Putin can see Wrangel Island from his house

Wrangel Island is a godforsaken patch of land several hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle between the Chukchi and East Siberian seas.  The closest mainland is Northern Siberia. While a number of people visited the island over the years, including native Chukchis, Russian fur traders, and German seafarers, nobody ever bothered to put in a claim for the place until an 1881 expedition by the Corwin claimed it for the U.S.  An expedition by the Rodgers later that year that included renowned naturalist John Muir conducted a thorough survey. In 1916, the island was seized by Imperial Russia with no protest from the U.S. – it’s likely that nobody recalled that it was American.  The Russians renamed it Ostrov Vrangelya. In the ’20s, a Canadian group attempted to claim the island out of the blue, oddly enough utilizing several American citizens to do it.  The brief diplomatic squabble that ensued was the last anyone heard of Wrangel for...(Read Full Post)