|Archipelago||Canadian Arctic Archipelago|
Marble Island is one of several uninhabited Canadian arctic islands in Nunavut, Canada, located within western Hudson Bay. The closest community is Rankin Inlet. During the age of sail, this island was valued as a harbour for overwintering in the Arctic Ocean.
Marble Island is bare rock, located above the treeline, and with only a small amount of plant life, primarily lichens and mosses. Thus, there is only a limited amount of territorial wildlife, primary the polar bear, the Arctic fox, the Arctic hare, and lemmings. A large variety of birds visit the island, including ducks, raptors, and unidentified "small brown birds". A great number of sea mammals can be found nearby, including several kinds of whales and seals. Due to the large amount of oceanic life, Marble Island is a traditional summer hunting ground for the Inuit.
An expedition to find the Northwest Passage was led by James Knight of the Hudson's Bay Company and two ships under captains David Vaughan and George Berley. They were ship-wrecked nearby and took refuge on the island. Despite assistance by the local Inuit, they had all died of starvation and disease, especially scurvy, by 1722 at the latest. In 1769, their remains were finally discovered by Samuel Hearne.
Between 1870 and 1887, Marble Island was a very popular site for northern whalers, but by 1890 was completely abandoned: few whales could be found nearby, and ice conditions grew treacherous. Before it was abandoned, the whaling ship Orray Taft sank nearby: her sailors occupy several graves on the island. This was a major factor in the creation of the island's nickname, Deadman's Island.
- Bell, Robert. Marble Island and the North-west coast of Hudson's Bay. Charleston:BiblioLife, 2009.