Overview Franz Josef Land
General, landscape: With less than 20 km², Kuhn Island is one of the minor isles of the Franz Josef Land archipelago. Due to its low elevation (max. ca. 240 m), it is mostly free of permanent ice.
History: Kuhn Island was discovered and named already under the northward dash of Payer and his men from the TEGETTHOFF to the highest north of the archipelago. Otherwise, it has no special role in the history of Franz Josef Land.
Biology, wildlife: Tundra vegetation on the island is mostly sparse at best, often only mosses and lichens - with a few localities with more productive plant life under birdcliffs. As the island offers extensive (though not very high) cliffs in many places behind the coastlines, these are popular breeding colonies - mostly for Alle alle, Cepphus grylle and Rissa tridactyla, also some Larus hyperboreus.
Names: Named by the TEGETTHOFF Expedition after the contemporary austria-hungarian minister of war, Franz von Kuhn, Freiherr von Kuhnenfeld, who ranked among the supporters of the expedition. It is marked with this name also on the map drawn by Payer. On modern maps, it is sometimes also called "Kuna" which is a retransscription from the Russian cyrillic spelling (see name confusion).
Occasionally, one comes across to the name Brosch Island - sometimes even instead, or otherwise just south of Kuhn Island. Ship lieutenant Gustav Brosch was one of the officers of the TEGETTHOFF. On Payer´s general map, no Brosch Island is found and I could not check detail records of Payer. However, Brosch Island is used on the more detailed map of Jackson from 1897 for the tiny rock island just off the south coast of Kuhn Island. As neither Jackson nor Nansen nor Leigh Smith have been to this area, Jacksons informations about this part of the archipelago probably are taken from detail records of Payer. The subsequent maps of
Luigi Amadeo di Savoia and of Fiala take over the same details from the
Jackson map here.
Click on picture for bigger version.
View across parts of Kane Island to Kuhn Island, with the dark rock of Brosch Island clearly recognizable off its south coast on the left.
To the left in the background, mostly glaciated, the east of Jackson Island and behind it also Karl-Alexander Island. To the right in the background the dark rock face of the small Stoliczka Island.