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Wrangel Island

Wrangel Island

Wrangel Island

Wrangel Island Wrangel Island (Russian Ostrov Vrangelya), island, extreme northeastern Russia, in the Arctic Ocean, between the East Siberian Sea and the Chukchi Sea. It is separated from the mainland by De Long Strait. The island, a rocky waste with elevations rising to about 1,100 m (3,600 ft), is a breeding ground for seals and polar bears.

In the early 1820s, the Russian explorer Ferdinand von Wrangel tried unsuccessfully to find the island, which had been seen and reported by Siberian natives. It was sighted in 1867 by the American whaler Thomas Long, who named it in honor of Wrangel. A Russian expedition was sent to the island in 1911, and in 1916 the tsarist government claimed it for Russia. The Canadian-born explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson sent a party to the island in 1921, intending to claim it for Britain, but all except one member of the group perished. In 1924, a Russian vessel forcibly removed a small colony of Inuit established there by the United States in 1923. In 1926, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) established a permanent colony on the island, which is now the site of a trading post and a meteorological station. Area, 4,700 sq km (1,800 sq mi).