This essay focuses on the settlement, cultural, and economic history of the circumpolar Arctic region. I discuss the peopling, exploration, and natural resources of the Arctic, and I include a case study of economic change in Greenland and Arctic Canada. I wrote these lectures for a Quark expedition in Greenland and Canada in 2000.
I first discuss the main groups of Arctic peoples, their uses of sea and land resources, and their cultural and technological transitions as the Arctic has modernized. I next examine why Europeans and Americans explored the Arctic, attempted to reach the North Pole, and transited the Northeast and Northwest Passages. I then look at how Natives (for food) and later Europeans and Americans (for profit) have used Arctic resources – the exploitation (in the 16th-19th centuries) of narwhal whale, walrus, and mammoth ivory, whale oil and baleen, and Siberian and Canadian furs, and (in the 19th-20th centuries) of gold, diamonds, minerals, and oil and gas. I conclude with an analysis of economic change in Greenland and Nunavut Province, Canada to explore how their Inuit residents might improve their lives. I append a time line, a bibliography, and a description of sites that I visited in the Arctic.
Inuit, Sámi, Nentsy, and Chukch, Seals, Caribou, and Reindeer, Fennoscandia, unicorns, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway to the North Pole, Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, Russia, Murmansk, Reykjavik, Iceland, Scoresbysund, Greenland, Scoresbysund, Denmark , Ammassalik, Hvalsey, Vikings,Gardar and Brattahlid, Nuuk, Ilulissat, Ummannaq, Savissivik, Qaanaq (Thule) and Cape Alexander, Etah, Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, Dundas Harbor, Devon Island, Nunavut, Cape Hay, Radstock Bay, Prince Leopold Island, Beechey Island, Northern Scotland and Arctic Norway,