Status: Incomplete


claimed and received tribute from Dutch and English whalers,
on the ground that Spitsbergen, being part of Greenland, be-
longed to Denmark. By 1613, however, the Muscovy Company’s
captains had decided that this claim was false, and they ceased
to pay tribute. In 1614 the Muscovy Company obtained an order
in council to uphold the King’s right to Spitsbergen, and erected
tablets at Magdalena Bay, Hakley’s Headland, Red Bay, Point
Welcome, and other places, taking possession of ’King James His
New Land.' This act was hotly disputed by the Dutch States-
General; but Holland confined her claim on Spitsbergen to the
right to use its bays and harbors.

Denmark continued to assert her claim, though other nations
refused to recognize it when once the distinction between Green-
land and Spitsbergen was recognized, as it was about 1613. In
1615 Danish men-of-war were sent to Spitsbergen to maintain Den-
mark’s sovereignty over this part of Greenland; and for many
years the rival Danish and English claims were occasionally re-

In 1618 King James agreed to suspend for three years from
1619 his interdict of 1619 against Dutch whalers (which had
never been of much avail), but stipulated that the suspension
was without prejudice to the English claim to the whole land.”---

Matters seem to have remained pretty much in this state of
affairs until the passage of the whaling industry, upon which
much of the importance of Spitsbergen depended. See p.32: "The
English whalers, in decreasing numbers, continued to use the Spits-
bergen bays for about fifty years after the Dutch had abandoned
the inshore whaling. But by about the end of the 17th century
they also ceased, and the English claim was forgotten.”

Modern claims.

"From the days of the bay whaling the status of Spitsbergen
was left in abeyance till 1871. In that year the Swedish explorer,
A. Nordenskjold, asked the government of Sweden to extend Swed-
ish protection to a settlement he meant to establish at Cape
Thordsen in connexion with a phosphate mine. Sweden addressed
the governments of Europe, asking each if it had any objection
to Norway and Sweden taking possession of Spitsbergen. The only
objection was raised by Russia, on the ground that Spitsbergen
had been known and inhabited by Russians before its discovery
by the Dutch. Russia preferred that it should remain a terra
nullius. Holland agreed, provided no other power opposed.
Sweden, therefore, took no further steps at the time. In 1899
a Russian cruiser hoisted a Russian flag over the ruins of a
Russian hut and grave on the north coast of Bear Island. There
was no suggestion that this act signified a claim to the whole

In 1899 Sweden and Norway suggested to Russia that an in-
ternational conference should be called to devise some form of
control in Spitsbergen, at the same time leaving the country

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