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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An archipelago (pronounced /ɑrkɨˈpɛləɡoʊ/) is a chain or cluster of islands that are formed tectonically. The word archipelago, is directly derived from the Greek ἄρχι- - arkhi- ("chief") and πέλαγος - pelagos ("sea"). In Italian, possibly following a tradition of antiquity, the Archipelago (from medieval Greek *ἀρχιπέλαγος) was the proper name for the Aegean Sea and, later, usage shifted to refer to the Aegean Islands (since the sea is remarkable for its large number of islands). It is now used to generally refer to any island group or, sometimes, to a sea containing a large number of scattered islands like the Aegean Sea.[1]


Types of archipelagos

The Ksamil Archipelago in Albania

Archipelagos are usually found in the open sea; less commonly, a large land mass may neighbour them. For example, Scotland has more than 700 islands surrounding its mainland. Archipelagos are often volcanic, forming along island arcs generated by subduction zones or hotspots, but there are many other processes involved in their construction, including erosion, deposition and land elevation.

The five largest modern countries that are mainly archipelagos are Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Indonesia. The largest archipelago in the world, by size, is Indonesia.[2] The archipelago with the most islands is the Archipelago Sea in Finland, but these islands are generally small.

It is said to be the home of the fictional character Crash Bandicoot, and abundant with Wumpa fruit.

See also

Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha


  1. ^ "Archipelago". Farlex, Inc.. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  2. ^ "Indonesia". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 

External links

Wikisource-logo.svg "Archipelago". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911. 



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