This half square mile of rock sits within the Arctic Circle and exactly halfway between Canada and Greenland. If you drew a line through the strait separating the two shores, it would split Hans Island in two. It’s home to a bunch of gulls and, according to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, falls within the 12 nautical miles of coastal waters rimming both countries, meaning it legally can be — and is — claimed by both nations.
Thus marks the start of a thirty-five year-old game of international Capture the Flag. Canada started it in 1984, planting their flag in the barren rock and leaving behind a bottle of Canadian Club. Greenland soon retaliated: Danish troops (Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark) raided the island to switch out the red maple leaf for a white Scandinavian cross. They left a bottle of Danish schnapps next to their flag and a note: “Welcome to the Danish island.”
Our northern neighbor upped their game afterwards. Now they too leave nice notes next to their whisky: “Welcome to Canada.”
No word on who’s currently winning.
Pine&Meyer because of course Pine&Meyer.