A 50-year “Whiskey War” has been settled to resolve the squabbling over a small, uninhabited Arctic island. After long last, Canada and Denmark have struck a deal to determine who the rightful owner of Hans Island.
Since 1971, the two countries have launched successive expeditions from both Ottawa and Copenhagen. Explorers have braved the icy weather to plant bottles of alcohol along the tiny 0.75sq-mile island.
The prank war started when the countries came together to settle boundary disputes in the Nares Strait, a channel around 22 miles wide separating Canada and Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark. In 1973, an agreement was made about the strait, where officials agreed to create a border directly through it.
As talks continued, claims then started to be made over Hans Island. Canada and Greenland sit the exact same distance away from Hans Island, which allows each area to claim the rock under international law. They decided rather than come to an agreement then, they would do so at a later date.
In 1984, Canada made a stake for ownership when they landed troops on the island. They were in and out quickly, only leaving behind their flag and a buried bottle of Canadian whiskey.
Denmark didn’t like the claim and sent off a minister to replace the Canadian flag with a Danish flag, left a bottle of Copenhagen’s finest schnapps and added a note that read: “Welcome to Danish Island.”
Over the next 50 years, Canadians and Danes took part in a back and forth prank battle before, in 2018, finally creating a join group to resolve the dispute once and for all.
Officials have finally agreed to divide the area in half. Once the agreement is signed off, Canada and Denmark will have established the world’s longest maritime border at 2,412 miles.