Monday, 2 July 2012

Norway's Occupation of Greenland 1931-33

Norwegian flag raised at Myggbukta and on 10 July 1931

Lowry refers to Norway's Occupation of Greenland between 1931-33 in his first novel Ultramarine  "When Christiania became Oslo I sold, in my desperation, the Dagbladet, and lectured on the Greenland occupation." (Ultramarine Pg. 93). We can assume that Lowry was aware of the occupation as he was in Oslo in the summer of 1931.

In June 1931 Hallvard Devold, Chairman of the Norwegian Arctic Trading Company, raised the Norwegian flag at Myggbukta and on 10 July 1931 a Norwegian royal proclamation was issued, claiming Eastern Greenland as Norwegian territory. Norway claimed that the area was terra nullius: it had no permanent inhabitants and was for the most part used by Norwegian whalers and trappers. The area was defined as "situated between Carlsberg Fjord in the South and Bessel Fjord in the North", extending from latitude 71°30' to latitutde 75°40'N. Although it was not explicitly stated in the proclamation itself, it was assumed that the area was limited to the eastern coast, so that the Inland Ice constituted its western limit. (The Inland Ice covers five sixths of Greenland's total area, so that only a narrow strip of varying width along the coast is free of permanent ice.)

Norway and Denmark agreed to settle their dispute over Eastern Greenland at the Permanent Court of International Justice in 1933. Norway lost and after the ruling it abandoned its claim. Read more on Wikipedia

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