Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, incorporated as a hamlet in 1984, population 1608 (2011c), 1477 (2006c). The Hamlet of Cambridge Bay is located on the southeast coast of VICTORIA ISLAND. The people of the area are known as the COPPER INUIT because they fashioned implements from native copper and bartered these to other groups. Few Inuit lived year-round at the site before the 1950s, but it was used as a fishing and meeting place. Permanent settlement began when the Hudson's Bay Company set up a trading post in 1921.
Named for the duke of Cambridge (1774-1850), the settlement began to expand with the construction of a Loran navigational beacon in 1947 and a DEW Line site in 1955. The economy is still centered on the traditional Inuit activities of fishing, hunting and trapping. The DEW Line site has been converted to a North Warning station (seeEARLY-WARNING RADAR) and the Loran tower still guides aircraft. The community became a Northwest Territories government administrative centre in 1981. Now part of the territory of NUNAVUT, government remains the main employer.