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Satellite image of an archipelago ( Galápagos Islands )

An archipelago is a collection of several islands .


The ATKIS object type catalog DLM250 defines an archipelago as "a group of several islands lying close together, geologically identical". The islands of an archipelago can also be grouped into smaller island groups, as is the case with the Hebrides , which are divided into the Inner and Outer Hebrides .

Archipelagos such as the Azores or the Aeolian Islands can be summarized geographically or geologically in the sense of the above definition. However, political, historical or cultural criteria often play a decisive role in combining several islands into one archipelago. The same also applies to the subdivision of a geographically related group of islands into subgroups.

  • The islands off the North Dutch, German and Danish North Sea coasts are grouped together as the Frisian Islands . Geologically, however, the larger North Frisian Islands and the Halligen differ from the West and East Frisian Islands . The distinction between West and East Frisian Islands is based on the political border between West and East Frisia that has existed since 1594 . The islands of Zeeland , which were also inhabited by West Frisians , and Heligoland , where North Frisian is spoken, are not part of the Frisian Islands. The Danish islands, which are counted among the North Frisian Islands, have never been settled by Frisians .
  • There is a purely political-historical distinction, for example, in the American and British Virgin Islands .
  • The Cyclades are culturally defined from ancient times as the "island district around Delos ".
  • The Dodecanese comprises the islands that Italy ceded to Greece in 1947. Most of these islands, but not all, belong to the geographically defined archipelago of the Southern Sporades . Conversely, not all the islands of the Southern Sporades belong to the Dodecanese.
  • The Ionian Islands comprise all of the former Venetian islands off the Greek coast of the Ionian Sea .
  • The Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) off the south coast of Iceland form a separate archipelago, whereby Iceland and its minor islands are not counted as an archipelago.

Depending on the topographical arrangement of the islands, one speaks of an island chain , an island arc or a double island .

The islands of an atoll form a special form of the archipelago, but they are usually summarized under the term atoll.

Archipelago is a synonym for archipelago today . The word, which comes from Italian , originally referred to the Aegean Sea , later a sea region with islands and / or island groups.

Some large groups of islands or archipelagos

Atlantic Ocean

Pacific Ocean

Indian Ocean

Arctic Ocean

Southern ocean

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Working group of the surveying administrations of the federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany (AdV): ATKIS object type catalog DLM250 Version 6.0 (documentation for modeling the geographic information of official surveying (GeoInfoDok) - ATKIS catalogs) PDF online , 626 kB

Web links

Wiktionary: Archipelago  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations