Hans Ø an introduction to North Arctic sovereignty

     Far from the warmth of the equator, or the magnificent splendour of early civilization in Mesopotamia, the North Arctic world has only recently within the last half century become a geographic hotspot. The ice that previously was a barrier to travel, trade and colonization is beginning to thaw. With this environmental change access to resources, trade, and travel are becoming more possible; at the expense of traditional means. Greenland, a self-ruling territory of Denmark and Canada are two of the most affected states of the recent warming in the region. World regions have been repeatedly swept by demographic groups, which hold technological prowess over the incumbents of a given geographic zone. For the Canadian Arctic and North American Arctic regions, this sweeping came about unchallenged over 1,000 years ago, and accomplished by hunter-gatherers today referred to as the Inuit. The process of the expansion began with a demographic group that spoke a common language, and had advanced far enough to domesticate dogs for sledding as well as construct and utilize kayaks.

     Today this demographic of peoples living around the Arctic in both Canada and populating much of Greenland are referred to as Inuit, and have attracted publicity through the recent environmental crisis of the past decade. The environmental transformation that threatens this region is not limited to the melting of ice and glaciers, but a geopolitical crisis that brings in many of the world’s dominant states.

The transformation in how humans use the Arctic hinterlands is being driven as much by global economics and natural resource availability as it is by climate change. It is mostly the work of a few industries: natural resource development (think oil and gas, minerals, and timber), marine tourism (think cruise ships), and fishing (Brigham, 2010)

As environmental changes occur, such as the melting of the arctic passages or the thawing of glaciers, the arctic of Greenland and Canada will become heavily contested for the resource rights to the region. The future of the North Arctic world, specifically the Canadian and Danish Greenland, will be characterized by mutual leadership to pursue a future built upon values of peace, transparency and equality through participating in political deals, treaties and global forums.

     Together Canada and Denmark, with Greenland, are small power states with a capability to influence the order of the present international power system through cooperating to determine a politically viable future in the arctic whereby the two states can coexist and benefit from their relationships. Danish and Canadian cooperation in the relations regarding the boarder of Hans Island can show how ideal the politics of the North Arctic can be. The transactions in the United Nations over the disputes regarding claims in the arctic with legal settlement will be the most ideal; the participation of those states interested in the territory will determine the merit of their claim.



  1. Diamond, J., 2012. The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?. New York: Viking. P. 381.
  2. Brigham, L., 2010. The Arctic is Experiencing a 21st-Century Gold Rush. [Online] Available at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/08/16/think_again_the_arctic?page=full [Accessed 25 October 2013].
  3. Denmark will be a stand in for Greenland, as Denmark is still in control of Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Defence as well as offering a 3.5DKK billion or a 588$ US million subsidy to Greenland –  as per The Economist, 2012.

3 thoughts on “Hans Ø an introduction to North Arctic sovereignty

  1. Very nice post, I agree fully that Canada has the opportunity to influence other nations about, like how you said, how ideal Arctic politics can be.


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