In 1772 the French explorer Yves Kerguelen de Tremarec had discovered the land that bears his name in the South Indian Ocean without recognizing it to be an island, and naturally believed it to be part of the southern continent.
The sea-elephant and sea-leopard are characteristic. Penguins of various kinds are abundant; a teal (Querquedula Eatoni) peculiar to Kerguelen and the Crozets is also found in considerable numbers, and petrels, especially the giant petrel (Ossifraga gigantea), skuas, gulls, sheath-bills (Chionis minor), albatross, terns, cormorants and Cape pigeons frequent the island.
C. minor of Kerguelen Land, Prince Edward Island, Marion Island and the Crozets, is smaller, with pinkish feet.
The monotypic Pringlea antiscorbutica, the Kerguelen Island cabbage, has no near ally in the southern hemisphere, but is closely related to the northern Cochlearia.
The North African Basin has several deeps with more than 3300 fathoms to the northwest and the south-west of the Cape Verde Islands, but the South African Basin is less deep. In the South Atlantic there is no connexion between the Central Rise and the Antarctic Shelf, for the Indo-Atlantic Antarctic Basin stretches from near the South Sandwich Islands towards Kerguelen with depths exceeding 2500 fathoms and reaching in places 3100.
In January 1893 Kerguelen was annexed by France, and its commercial exploitation was assigned to a private company.
This rise is separated from the Crozet Rise by a depression extending to 2675 fathoms, through which the Kerguelen Trough (which lies north of Kerguelen) is brought into free communication with the Indo-Atlantic Antarctic Basin.
Hooker the vegetation of Kerguelen Island is of great antiquity; and may have originally reached it from the American continent; it has no affinities with Africa.