Franz Josef Land, (Russian: Zemlya Frantsa Iosifa), a group of about 85 Russian islands in the Arctic Ocean some 800 miles (1,290 km) north of the Russian mainland. Franz Josef Land is north of Novaya Zemlya and east of Svalbard. It is the most northerly land in the Eastern Hemisphere, situated between 80° and 82° north latitude. The total area is about 8,000 square miles (20,700 km2).
The largest islands are Aleksandry Land, Georga Land, Greem Bell Island, and Vilcheka Land. The islands are 90 per cent covered by glacial ice. The Austro-Hungarian expedition that discovered Franz Josef Land in 1873 found it uninhabited. It was claimed in 1926 by the Soviet Union, becoming part of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic.