The Emergence of an Arctic Council

  • John English
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series (STANTS)


A century ago, the ‘Arctic Council’ described the extraordinary group of British military and political leaders who created the sudden burst of North American Arctic exploration after the Napoleonic Wars. They survive unforgettably in Stephen Pearce’s remarkable painting that captures an imaginary meeting of Sir John Barrow and others planning to rescue Sir John Franklin. The painting was presented to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1851 at the height of the frantic search for Franklin whose earnest mien surveys the Victorian gentlemen planning his rescue. Now a prized holding of the National Portrait Gallery, the painting emphasizes the role of individuals in the quest for the Northwest Passage that changed forever the maps and the idea of the North America. Franklin, of course, died, but part of his legacy was Canadian sovereignty over most of the North American Arctic.


Indigenous People Foreign Affair North Atlantic Treaty Organization Arctic State Arctic Council 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    A fuller account of the Council background is found in J. English (2013) Ice and Water: Politics, Peoples, and the Arctic Council (Toronto: Penguin Canada).Google Scholar
  2. Axworthy’s comments on Simon are made in Lloyd Axworthy (2003) Navigating a New World: Canada’s Global Future (Toronto: Random House), pp. 330–2.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    L. Pearson (1946) ‘Canada Looks “Down North”’, Foreign Affairs, 24:4, 638, 643–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 3.
    B. N. Fischer (1997) A Cold War Conundrum: The 1983 Soviet War Scare (Washington: CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence).Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    R. Huebert (1998) ‘New Directions in Circumpolar Cooperation: Canada, the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, and the Arctic Council’, Canadian Foreign Policy, 5:2, 37–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 12.
    On the Inuit role, see M. Simon (1996) Inuit: One Future-One Arctic (Peterborough, ON: Cider Press).Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    E. C. H. Keskitalo (2004) Negotiating the Arctic: The Construction of an International Region (New York and London: Routledge), pp. 167, 168.Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    B. Israel (2014) ‘International Law and Governance in a Changing Arctic’, American Journal of International Law, 108, 351–2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John English 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John English

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations