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A Whisky War Over An Island Between Canada And Denmark

A whisky war over an island between Canada and Denmark could be the friendliest war ever. Why is it? Let’s find out with us!

An Odd Ceremonial Party


We all know that international conflicts over the domain can be ugly happenings. It has always been backed by the force of troops. Every nation has its method of tackling these disputes. For example, China has built an island full of military posts to back its declaration of vast spans of the sea, in conflict with many other Asian nations. Meanwhile, Russia has generated a pathway of bloodshed and demolition in Ukraine over its invasion of Crimea.

But that’s not how Canada and Denmark deal with the dispute. Their method of gaining ownership of an unpopulated island in the Arctic is weird. For a better description, it seems like a ceremonial party than a battleground.

Hans Island – Whisky War


In fact, this island is just a big rock that lies in the middle of the Nares Strait. Nares Strait is a channel that splits Canada and Greenland, Denmark’s autonomous territory. 

However, Hans island happens to locate within the 12-mile limited territory of either coast. As a result, both sides have the right to claim the island’s ownership according to international law. 

Back To The History


In 1973, Canada and Denmark started to confirm a standard border through the channel. However, when it comes to Hans island, both sides could not make a final decision on what should do about it. Then, they had to leave the matter aside and decided to tackle it later.

The “Party” Begins – Whisky War


All was well until the Canadian army visited the island in 1984. They planted their flag there and left a bottle of Canadian whisky. At that time, Canadian whisky was a popular national symbol.

Of course, the Danes could not leave it like that. The Minister of Greenland affairs quickly came to the island and replaced the offending Canadian marks. First, he removes the Canadian flag and planted the flag of Denmark. Then, he changed Canadian whisky to a bottle of Danish schnapps. He also left a note stating “Welcome to the Danish island.”

And so started a spirited conflict that has lasted for years. Each side will drop by the island occasionally just to kick up the other side’s bottle and substitute it with their own.

Final Decision


In 2005, Canada and Denmark finally agreed on an approach to settle the situation on Hans Island. But the diplomats still have made little headway since then.

Wishing to encourage the negotiations, in 2015, two academics introduce a proposal. The proposal offers to create the island a “condominium” of shared sovereignty under two flags.

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Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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