First International Polar Year

Claiming the Far North

the Arctic 1882.1009

First International Polar Year

Arctic exploration, colonization of Greenland and Northern Canada, Erik the Red's Land (9 October 1882)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

By the 1870s polar exploration was becoming increasingly nationalistic, but some realized that a coordinated approach involving multiple simultaneous expeditions might be more fruitful. This thinking led to the International Polar Year, when from the summer of 1882 to that of 1883, researchers from Austria-Hungary, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US operated meteorological stations around the Arctic circle in what was to be the first great international scientific project.

Main Events

Keewatin Act

Under the Keewatin Act, the Dominion of Canada established the District of Keewatin from a portion of the Northwest Territories to the west of Hudson Bay. The new territory was created to administer the land between Manitoba and Ontario.

Vega Expedition

The Vega Expedition - a Swedish Arctic expedition led by Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld aboard the steamship Vega - traveled from Stockholm, Sweden, along the north coast of Russia and through the Bering Strait, becoming the first to navigate the Northeast Passage. The expedition continued south and returned to Sweden via the Suez Canal, in the process also completing the first circumnavigation of Eurasia.

Adjacent Territories Order

The United Kingdom passed control of the British Arctic Territories to Canada under the Adjacent Territories Order, which admitted all remaining unorganized British territories in North America into the Dominion of Canada. The region was incorporated into the North-West Territories.

First International Polar Year

The first International Polar Year (IPY) was proposed by an Austro-Hungarian naval officer, Karl Weyprecht, in 1875 and organized by Georg Neumayer, director of the German Maritime Observatory. After seven years organization, the IPY took place in 1882-1883, with expeditions from Austria-Hungary, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain and Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States travel to the Arctic and Antarctic regions in an international collaborative research effort.

About this map