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Gjoa Haven (Inuktitut: Uqsuqtuuq; Syllabics: ᐅᖅᓱᖅᑑᖅ, meaning "lots of fat", referring to the abundance of blubbery sea mammals in the nearby waters) is a hamlet in Nunavutmarker, above the Arctic Circle, located in the Kitikmeot Regionmarker, northeast of Yellowknifemarker, Northwest Territoriesmarker. It is the only settlement on King William Islandmarker. The name Gjoa Haven is from the Norwegian "Gjøahavn" or "Gjøa's Harbour", and was named by polar explorer Roald Amundsen after his ship Gjøamarker.

In 1903, Amundsen was attempting the first traverse of the Northwest Passage; by October the straits through which he was travelling began to ice up, and Amundsen put Gjøa into a natural harbour on the southeast coast of King William Island. He was to stay there, in what Amundsen called "the finest little harbor in the world", for nearly two years. He spent that time with the local Netsilik Inuit, learning to live off the land and travel efficiently. This knowledge proved to be vital for his later successful exploration to the South Polemarker. He explored the Boothia Peninsulamarker, searching for the exact location of the North Magnetic Pole. Some of the present Inuit people claim to be descendants of Amundsen (or his companions).

The growth of a permanent settlement at Gjoa Haven mirrors the movement of the traditionally nomadic Inuit people toward a more settled lifestyle. In 1961, the town's population was 110; population was 960 according to the 2001 Census, having grown due to people moving from the traditional camps to be close to the healthcare and educational facilities available at Gjoa Haven. As of the 2006 census, the population was 1,064, an increase of 10.8% from the 2001 census. Gjoa Haven has expanded to such an extent that a newer subdivision has been set up near the airport at .

The community is served by the Gjoa Haven Airportmarker and by annual supply sealift. The area is home to CAM-B, a North Warning System site.

See also


  1. "Vi er Amundsens etterkommere"
  2. 2006 census
  • Huntford, R. (2003). Scott and Amundsen: The last place on earth. London: Abacus., ISBN 0-349-11395-5

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