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Baffin Island

Baffin Island, 183,810 sq mi (476,068 sq km), c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) long and from 130 to 450 mi (210–720 km) wide, in the Arctic Ocean, Nunavut Territory, Canada. It is the fifth largest island in the world and the easternmost member of the Arctic Archipelago. Baffin Island is geographically and geologically a continuation of Labrador, from which it is separated by Hudson Strait. The western side of the island is covered largely by tundra. There are many freshwater lakes, including Nettilling (1,956 sq mi/5,066 sq km) and Amadjuak. In the east, snow-covered mountain ranges rise more than 8,000 ft (2,440 m). The deeply indented coastline has many fjords. Most of the island's inhabitants are Inuits who live mainly at coastal trading posts. Whaling, fur trading, and fishing are the chief occupations. The posts have stores, post offices, police stations, schools, and occasionally hospitals. Martin Frobisher visited the island between 1576 and 1578, and Iqaluit, formerly Frobisher Bay, in the southeast, is the principal town. The island is named for William Baffin, the British explorer who explored the Arctic in 1616.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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