Coral Harbour, Nunavut, incorporated as a hamlet in 1972, population 834 (2011c), 769 (2006c). The Hamlet of Coral Harbour is located at the head of South Bay on SOUTHAMPTON ISLAND in Hudson Bay, 715 km southeast of IQALUIT. Situated on bedrock ridges above the tidal flats, this was originally the home of the SADLERMIUT INUIT, who ultimately perished from disease contracted from European whalers. The whalers subsequently brought in people from the Wager Bay-Repulse Bay area along with Inuit from Baffin Island and northern Québec. Native Point, 64 km southeast of Coral Harbour, has the remnants of a large Sadlermiut Inuit village.
The present community of Coral Harbour was formed in 1924 with the establishment of a Hudson's Bay Company trading post, previously located on COATS ISLAND to the south. The Canadian and United States militaries built an airfield here during World War II which was later taken over by the federal Department of Transport. The Inuit saw a major transformation of their traditional hunting activities in the 1950s after the last caribou on the island were shot. More emphasis was subsequently placed on marine mammals and birds. This changed once again after a new caribou herd was introduced to the island in the late 1960s. The herd has grown so large that a commercial harvest is used to control its numbers.
Today, the Inuit continue to live a traditional lifestyle although many are employed by the government. Residents also rely on seasonal work including the caribou harvest, guiding and construction. The name Coral Harbour is descriptive and refers to the fossilized coral in its harbour. The Inuit's traditional name for the site and the island, Salliq, is also descriptive and means "flat island."