Wrangel Island

Wrangel Island

geographical name

Island, northeastern Russia. Located in the Arctic Ocean, it is crossed by the 180th meridian. It has an area of some 2,800 sq mi (7,300 sq km). Although it reaches an altitude of 3,596 ft (1,096 m) at Sovetskaya Mountain, there are no glaciers. The Russian explorer Ferdinand P. Wrangel, for whom the island was later named, determined its location from accounts of Siberian natives but did not land there during his mapping of the Siberian coast in the early 1820s. Russian fur traders subsequently visited the island, and it was sighted by U.S. vessels in 1867 and 1881. Survivors of a sunken Canadian ship reached Wrangel in 1914, and the leader of the expedition created an international incident in the early 1920s when he claimed Wrangel for Canada without authorization. The Soviet Union then annexed the island, and permanent occupation began in 1926. Wrangel Island State Reserve, established in 1976, occupies 1,730,000 ac (700,000 ha). The reserve was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.

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