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Nunavut History Timeline

  • (1576) Martin Frobisher led expedition to find Northwest Passage; first European contact with Inuit
  • (1820 - 1840) English whalers visited, introduce European goods to Inuit
  • (1821 - 1823) William E. Parry, George F. Lyon first explorers to spend winter in Arctic
  • (1840 - 1900) English whalers visited Cumberland Sound, established whaling stations on Kekerten Island, Blacklead Island
  • (1845 - 1848) Sir John Franklin led expedition to discover Northwest Passage; ships imprisoned in ice in Victoria Straight; entire crew died
  • (1861) American, Charles Francis Hall, camped at Sylvia Grennell River, explored Kojeese Inlet
  • (1864 - 1869) American explorer, Charles Francis Hall, spent several years near Repulse Bay searching for lost expedition of Sir John Franklin; first explorer to learn to live off land like Inuit
  • (1894) English missionary, Edmund Peck, established first permanent church mission at Baffin Island
  • (1911) Hudson Bay Company established trading post in Lake Harbour on Baffin Island
  • (1913) Hudson Bay Company established trading post at Cape Dorset
  • (1942) U.S. Air Force selected Iqaluit as site of major air base
  • (1953) Rankin Inlet Mine opened near Kangiqliniq, produced nickel and copper ores
  • (1954) Inuit granted right to vote in federal elections
  • (1977) Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) proposed creation of Nunavut to be governed by all-Inuit government
  • (1979) ITC presented another proposal for creation of Nunavut to be governed by public government
  • (1992) Inuit Indians ratified Nunavut Land Claim Agreement; Nunavut officially created
  • (1993) Boundaries of Nunavut established; Nunavut Land Claims Agreement signed
  • 1900s continued
  • (1995) Iqaluit voted as capital
  • (1999) Nunavut officially separated from the Northwest Territories; Nunavut became first territory to enter the federation of Canada since Newfoundland joined in 1949; Paul Okalik first Premier
  • (2002) Nunavut hosted Arctic Winter Games
  • (2005) 41 square-miles ice shelf broke off Ellesmere Island
  • (2008) Eva Aariak selected as Premier of Nunavut
  • (2009) Canada, Nunavut, Greenland signed agreement to set up commission to regulate hunting of polar bears
  • (2010) A record number of new tuberculosis infections were confirmed
  • (2010) Two federally-funded social housing programs had cost overruns of at least $110 million
  • (2012) Survey of polar bear population showed stability, not in decline as predicted

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.