Novaya Zemlya

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Novaya Zemlya (Russian: Новая Земля, New Land) is an island group in the Arctic Ocean, forming part of Russia. It consists of two main islands, Severny (Northern) and Yuzhny (Southern) separated by the narrow Matochkin Strait. Novaya Zemlya is bounded by the Barents Sea to the west and the Kara Sea to the east. The territory has an area of approximately 35,000 square miles (91,000 sq km), roughly the size of Portugal or Indiana.

The first permanent settlement of Novaya Zemlya was established in 1870. Today the territory has a population of around 2,700, the vast majority of whom live in the sole settlement, Belushya Guba.

Novaya Zemlya was surveyed by the Dutch explorer Willem Barents in 1594 and 1596. Barents perished on the latter expedition and may have been buried on Severny island.

The territory was the location of nuclear weapons tests by the former Soviet Union.

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