Wrangel Island

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Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island is a gateway to the northern portion of the Arctic Sea above the Bering Strait. This 2,900-square-mile expanse has been claimed at various times by Canada and Russia. Manuscript materials in the Dartmouth Library’s Vilhjalmur Stefansson Collection on Polar Exploration document Wrangel Island from 1900-1930. This digital project “collates” these materials in order to reveal the nuanced history of this contested space. Wrangel never supported an Indigeneous human population, but it was a refuge for polar explorers awaiting rescue. Others attempting to settle the Island died, undone by their naiveté and Anglo-American hubris. The correspondence, manuscript drafts, photographs, contracts, and diaries from the Stefansson Collection related to Wrangel’s history provide a rich backstory to elucidate current political, social, economic, and environmental factors that shape our understanding of the Arctic regions.

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