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

  • Dag Avango (a1), Louwrens Hacquebord (a1), Ypie Aalders (a1), Hidde De Haas (a1), Ulf Gustafsson (a1) and Frigga Kruse (a1)...

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.

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

  • Dag Avango (a1), Louwrens Hacquebord (a1), Ypie Aalders (a1), Hidde De Haas (a1), Ulf Gustafsson (a1) and Frigga Kruse (a1)...

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