Photos of Bouvet Island

Introduction

Background

This uninhabited, volcanic, Antarctic island is almost entirely covered by glaciers making it difficult to approach; it is recognized as the most remote island on Earth. (It is furthest in distance from any other point of land, 1,639 km from Antarctica.) Bouvet Island was discovered in 1739 by a French naval officer after whom it is named. No claim was made 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 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 February 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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Area

total: 49 sq km

land: 49 sq km

water: 0 sq km

country comparison to the world: 232

Area - comparative

about 0.3 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

29.6 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 4 nm

Climate

antarctic

Terrain

volcanic; coast is mostly inaccessible

Elevation

lowest point: South Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Olavtoppen (Olav Peak) 780 m

Land use

agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.)

arable land: 0% (2011 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)

forest: 0% (2011 est.)

other: 100% (2011 est.)

Natural hazards

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

Environment - current issues

none; almost entirely ice covered

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

Population

uninhabited

Government

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

Economy

Economic overview

no economic activity; declared a nature reserve

Communications

Communications - note

has an automated meteorological station

Transportation

Ports and terminals

none; offshore anchorage only

Military and Security

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of Norway

Transnational Issues