The island was first named by the French Antarctic Expedition in 1838, who called it le Rosamel in honor of Vice Admiral Claude Charles Marie du Campe de Rosamel, French Naval Minister. It was a way point on the second French exploration of the region. Jules Dumont d'Urville put anchor off the island when conditions aboard the Astrolabe and Zelee became overwhelming. The majority of the crew of the Astrolabe had obvious symptoms of scurvy and the main decks were covered by smoke from the ships' fires and bad smells and became unbearable.
It was ultimately renamed Andersson Island on November 21, 1949. It was named for Dr. Johan Gunnar Andersson (1874-1960), a Swedish geologist who had served on the SwAE. The renaming was necessary to avoid confusion with Uruguay Island, located off the Graham Coast.