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(In Detail) (In Detail)
Motto: Nunavut Sanginivut (Nunavut our strength / Our land our strength)

 - Total
 - % fresh water
1st largest
(1st lgst terr.)

2 093 190 km²
 - Total (2001)
 - Density
Ranked 13th
28 200
Admittance into Confederation
 - Date
 - Order
Split off
from NWT

Time zones UTC -4,-5,-6,-7
*Southampton Island does not observe DST
Postal information
Postal abbreviation
Postal code prefix
NU (was temporarily NT)
ISO 3166-2CA-NU

 House seats
 Senate seats

PremierPaul Okalik
CommissionerPeter T. Irniq
Government of Nunavut

Nunavut is the newest and largest of the territories of Canada: it was split off officially from the vast Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999 via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries were established as early as 1993. It is now a separate territory.

The capital of Nunavut is Iqaluit (formerly Frobisher Bay) on Baffin Island in the east. Other major communities include Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay. Nunavut also includes Ellesmere Island in the north and the east of Victoria Island in the west. Nunavut is the least populated and also the largest of the provinces and territorities of Canada: a population of only about 28,000 (Nunavumiut, sg. Nunavumiuq) spread over an area the size of Western Europe. If Nunavut were a sovereign nation, it would be the least densely populated in the world; for comparison, nearby Greenland has almost the same area and twice the population.

Nunavut means our land in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit.

Table of contents
1 History
2 People
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Government
6 See also
7 External links


The region now known as Nunavut has supported a continuous population for approximately 4000 years. Most historians also identify the coast of Baffin Island with the Helluland described in Norse sagas, so it is possible that the inhabitants of the region had occasional contact with Norse sailors. For more information on the earliest inhabitants and explorers of Nunavut, see Paleoeskimo, Neoeskimo and Helluland.

The recorded history of Nunavut began in 1576. Martin Frobisher, while leading an expedition to find the Northwest Passage, thought he had discovered gold ore in what is now known as Frobisher Bay on the coast of Baffin Island. The ore turned out to be worthless, but Frobisher made the first recorded European contact with the Inuit. The contact was hostile, with Frobisher capturing four Inuit people and bringing them back to England, where they quickly perished.

Other explorers in search of the elusive Northwest Passage followed in the 17th century, including Henry Hudson, William Baffin and Robert Bylot.

(and there were quite a few more after that. More needs to be said about various explorers and colonial history in Nunavut. But for now, let's make a jump into recent history)

In 1976, negotiations for a land claim agreement and the new territory between the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and the federal government began. In April 1982, a majority of Northwest Territories residents voted in favour of a division, and the federal government gave a conditional agreement seven months later. A land claims agreement was reached in September, 1992 and ratified by nearly 85% of the voters in Nunavut. In June 1993 the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and the Nunavut Act were passed by the Canadian Parliament, and the transition was completed on April 1, 1999.


Nunavut has a population of approximately 27,000, of whom around 85% are native peoples.


The territory covers approximately 1.9 million square kilometers of land and water including part of the mainland, most of the Arctic Islands, and all of the islands in Hudson Bay, James Bay, and Ungava Bay (including the Belcher Islands) which were formerly attached to the Northwest Territories.

The creation of Nunavut created Canada's only "four corners," at the intersection of the boundaries of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, at 60°00' north, 102°00' west, on the southern shore of Kasba Lake. This is not the tourist spot it might be, as it is extremely remote and inaccessible.

See List of communities in Nunavut.



Nunavut's head of state and the Queen's representative is a commissioner appointed by the federal government. As in the other territories, the commissioner's role is symbolic. The head of government is the premier. The members of the unicameral legislative assembly are elected individually; there are no parties and the legislature is consensus-based.

See also

External links