A Historical and Legal Study of Sovereignty in the Canadian North


A Historical and Legal Study of Sovereignty in the Canadian North

Gordon W. Smith, PhD, dedicated much of his life to researching Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic. A historian by training, his 1952 dissertation from Columbia University on “The Historical and Legal Background of Canada’s Arctic Claims” remains a foundational work on the topic, as does his 1966 chapter “Sovereignty in the North: The Canadian Aspect of an International Problem,” in R. St. J. Macdonald’s The Arctic Frontier. This work is the first in a project to edit and publish Smith’s unpublished opus - a manuscript on “A Historical and Legal Study of Sovereignty in the Canadian North and Related Law of the Sea Problems.” Written over three decades (yet incomplete at the time of his death in 2000), this work may well be the most comprehensive study on the nature and importance of the Canadian North in existence.

Volume 1: Terrestrial Sovereignty provides the most comprehensive documentation yet available on the post-Confederation history of Canadian sovereignty in the north. As Arctic sovereignty and security issues return to the forefront of public debate, this invaluable resource provides the foundation upon which we may expand our understanding of Canada’s claims from the original transfers of the northern territories in 1870 and 1880 through to the late twentieth century. The book provides a wealth of detail, ranging from administrative formation and delineation of the northern territories through to other activities including government expeditions to northern waters, foreign whaling, the Alaska boundary dispute, northern exploration between 1870 and 1918, the background of Canada’s sector claim, the question concerning Danish sovereignty over Greenland and its relation to Canadian interests, the Ellesmere Island affair, the activities of American explorers in the Canadian North, and the Eastern Arctic Patrol. The final chapter examines the Eastern Greenland case and its implications for Canada.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front Cover 1
Title Page 2
Series Page 3
Full Title Page 4
Copyright Page 5
Contents 6
Forword: Gordon W. Smith 8
Editor's Note 14
Introduction:Terrestrial Sovereignty before 1870 22
1: The Transfers of Arctic Territories from Great Britain to Canada, 1870–80 28
2: A Period of Relative Inactivity and Unconcern, 1880–95 46
3: Organization and Administration of the NWT, 1895–1918 58
4: Whaling and the Yukon Gold Rush 72
5: The Alaska Boundary Dispute 92
6: Foreign Explorers in the Canadian North,1877–1917 140
7: Canadian Government Expeditions to Northern Waters, 1897–1918 158
8: The Sector Principle and theBackground of Canada’s Sector Claim 202
9: Vilhjalmur Stefansson and His Plans for Northern Enterprise after the First World War 220
10: Danish Sovereignty, Greenland, and the Ellesmere Island Affair of 1919–21 236
11: The Wrangel Island Affair of the Early 1920s 288
12: The Question of Sovereignty over the Sverdrup Islands, 1925–30 316
13: The Eastern Greenland Case and Its Implications for the Canadian North 334
14: American Explorers in the Canadian Arctic and Related Matters, 1918–39 342
15: The Eastern Arctic Patrol, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Other Government Activities, 1922–39 362
16: Epilogue: Henry Larsen, the St. Roch, and the Northwest Passage Voyage of 1940–42 390
Notes 400
Bibliography 488
Additional Readings 498
Index 502
Back Cover 514