Wrangel Island Fiasco

Claiming the Far North

the Arctic 1921.1031

Wrangel Island Fiasco

Arctic exploration, colonization of Greenland and Northern Canada, Erik the Red's Land (31 October 1921)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

While Soviet Russia faced off against the Japanese in the Far East, the Canadian explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson led an expedition to attempt to claim uninhabited Wrangel Island for Canada and the British Empire. Stefansson's settlement lasted a little over a year before being replaced by an American effort, which was in turn dislodged when the Soviets reasserted their claim to the island in 1924.

Main Events

Occupation of northern Sakhalin

In retaliation for the Nikolayevsk Incident, Japanese troops moved into northern Sakhalin - at the time, nominally part of the Far Eastern Republic. They would remain in occupation of the territory until 1925.

Restoration of Kamchatka

With the region apparently under stable Bolshevik control, the Far Eastern Republic ceded Kamchatka, Anadyr, and the coast of Okhotsk to Soviet Russia.

Norwegian station on Jan Mayen

After the League of Nations granted Norway jurisdiction over Jan Mayen island, Norway opened its first meteorological station there.

Okhotsk coast and eastern Yakutia revolt, reinforced by White general Bochkaryov

Yakut revolt breaks out

Wrangel Island fiasco

On 9 September 1921, a team of five settlers - three American men, one Canadian man, and an Inuk woman - sent by Canadian explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson embarked from Alaska aboard the Silver Wave, heading for Wrangel Island, in the Russian Arctic, to claim that island for Canada. The team arrived on 16 September with the intention of living there for 2 years, but by early 1922 one of the Americans had fallen sick and the other three men had disappeared after setting off to cross the frozen Chukchi Sea in search of help. When the relief ship finally arrived in August 1923, the only settler still alive was the Inuk woman, Ada Blackjack.

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