Spitzbergen (g hard), a group of Arctic islands, lying 400 miles N. of Norway, and consisting of West Spitzbergen (15,260 sq. m.), North-east Land (4040 sq. m.), Stans Foreland (2210 sq. m.), the three islands called King Charles Land or Wiche Island (also identified with Gillis Land), Barents Land, Prince Charles Foreland, and several smaller islands and clusters of islets. The whole is icebound, and there are magnificent glaciers on the eastern shores, especially Dickson's glacier on North-east Land, 150 miles long. A thick ice-sheet covers the interior of the larger islands; but several sharp peaks - whence the name (meaning 'needle-mountains') - project above it and are nearly 2000 feet high; others on Prince Charles Foreland are almost 5000 feet. The shores of West Spitzbergen are deeply indented with fjords, two of which almost cut the island in two. The north-west shores of North-east Land are also very much broken. The vegetation is very scanty; except for the polar willow and a couple of berry-bushes, it consists principally of saxifrages and mosses, on which feed large herds of reindeer. The arctic fox and polar bear are the only other land animals, though there are vast swarms of sea-fowl. In the 16th and 17th centuries large fleets of whalers used to come hither in summer, but the whales have been almost exterminated, and the seals will soon be. There are no permanent inhabitants. The islands were discovered by Barents in 1596. See works by Lord Dufferin (1857), Lamont (1876), Conway (1897), and, in German, by Hafter (1900).