Kong Karls Land

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King Charles Land
Native name: Kong Karls Land
NO-Kong Karls Land.png
Map of Kong Karls Land
Location Northern Europe
Coordinates 78°45′N 28°30′E / 78.750°N 28.500°E / 78.750; 28.500Coordinates: 78°45′N 28°30′E / 78.750°N 28.500°E / 78.750; 28.500
Archipelago Svalbard
Total islands 5
Major islands Kongsøya, Svenskøya, Abel Island, Helgoland Island, and Tirpitzøya
Area 332 km2 (128 sq mi)
Population 0

Kong Karls Land or King Charles Land is an island group in the Svalbard archipelago, in Arctic Ocean. The island group covers an area of 332 km2 (128 sq mi) and is made up of the islands of Kongsøya, Svenskøya, Abel Island, Helgoland Island and Tirpitzøya.

The islands, which have the largest concentration of polar bear in Svalbard, are part of the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, along with Nordaustlandet and Kvitøya. There is a ban on traffic to the islands, which includes the areas of the sea up to 500 metres away from shore and the airspace up to 500 metres above the area.

Kong Karls Land was discovered by an expedition sent by the Muscovy Company in 1617,[1] probably from a high point on Barentsøya. They named the group Wiche Islands, after a member of the company, Richard Wyche.


The polar bear is found during portions of the year at Kong Karls Land; this bear feeds on local harp seals and ring seals. The sub-population of polar bears found here is a genetically distinct set of polar bears specifically associated with the Barents Sea region.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Conway, William Martin (1906). No Man's Land: A History of Spitsbergen from Its Discovery in 1596 to the Beginning of the Scientific Exploration of the Country. Cambridge, At the University Press. 
  2. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Polar Bear: Ursus maritimus, Globaltwitcher.com, ed. Nicklas Stromberg Archived December 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

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