Clavering Island

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Clavering Island
Native name: Clavering Ø
Clavering Island is located in Greenland
Clavering Island
Clavering Island (Greenland)
Location East-Greenland
Coordinates 74°16′N 21°00′W / 74.267°N 21.000°W / 74.267; -21.000Coordinates: 74°16′N 21°00′W / 74.267°N 21.000°W / 74.267; -21.000
Area 1,535 km2 (593 sq mi)
Northeast Greenland National Park
Population 0

Clavering Island is a large island in eastern Greenland, to the west of Wollaston Foreland. It was named by the second German North Polar Expedition 1869–70 as Clavering Insel to commemorate Douglas Charles Clavering (1794–1827), commander of the Griper on the 1823 voyage, which explored the area and, at the southern shore of this island made the first (and last) encounter that Europeans made with the now extinct Northeast-Greenland Inuit.

In late August 1823, Clavering and the crew of the Griper encountered a band of twelve Inuit, including men, women and children. In his journal, Clavering described their seal-skin tent, canoe, and clothes, their harpoons and spear tipped with bone and meteoric iron, and their physical appearance ("tawny coppery" skin, "black hair and round visages; their hands and feet very fleshy, and much swelled"). He remarked on their skill in skinning a seal, the custom of sprinkling water over a seal or walrus before skinning, and their amazement at the demonstration of firearms for hunting.[1]

Bones of muskoxen have been found at Inuit sites on the island, but no such animals were reported by Clavering in 1823. Large numbers of Arctic hare bones suggest that the Inuit were reduced to hunting smaller game after the extinction of muskoxen in the area. After humans died out, muskoxen returned, and the first pair of live muskoxen ever to be brought to Europe were captured at Clavering Island in 1899.[2][3]


  1. ^ Clavering, Douglas Charles (1830). "Journal of a voyage to Spitzbergen and the east coast of Greenland, in His Majesty's ship Griper". Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal 9: 21–24. 
  2. ^ Vibe, Christian (1967). "Arctic Animals in Relation to Climatic Fluctuations". Meddelelser om Grønland 170: 1–227. 
  3. ^ Lent, Peter C. (1999). Muskoxen and Their Hunters: A History. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 91, 132. ISBN 0-8061-3170-5.