Antiqua Print Gallery Kerguelen Islands
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Kerguelen Islands

The Kerguelen Islands (French: Îles Kerguelen; officially: Archipel des Kerguelen; or:Archipel Kerguelen), also known as Desolation Island, are a group of islands in the southern Indian Ocean. The islands are a territory of France. They are antipodal to an area in the vicinity of the meeting point of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Montana in North America. There are no indigenous inhabitants, but France maintains a permanent presence of 50 to 100 scientists, engineers and researchers.
The main island, Grande Terre, is 6,675 km² in area and is surrounded by another 300 smaller islands and islets, forming an archipelago of 7,215 km². The climate is raw and chilly but not severely cold throughout the year — much like that of the outer Aleutian Islands of Alaska — with frequent high winds, and while the surrounding seas are generally rough, they remain ice-free year-round.
The islands, along with Adélie Land, the Crozet Islands, and the Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands are part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands and are administered as a separate district.
They were discovered by the French navigator Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen de Trémarec in February 1772.
Soon after their discovery, the archipelago was regularly visited by whalers and sealers (mostly British, American, and Norwegian) who hunted the resident populations of whales and seals to the point of near extinction, including fur seals in the 18th century and elephant seals in the 19th century. Since the end of the whaling and sealing era, most of the islands' species have been able to re-establish themselves.
In the past, a number of expeditions briefly visited the islands, including that of Captain James Cook in 1776. In 1874–75, British, German and US expeditions visited Kerguelen to observe the transit of Venus.

(Source Wikipedia)