Coats Island

Coats Island, Nunavut, 5,498 km2, is one of several islands that guard the northern entrance to Hudson Bay. Known originally as Cary Swan Nest, a name still applied to its southeast point, it received its modern name from William Coats, a sea captain who made many voyages into the bay for the Hudson's Bay Company between 1727 and 1751.

History and Geography

For the most part flat or gently rolling, Coats Island was believed by early mariners to be joined to the larger Southampton Island. During the 1860s, American whalers began to visit the bay and discovered the straits (Fisher and Evans) that separate the islands. Uninhabited today, it was probably occupied seasonally by the Sadlermiut Inuit of Southampton Island, who were annihilated by an epidemic after 1900.

Help students and educators this school year!

The Canadian Encyclopedia is a project of Historica Canada, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization devoted to teaching Canadians more about our shared country. Last school year, over 13 million people used The Canadian Encyclopedia as a trusted resource. Nearly 5 million of those users were students and teachers. Please donate today to help even more Canadians access free, impartial, fact-checked, regularly updated information about Canada’s history and culture in both official languages. All donations above $3 will receive a tax receipt.