An archipelago (PronEng|ɑrkəˈpɛləgoʊ) is a chain or cluster of islands. The word "archipelago" literally means "chief sea", from Italian "arcipelago" (IPA|artʃiˈpelago) , derived ultimately from Greek "arkhon" ("arkhi"-) ("leader") and "pelagos" ("sea"). In Italian, possibly following a tradition of antiquity, the Archipelago (Greek: Αρχιπέλαγος) 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. [ cite web|url=ttp:// |title=Archipelago |accessdate=2008-10-02 |date=2008 |publisher=Farlex, Inc. |archiveurl= |archivedate=2008 ]

Types of archipelagos

Archipelagos are usually found in the open sea; less commonly, a large land mass may neighbour them, an example being Scotland which has more than 700 islands surrou Bailey Rocksgenerated by subductions zones or hotspots, but there are many other processes involved in their construction, including erosion, deposition, and land elevation.

The five largest modern states that are mainly archipelagos are Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Indonesia (the world's largest archipelagic state according to the CIA World Factbook) [] .

The largest archipelago in the world by size is the Canadian Arctic Archipelago of Northern Canada. It is situated in the Arctic Ocean.fact|date=May 2008 The archipelago with most islands is the Archipelago Sea in Finland, but these islands are, on average, small.

ee also

*Island arc
*Earth science
*List of landforms
*Plate tectonics
*Island nation
*The World
* Lists of islands: see List of archipelagos and List of islands


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  • Archipelago — Ar chi*pel a*go, n.; pl. { goes} or { gos}. [It. arcipelago, properly, chief sea; Gr. pref ? + ? sea, perh. akin to ? blow, and expressing the beating of the waves. See {Plague}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The Grecian Archipelago, or [AE]gean Sea,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • archipelago — (n.) c.1500, from It. arcipelago the Aegean Sea (13c.), from Gk. arkhipelagos, from arkhi chief (see ARCHON (Cf. archon)) + pelagos sea (see PELAGIC (Cf. pelagic)). The Aegean Sea being full of island chains, the meaning was extended in Italian… …   Etymology dictionary

  • archipelago — ► NOUN (pl. archipelagos or archipelagoes) ▪ an extensive group of islands. ORIGIN from Greek arkhi chief + pelagos sea (originally a name for the Aegean Sea, notable for its large number of islands) …   English terms dictionary

  • archipelago — [är΄kə pel′ə gō΄] n. pl. archipelagoes or archipelagos [It arcipelago < MGr archipelagos, orig., the Aegean Sea < Gr archi , chief + pelagos, sea: see PELAGIC] 1. a sea with many islands 2. a group or chain of many islands archipelagic… …   English World dictionary

  • archipelago — archipelagic /ahr keuh peuh laj ik/, archipelagian /ahr keuh peuh lay jee euhn, jeuhn/, adj. /ahr keuh pel euh goh /, n., pl. archipelagos, archipelagoes. 1. a large group or chain of islands: the Malay Archipelago. 2. any large body of water… …   Universalium

  • archipelago — noun (plural goes or gos) Etymology: Archipelago Aegean Sea, from Italian Arcipelago, literally, chief sea, from arci (from Latin archi ) + Greek pelagos sea more at plagal Date: 1589 1. an expanse of water with many scattered islands …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • archipelago — noun /ɑːkɪˈpɛləɡəʊ,ɑːrkəˈpɛləɡoʊ/ a) A group of islands. The Gulag Archipelago b) Something scattered around like an archipelago. See Also: archipelagic …   Wiktionary

  • archipelago — [[t]ɑ͟ː(r)kipe̱ləgoʊ[/t]] archipelagos, archipelagoes (plural) N COUNT An archipelago is a group of islands, especially small islands. ...the Azores, a rugged, volcanic archipelago of nine islands …   English dictionary

  • archipelago — UK [ˌɑː(r)kɪˈpeləɡəʊ] / US [ˌɑrkɪˈpeləɡoʊ] noun [countable] Word forms archipelago : singular archipelago plural archipelagos 1) a large group of small islands 2) a sea or area of ocean with many islands in it …   English dictionary

  • archipelago — ar|chi|pel|a|go [ˌa:kıˈpeləgəu US ˌa:rkıˈpeləgou] n plural archipelagos [Date: 1600 1700; Origin: Archipelago Aegean sea (16 19 centuries), from Italian, main sea , from arci (from Latin archi ; ARCH ) + Greek pelagos sea ] a group of small… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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