Ellesmere Island The Arctic Island - Nunavut Canada
Part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, and the tenth largest island on earth, Ellesmere Island is situated in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of the Canadian territory of Nunavut.
Ellesmere Island is unique because not only did the first inhabitants start arriving 4000 years ago, it now claims fame to having the two northernmost permanent settlements in the world. Canadian Forces Station Alert, which is garrisoned year-round, serves as both a weather observatory and early warning station, is the furthest north in Canada and anywhere else. Eureka, is the second most northern permanent settlement on earth, and like Alert, also serves as a base for weather observation and as a military station.
The Inuit, who first came to this 196,235-km2 island in the high arctic, did so to hunt animals like the muskox and the abundant marine wildlife. In 1616 William Baffin was the first known European to sight Ellesmere Island. And in 1852, the island was named after Francis Egerton, the 1st Earl of Ellesmere.
Formally known as Ellesmere Island National Park, Quttinirpaaq National Park is a protected area covering roughly one-fifth of the island’s total size. The wondrous park contains glaciers, seven fjords, and the largest lake north of the Arctic Circle, Lake Hazen. In the British Empire Range is the home to the highest mountain in Nunavut, Barbeau Peak. In 1969 Barbeau Peak was named in honour of Dr. Marius Barbeau. Dr. Marius Barbeau was a respected Canadian anthropologist who researched Indian and Inuit cultures.
Both glaciers and ice dominate much of Ellesmere Island. At one time, the entire northwest coast of Ellesmere Island was one large sheet of ice. With the turn of the century and with it global warming this ice sheet lost 90 percent of its total mass. Today that single giant sheet of ice is nearly gone, and in its place are five separate and shrinking ice shelves.
Most of the time, the total population of this large island is less than 200 inhabitants.