The harmonic archipelago is a standard example of a two-dimensional space with unusual properties, regarding its algebraic topology. The space is homeomorphic to a disc but for a single point and can be described as the reduced suspension of the graph of the topologist's sine curve y=sin(1/x) On the other hand it also has a natural interpretation as a mapping cone over a wedge of circles. Replacing these circles with an arbitrary family of topological spaces X_i yields the generalized notion of an archipelago space. The fundamental group of such an archipelago is a quotient of the topologist's product of the fundamental groups G_i=pi_1(X_i) modulo the corresponding free product. In the first chapter, it is shown that, surprisingly, for countable groups G_i containing no elements of order 2 this quotient A(G_i) is independent of the actual choice of the constituent groups G_i. In particular, the fundamental group of any archipelago space built of locally finite CW-complexes is isomorphic to either that of the standard harmonic archipelago, A(Z), or to the one with projective planes instead of circles, A(Z_2). In the second chapter, another remarkable property is shown: that every countable locally free group can be embedded into A(Z) as a subgroup. In the third chapter, the recursion technique used in the proof of this embedding theorem is adapted to other groups and identified as a non-abelian analogue of cotorsion. By this it is possible to obtain a complete description of the first singular homology group of some wild spaces. In particular, the abelianizations of the archipelago groups A(G_i), with the G_i of cardinality less or equal to the continuum, are all isomorphic to each other.