The Barents Sea is a southern part of the Arctic Ocean 800 miles (1,300 km) long and 650 miles (1,050 km) wide lying to the north of Norway and Russia. It is bounded by the archipelagoes of Svalbard and Franz Josef Land to the north, the Norwegian and Russian mainland (south), the Novaya Zemlya archipelago (east), and by the the Greenland Sea (west). Ice does form in winter, but fields are thin and icebergs do not linger long. Ice-free ports are Murmansk and Teribyorka (Russia) and Vardo (Norway). In summer, the edge of the ice retreats far to the north. Wildlife includes seals and whales, polar bears, Arctic foxes), sea gulls, and, in warm weather, ducks and geese.
The sea was known to Vikings and medieval Russians as the Murmean Sea. It first appeared under its modern name in a chart published in 1853, honouring a 16th-century Dutch seeker of a northeast passage to Asia, Willem Barents.
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