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 Indigenous 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.

Learn more about this project by going to the digital collection Collating Wrangel Island: Inhabiting the ‘Uninhabitable,’ 1900-1930. There you can view photographs of the expedition, and read Ada Blackjack's Diary.

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