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Background on Hans Island


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The ownership of the island is disputed as it is claimed by both Canada and Denmark. They failed to settle the issue when borders were drawn between Canada and Greenland in 1973. The border is established in the delimitation treaty about the Continental Shelf between Greenland and Canada, ratified by the United Nations on December 17, 1973, and in force since March 13, 1974. At that time, it was the longest shelf boundary treaty ever negotiated and may have been the first ever continental shelf boundary developed by a computer program.

The Government of the Kingdom of Denmark and the Government of Canada, having decided to establish in the area between Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Islands a dividing line beyond which neither Party exercising its rights under the Convention on the Continental Shelf of April/29/1958 will extend its sovereign rights for the purpose of exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of the continental shelf...

The treaty list 127 points (latitude and longitude) from Davis Strait to the end of Robeson Channel, where Nares Strait runs into Lincoln Sea, to draw geodesic lines between, to form the border. The treaty does not, however, draw a line from point 122 (80° 49' 2 - 66° 29' 0) to point 123 (80° 49' - 66° 26' 3), a distance of 875 metres. Hans Island is situated in the centre of this area.

The above was taken from wikipedia. It just goes to show you: it pays to have good, complete treaties AND good maps to go along with it.


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