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The Largest Islands in the World (by area)

The Largest Islands in the World (by area)

Want to know which is the world’s biggest island? Here’s a list of the largest islands in the world, ranked by their total area in square miles and square kilometers. 

Greenland

Greenland is the largest island in the world with an area of (840,004 sq. miles) (2,175,600 sq. km). It’s an arctic island, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, which technically makes Denmark one of the biggest countries in the world if you include the size of Greenland.

Despite its name, it’s not very green considering that it’s covered in snow and ice most of the year. The capital city of Nuuk is home to almost 1/4 of the total population of Greenland. The majority of Greenlanders are Inuit or a mix of Danish and Inuit. 

Greenland is the largest island in the world

Photo: Shutterstock

New Guinea

The island of New Guinea is the second-largest island in the world, and it’s divided in half by Indonesia (West Papua) and Papua New Guinea.

The whole island has an area of (303,381 sq. miles) (785,753 sq. km), which makes it half the size of Greenland, although it’s still a very big island that is home to more than 11 million people. 

New Guinea

Photo: muhammadfath/Shutterstock

Borneo

Borneo is famous for being home to Orangutans, one of the closest relatives to humans. But the island is also ranked as the third-largest island in the world with an area of (288,869 sq. miles) (748,168 sq. km).

It’s shared between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. 

Borneo is one of the largest islands in the world

Photo: Fish Ho Hong Yun/Shutterstock

Madagascar

Madagascar is the largest island in Africa and has a total area of (226,917 sq. miles) (587,713 sq. km). It’s particularly known for its incredibly biodiverse flora and fauna, which is believed to have happened because of its isolated position for millions of years. 

Madagascar is home to chameleons and the lemurs as well as the majestic Baobab trees.

Madagascar

Photo: Michail_Vorobyev/Shutterstock

Baffin Island

Baffin Island is another arctic island that is known for its big size. It belongs to Canada and the Nunavut territory in the northern part of the country.

The island has a total area of (194,574 sq. miles) (503,944 sq. km), which makes it one of the largest islands in the world!

Baffin Island

Photo: Ed Dods/Shutterstock

List of the largest islands in the world

You can see the total size of the world’s biggest islands by square kilometers and square miles below. 

Rank Island Area
(km2)
Area
(sq mi)
1 Greenland 2,130,800 822,700
2 New Guinea 785,753 303,381
3 Borneo 748,168 288,869
4 Madagascar 587,041 226,658
5 Baffin Island 507,451 195,928
6 Sumatra 443,066 182,812
7 Honshu 227,960 88,020
8 Victoria Island 217,291 83,897
9 Great Britain 209,331 80,823
10 Ellesmere Island 196,236 75,767
11 Sulawesi 180,681 69,761
12 South Island 145,836 56,308
13 Java 138,794 53,589
14 North Island 111,583 43,082
15 Luzon 109,965 42,458

Australia is de facto the largest island in the world with a size of (2,966,153 sq miles) (7,682,300 sq km). However, it’s mostly defined as a continental landmass, whereas the others are defined as real islands. 

Largest islands in the world

Photo: Shutterstock

More about the Largest Islands in the World

Some of the largest islands in the world are largely uninhabited such as Greenland and Baffin Island.

But some are home to quite large populations, such as New Guinea with 11 million people, and Great Britain especially, which is home to more than 67 million people despite only being the 9th largest island in the world. 

Honshu (Japan), Java (Indonesia), and Luzon (Philippines) are other examples of the most populous islands in the world. 

Most of the largest islands in the world are located in the arctic region, Oceania, or Asia. If you look at the top 15 biggest islands, 7 of them are located on the Asian continent, whereas Africa only has 1 island on the list.  

Great Britain

Photo: photo.ua/Shutterstock

Largest Island Countries in the world

Some of the world’s largest islands are just part of a country, like Baffin Island, Java, and Luzon, but there are also some nations in the world which are made up of one or several islands. 

  1. Indonesia – (735,358 sq miles) (1,904,569 sq km)
  2. Madagascar – (226,658 sq miles) (587,041 sq km)
  3. Papua New Guinea – (178,704 sq miles) (462,840 sq km)
  4. Japan – (145,898 sq miles) (377,873 sq km)
  5. Malaysia – (127,355 sq miles) (329,847 sq km)
  6. Philippines – (115,831 sq miles) (300,000 sq km)
  7. New Zealand – (104,454 sq miles) (270,534 sq km)
  8. Great Britain – (80,823 sq. miles) (209,331 sq. km)

Great Britain is actually part of the United Kingdom, but Northern Ireland is not part of the island of Great Britain (Scotland, England, Wales). 


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