Did you know that Canada and Denmark “battled” over a small, barren island in the far north for decades? Among their weapons: Canadian whiskey and Danish schnapps. In today’s crash course, the strange but true story of "a cheeky little spat" known as The Whiskey War.
Note: The Secret Life of Canada is hosted and written by Falen Johnson and Leah Simone Bowen and is a CBC original podcast independent of The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Displays of Sovereignty
During the Second World War, Canadians operated a temporary scientific station there and in the early 1980s, Dome Petroleum was active on Hans Island. When Tom Hoeyem, Denmark's minister of Greenlandic affairs, personally planted a Danish flag on the island on 28 July 1984, the Canadian government protested. Over the next 20 years, the Canadian government protested each time the Danish flag was replanted.
The Danish government took the opportunity to protest Canadian actions when Defence Minister Bill Graham visited Hans Island on 20 July 2005. A week before, Canadian soldiers had planted the Canadian flag and built an INUKSUK there. Preceding these Canadian displays of sovereignty were visits in 2000 by Canadian geologists and in 2001 by a group of Canadian and international scientists.