Kerguelen Islands, a French possession in the southern Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles (1,930 km) north of Antarctica. The group is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Territories and consists of one large island—Kerguelen—and about 300 small ones. Total area is roughly 2,700 square miles (7,000 km2).
Kerguelen is volcanic in origin, heavily glaciated, and mountainous, rising to 6,430 feet (1,960 m) at Mt. Ross. The weather is cold and stormy. Plant life is sparse. There are no indigenous animals, but penguins and other seabirds visit the islands. Some commercial fishing is done along the coast. The only settlement is Port-aux-Français, a scientific station. The islands were discovered in 1772 by the French navigator Yves de Kerguélen-Trémarec. France annexed the group in 1893.