Photos of Bouvet Island

Bouvet Island is one of the most remote islands in the world; Antarctica, over 1,600 km (1,000 mi) to the south, is the nearest land mass. Located near the junction of three tectonic plates, the island is mostly formed from a shield volcano that is almost entirely covered by glaciers. The prominent Kapp (Cape) Valdivia on the northern coastline is a peninsula formed by a lava dome. It is only along the steep cliffs of the coastline that the underlying dark volcanic rock is visible against the white snow and ice blanketing the island. Photo courtesy of NASA.



This uninhabited volcanic island in Antarctica is almost entirely covered by glaciers, making it difficult to approach. Bouvet Island is recognized as the most remote island on Earth because it is furthest from any other point of land (1,639 km from Antarctica). The island was named after the French naval officer who discovered it in 1739, although no country laid claim to it until 1825, when the British flag was raised. A few expeditions visited the island in the late 19th century. In 1929, the UK waived its claim in favor of Norway, which had occupied the island two years previously. In 1971, Norway designated Bouvet Island and the adjacent territorial waters as a nature reserve. Since 1977, Norway has run an automated meteorological station and studied foraging strategies and distribution of fur seals and penguins on the island. In 2006, an earthquake weakened the station's foundation, causing it to be blown out to sea in a winter storm. Norway erected a new research station in 2014 that can hold six people for periods of two to four months.

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island in the South Atlantic Ocean, southwest of the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa)

Geographic coordinates

54 26 S, 3 24 E

Map references

Antarctic Region


total: 49 sq km

land: 49 sq km

water: 0 sq km

comparison ranking: total 231

Area - comparative

about 0.3 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km


29.6 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 4 nm




volcanic; coast is mostly inaccessible


highest point: Olavtoppen (Olav Peak) 780 m

lowest point: South Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Land use

agricultural land: 0% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 0% (2018 est.)

other: 100% (2018 est.)

Natural hazards

occasional volcanism, rock slides; harsh climate, surrounded by pack ice in winter

Geography - note

almost entirely covered by glacial ice (93%); declared a nature reserve by Norway; the distance from Bouvet Island to Norway is 12,776 km, which is almost one-third the circumference of the earth

People and Society


total: uninhabited


Environment - current issues

none; almost entirely ice covered



Land use

agricultural land: 0% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 0% (2018 est.)

other: 100% (2018 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Bouvet Island

etymology: named after the French naval officer Jean-Baptiste Charles BOUVET who discovered the island in 1739

note: pronounced boo-vay i-land

Dependency status

territory of Norway; administered by the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice and Oslo Police

Legal system

the laws of Norway apply where applicable

Flag description

the flag of Norway is used


Exports - partners

Singapore 76%, US 7%, Uzbekistan 5%, UK 2%, Brazil 1% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

fish, tensile testing machines, jewelry, paper, garments (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports - partners

Singapore 72%, US 18%, Panama 3%, Indonesia 2%, Denmark 1% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

aluminum structures, animal products, cement, air pumps, electrical transformers (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars


Communications - note

has an automated meteorological station

Military and Security

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of Norway