Bouvet Island (Norwegian: Bouvetøya) is an uninhabited sub-antarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, south-southwest of the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa). It is a dependent area of Norway and is not subject to the Antarctic Treaty.
Bouvet Island is located at 54°26′S 3°24′E. It is 58.5 km² (22.6 square miles) in area, 93% of which is covered by glaciers which block the south and east coasts. It has no ports or harbors, only offshore anchorages, and is difficult to approach. The glaciers form a thick ice layer falling in high cliffs into the sea or onto the black beaches of volcanic sand. The 29.6 km (18.4 miles) of coastline are often surrounded by an ice pack. The highest point on the island is called Olavtoppen, whose peak is 780 m (2,600 ft) above sea level. A lava shelf on the island's west coast, which appeared between 1955 and 1958, provides a nesting site for birds.
Bouvet Island is a candidate for the most remote island in the world, along with other small isolated islands such as Tristan da Cunha, Easter Island and the Pitcairn Islands. The nearest land is Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, over 1,600 km (1,000 miles) away to the south, which is itself uninhabited.
Bouvet Island was discovered on January 1, 1739, by Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier, who commanded the French ships Aigle and Marie. However, the island's position was not accurately fixed and Bouvet did not circumnavigate his discovery, so it remained unclear whether it was an island or part of a continent.
The island was not sighted again until 1808, when it was spotted by one Lindsay, the captain of the Enderby Company whaler Swan. Though he didn't land, he was the first to correctly fix the island's position.
The first successful landfall dates to December 1822, when Captain Benjamin Morrell of the sealer Wasp landed, hunting for seals. He was successful and took several seal skins.
In 1971, Bouvet Island and the adjacent territorial waters were designated a nature reserve. The island remains uninhabited, although an automated weather station was set up there in 1977 by the Norwegians.