Resolute
Population 229 (2006)
Pop. density 0.03 /km2 (0.08 /sq mi)
Cornwallis Island within Nunavut
NASA Landsat photo of Cornwallis Island

Cornwallis Island is one of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic. It lies to the west of Devon Island and at its greatest length is about 113 km (70 mi). At 6,995 km2 (2,701 sq mi) in size, it is the 96th largest island in the world, and Canada's 21st largest island. Cornwallis Island is separated by the Wellington Channel from Devon Island, and by the Parry Channel from Somerset Island to the south. Northwest of Cornwallis Island lies Little Cornwallis Island, the biggest of a group of small islands at the north end of McDougall Sound, which separates Cornwallis Island from nearby Bathurst Island.

Cape Airy is located at the island's southwestern extremity.[1] Also on the southwestern coast, Griffith Island lies directly across from the island's populated hamlet Resolute (Qausuittuq), separated by the 6.5 mi (10.5 km) wide Resolute Passage.[2] The airport at Resolute acts as a communications hub for the central Arctic islands of Nunavut. This is Canada's second most northerly community.

The first European to visit Cornwallis Island was Sir William Edward Parry in 1819 and named for British Royal Navy admiral Sir William Cornwallis.[3]

Cornwallis Island is also home to microbiological colonies known as hypoliths, from their tendency to take hold under ("hypo") stones ("lith").


  1. "Cape Airy". The Columbia Gazetteer of North America. 2000. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
  2. Pharand, Donat; Legault, L.H. (1984). The Northwest Passage: Arctic Straits. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 7. ISBN 90-247-2979-3.
  3. Parry, William Edward (1821). Journal of a voyage for the discovery of a North-West passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific: performed in the years 1819-20. London: John Murray.

External links

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