You may not know this, but Canada and Denmark have actually been at “war” with each other for many, many years. The feud is a rather peculiar one that mainly centres around 1) an island and 2) whiskey (yes, whiskey). Here’s how the story goes:
Far in the northern Arctic region lies Hans Island, a barren and desolate land mass in the middle of the Nares Strait between Canada and Denmark. Despite the fact that it really has nothing to offer in terms of natural resources, both countries have been fighting for its ownership since the early 1930s.
According to international law, countries can only claim territories within 12 miles of their shores. Because Hans Island is technically situated in both Canadian and Danish waters, it’s been difficult for the two countries to determine which of them has rightful ownership of the land.
In 1933, the League of Nations declared Hans Island as a Danish territory, but when the organization was later dismantled and replaced by the United Nations, the ruling sort of lost its merit. After a few decades of silence from the two countries, Denmark’s minister of Greenland affairs visited the island, planted the Danish flag and left a note reading “Welcome to the Danish island”. He also left a bottle of Brandy by the flag.
Since then, the two countries have been engaged in a lighthearted “whiskey war”, which can be perfectly summarized in this hilarious GIF:
In an article published this month by the Danish Institute for International Studies, it was noted that the Hans Island dispute has “mostly been settled”; however, the two countries still continue to disagree over the territorial status of the island:
“The Hans Island dispute bears mention as the only dispute in the Arctic over land territory. The small 1.3 km² sized island has been claimed by both Denmark and Canada, and the island has been an object of controversy for years. As the rights to the surrounding sea territory has mostly been settled, however, the island is little more than an irritant for the relationship between the two countries.”