British Arctic Territories

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British Arctic territory
Overseas territory of the United Kingdom (16th Century-1880)

16th Century
  1. now Canadian Arctic Archipelago (since 1880)
The British Arctic Territories (darker region) upon incorporation into Canada

British Arctic territories were territories claimed by the United Kingdom in North America, consisting of the islands of what is now known as the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (excepting islands in Hudson Bay, which were part of Rupert's Land). The region was part of British North America.

The British claim to the area was based on the discoveries of Martin Frobisher (1535–1594) in the 16th century. Britain passed control of the islands to Canada in 1880, by means of an Imperial Order in Council, the Adjacent Territories Order, passed under the Royal Prerogative.[1] After the 1880 transfer Canada gradually incorporated the islands with Rupert's Land into the Northwest Territories. The transfer was necessary over the fear of American interest in the area as part of the Monroe Doctrine.[1]

On April 1, 1999, the territory of Nunavut was created from the eastern portion of the Northwest Territories. The majority of the islands became part of Nunavut. Islands split between Nunavut and Northwest Territories include Victoria Island, Melville Island, Mackenzie King Island and Borden Island.

These islands were never part of Rupert's Land, which covered those parts of North America draining into Hudson Bay. Canada had acquired those regions in 1870, creating the Province of Manitoba and the new Northwest Territories, which originally included northern Ontario, the rest of Manitoba, all of Saskatchewan and part of Alberta, and what is now Nunavut territory, with the name Northwest Territories retained by the successor government in the region flanked by the Mackenzie River drainage to the north of Alberta. The North-Western Territory was to its northwest, and included parts of British Columbia north of the Stikine Territory and including all of today's Yukon territory, and parts of Alberta not in the Hudson Bay drainage, as well as today's Northwest Territories.

British Arctic Territory flag hoax[edit]

Flags of the World has a tradition of posting a new flag for the British Arctic Territory every April 1. It has led to some persistent misinformation on the web.[2]

See also[edit]