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Article contents

Between markets and geo-politics: natural resource exploitation on Spitsbergen from 1600 to the present day

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2010

Dag Avango
Affiliation:
Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, 9718 CW Groningen, The Netherlands (d.avango@rug.nl)
Louwrens Hacquebord
Affiliation:
Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, 9718 CW Groningen, The Netherlands (d.avango@rug.nl)
Ypie Aalders
Affiliation:
Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, 9718 CW Groningen, The Netherlands (d.avango@rug.nl)
Hidde De Haas
Affiliation:
Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, 9718 CW Groningen, The Netherlands (d.avango@rug.nl)
Ulf Gustafsson
Affiliation:
Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, 9718 CW Groningen, The Netherlands (d.avango@rug.nl)
Frigga Kruse
Affiliation:
Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, 9718 CW Groningen, The Netherlands (d.avango@rug.nl)

Abstract

What are the driving forces behind large scale natural resource exploitation in the polar regions and how should we understand the relations between these forces? New historical-archaeological research performed during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007–2009 on whaling, hunting and mining in Spitsbergen (1600–present) show both economic and geopolitical factors driving the development of those industries, both the whaling industries in the 17th century and 1900’s, and the mining industry of the early 20th century. However, the relation between these driving forces has differed, both between time periods and between actors. In most cases economic motives provided the main rationale for utilising resources and for government support for resource exploiters, but in some instances governments would support even unprofitable ventures in order to maintain a foothold on Spitsbergen.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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