An archipelago [ arçipe ː l] ( masculine ) is an island-studded sea area.


In contrast to the archipelago belong to an archipelago - at least in the literal sense - not just the islands together, but also the maritime area lying between the islands or island groups. The term is used today but also in the sense of the archipelago.

In the Annex to the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS ) of 1982, covering: " archipelago " (meaning ) a group of islands, including parts of islands, interconnecting waters and other natural features which are so closely interrelated that such islands, waters and other natural features form an intrinsic geographical, economic and political unity. "

Word origin

The term is not used in classical Greek, but in the 13th century πέλαγος formed in Italian by transformation of Greek Aigaion pelagos Αἰγαῖον in the form arc ( h) ipelago and originally meant the Aegean Sea, and later the islands, eventually generally an archipelago or a archipelago. The Italian prefix arci or impossible - was borrowed via Latin from Greek archi- (Greek ἄρχι, main ') ( cf. German arch); pelagus Latin, from Greek pelagos πέλαγος means sea '.