Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America

Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America

by Shelagh D. Grant


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Based on Shelagh Grant’s groundbreaking archival research and drawing on her reputation as a leading historian in the field, Polar Imperative is a compelling overview of the historical claims of sovereignty over this continent’s polar regions. This engaging, timely history examines the unfolding implications of major climate changes; the impact of resource exploitation on the indigenous peoples; the current high-stakes game for control over the adjacent waters of Alaska, Arctic Canada and Greenland; the events, issues and strategies that have influenced claims to authority over the lands and waters of the North American Arctic, from the arrival of the first inhabitants around 3,000 BCE to the present; and sovereignty from a comparative point of view within North America and parallel situations in the European and Asian Arctic.

Polar Imperative is a definitive reference on Arctic history and will redefine North Americans’ understanding of the sovereign rights and responsibilities of this northernmost region.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781553654186
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.
Publication date: 07/29/2010
Pages: 560
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Shelagh D. Grant is the author of the Clio Award–winning Arctic Justice: On Trial for Murder, Pond Inlet 1923; Sovereignty or Security? Government Policy in the Canadian North, 1936–1950; and more recently, Mittimatalik-Pond Inlet: A History, translated into Inuktitut. She is an adjunct professor in the Canadian Studies Program and research associate of the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies at Trent University, and she lives in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Table of Contents

Maps • viii Preface and acknowledgements • ix

Part i: Setting the Stage
1 Defining the Parameters • 5
2 First Inhabitants, 3000bc – 1500ad • 25
3 Merchants and Monarchs, 1500–1814 • 55

Part ii: The Nineteenth Century
4 The British Admiralty and the Arctic, 1818–53 • 97
5 Purchase of Alaska, 1818–67 • 115
6 Sale of Rupert’s Land, 1870 • 135
7 British Transfer of the Arctic Islands, 1870–1900 • 155

Part iii: The Twentieth Century
8 Perfecting Sovereign Titles, 1900–38 • 193
9 World War II, 1939–45 • 247
10 Postwar and Cold War, 1946–91 • 285
11 Arctic Oil and Aboriginal Rights, 1960–2004 • 339

Part iv: The Twenty-First Century
12 Beginning of a New Era • 405
13 Conflicts and Challenges • 435

Notes • 471

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