Southampton Island

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Native name: Shugliaq
Southampton Island within Nunavut
Southampton Island.png
Location Hudson Bay at Foxe Basin
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Archipelago Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Area 41,214 km2 (15,913 sq mi)
Area rank 34th
Highest elevation 625 m (2,051 ft)
Highest point Mathiasen Mountain
Nunavut Nunavut
Region Kivalliq
Largest settlement Coral Harbour (pop. 834 [1])
Population 834 (as of Canada 2011 Census)
Ethnic groups Inuit

Southampton Island (Inuktitut: Shugliaq)[2] is a large island at the entrance to Hudson Bay at Foxe Basin. One of the larger members of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Southampton Island is part of the Kivalliq Region in Nunavut, Canada. The area of the island is stated as 41,214 km2 (15,913 sq mi) by Statistics Canada.[3] It is the 34th largest island in the world and Canada's ninth largest island. The only settlement on Southampton Island is Coral Harbour (pop. 834, Canada 2011 Census), called in Inuit Salliq.

Southampton Island is one of the few Canadian areas, and the only area in Nunavut, that does not use daylight saving time.


Historically speaking, Southampton Island is famous for its now-extinct inhabitants, the Sadlermiut (modern Inuktitut Sallirmiut "Inhabitants of Salliq"), who were the last vestige of the Tuniit. The Tuniit, a pre-Inuit culture, officially went ethnically and culturally extinct in 1902-03[4] when infectious disease killed all of the Sallirmiut in a matter of weeks.

The island's first recorded visit by Europeans was in 1613 by Welsh explorer Thomas Button.[5]

At the beginning of the 20th century, the island was repopulated by Aivilingmiut from Repulse Bay and Chesterfield Inlet, influenced to do so by whaler Capt. George Comer and others. Baffin Islanders arrived 25 years later. John Ell, who as a young child travelled with his mother Shoofly on Comer's schooners, eventually became the most famous of Southampton Island's re-settled population.[6]

The Native Point archaeological site at the mouth of Native Bay is the largest Sadlermiut site on the island.[7]


Southampton Island does have geological resources that are of scientific and industrial interest.[8]

However, full knowledge of the island is still lacking according to the Nunavut government.[9]

The current level of basic geoscience available for the Southampton region is inadequate to meet current exploration demands. Regional scale mapping of the bedrock geology of Southampton Island has not occurred since 1969.
Only the most general of rock distinctions are made on the existing geological map, and only a very rudimentary understanding of the surficial geology exists. Currently there is no publicly available, regional-scale surficial (till) geochemical data which is essential for understanding exploration potential for metals and diamonds.


George Comer, 1910 map of Southampton

It is separated from the Melville Peninsula by Frozen Strait.[10] Other waterways surrounding the island include Roes Welcome Sound to the west, Bay of Gods Mercy in the southwest, Fisher Strait in the south, Evans Strait in the southeast, and Foxe Channel in the east.

Hansine Lake is located in the far north. Bell Peninsula is located in the southeastern part of the island.[11] Mathiasen Mountain, a member of the Porsild Mountains, is the island's highest peak. The island's shape is vaguely similar to that of Newfoundland.


East Bay Migratory Bird Sanctuary and Harry Gibbons Migratory Bird Sanctuary are located on the island and are important breeding sites for the lesser snow goose (Anser caerulescens caerulescens). East Bay/Native Bay is an Important Bird Area.[12]



  2. Issenman, Betty. Sinews of Survival: The living legacy of Inuit clothing. UBC Press, 1997. pp252-254
  3. Statistics Canada
  4. Briggs, Jean L.; J. Garth Taylor. "The Canadian Encyclopedia: Sadlermiut Inuit". Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved 2008-03-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Christy, Miller (1894). The voyages of Captain Luke Foxe of Hull, and Captain Thomas James of Bristol, in search of a northwest passage, in 1631-32; with narratives of the earlier northwest voyages of Frobisher, Davis, Weymouth, Hall, Knight, Hudson, Button, Gibbons, Bylot, Baffin, Hawkridge, and others. London: Hakluyt Society.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Rowley, Graham. Cold comfort: my love affair with the Arctic. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 38. ISBN 0-7735-1393-0. Retrieved 2008-04-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "History". Retrieved 2009-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. New Insights into Ordovician Oil Shales of Southampton Island, Petrological investigation of ultramafic-mafic plutonic rocks of Southampton Island, Geochemical and Nd isotopic constraints from plutonic rocks of Southampton Island, Industrial Limestone Resources, Southampton Island, Holocene climate inferred from biological analyses in a Southampton Island lake, New constraints on the tectonothermal history of Southampton Island
  9. Southampton Island Integrated Geoscience (Siig) Project Plan/Description
  10. "Frozen Strait". The Columbia Gazetteer of North America. 2000. Retrieved 2008-04-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Mathiasen Mountain Nunavut". Retrieved 2008-10-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "East Bay/Native Bay". Retrieved 2009-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Bird, J. Brian. Southampton Island. Ottawa: E. Cloutier, 1953.
  • Brack, D. M. Southampton Island Area Economic Survey With Notes on Repulse Bay and Wager Bay. Ottawa: Area & Community Planning Section, Industrial Division, Dept. of Northern Affairs and National Resources, 1962.
  • Mathiassen, Therkel. Contributions to the Physiography of Southampton Island. Copenhagen: Gyldendalske Boghandel, 1931.
  • Parker, G. R. An Investigation of Caribou Range on Southampton Island, Northwest Territories. Ottawa: Information Canada, 1975.
  • Pickavance, J. R. 2006. "The Spiders of East Bay, Southampton Island, Nunavut, Canada". Arctic. 59, no. 3: 276-282.
  • Popham RE. 1953. "A Comparative Analysis of the Digital Patterns of Eskimo from Southampton Island". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 11, no. 2: 203-13.
  • Popham RE, and WD Bell. 1951. "Eskimo crania from Southampton Island". Revue Canadienne De Biologie / ̐ưedit̐ưee Par L'Universit̐ưe De Montr̐ưeal. 10, no. 5: 435-42.
  • Sutton, George Miksch, and John Bonner Semple. The Exploration of Southampton Island. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Institute, 1932.
  • Sutton, George Miksch. The Birds of Southampton Island. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Institute, 1932.
  • VanStone, James W. The Economy and Population Shifts of the Eskimos of Southampton Island. Ottawa: Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre, Dept. of Northern Affairs and National Resources, 1959.