That Time Canada Tried to Purchase Greenland

Sir Robert Laird Borden

John C. Mitcham
Duquesne University

President Donald Trump’s recent musings about buying Greenland from Denmark stirred deep emotions abroad.  The idea of acquiring sovereign territory through a real estate purchase seems like a quintessentially American act. As a Canadian writer in the Toronto Star put it, “Whether you love him or hate him, I think we can agree on this: Donald Trump even believing he can buy Greenland is clinically insane.”

Except that Canada also once tried to purchase the Greenland.

At the height of the First World War, the leaders of the vast British Empire assembled in London to lay the foundation for a postwar world dominated by white, English-speaking peoples.  This Imperial War Conference of 1917 included representatives from the overseas Dominions of Canada, Newfoundland, South Africa, and New Zealand. It was the kind of Commonwealth gentleman’s club that would make the most romantic Brexiteers swoon with post-imperial nostalgia. Continue reading “That Time Canada Tried to Purchase Greenland”