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The fascinating Arctic

When Commander Robert Peary telegraphed President Taft in 1909 that he had "put the North Pole at your disposal," the president responded: "Thanks for your interesting and generous offer. I do not know exactly what I could do with it." These days he would, no doubt, but wouldn't be allowed to claim the North Pole, any more than the Russians were when they tried to in 2007, by dropping a flag in the seabed at 90° North (quite a technical achievement, if not a political one). In 1909 the North Pole was one of the last places in the world that had not been mapped, explored or claimed; most Arctic land was ruled by European countries (or countries of European lineage) without regard to indigenous populations. That has by no means entirely changed, but many people are working toward them having an active and substantial voice.

This information is from a book called The Future History of the Arctic, by Charles Emmerson, a geopolitical specialist at the World Economic Forum's Global Risk Network. Even though I admit I'm more interested in the romantic North (I'm also reading Arctic Obsession: The Lure of the Far North, for example), I am trying to pay attention to the real world aspects.
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