Northwest Territories, Canada History

By | October 13, 2021


Northwest Territories (NWT) is a Canadian territory, located between the Yukon in the west and Nunavut in the east, which are Canada’s two other territories. To the south, there are borders with British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The capital has been Yellowknife since 1967. The population is per. 2006 at 41,464, and the area has an area of ​​1,346,106 km².

Nunavut was formerly part of the Northwest Territories.


18th Century – Northwest Territories is dominated by Hudson’s Bay Company, North West Company.

1882 – NWT is divided into the present districts: Keewatin, Mackenzie and Franklin.

1890 – Gold is discovered in the Yellowknife Bay area. Yellowknife is named after the Native American tribe yellowknives who made knives out of copper.

1905 – Alberta and Saskatchewan are founded.

1924 – The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals establishes the first radio telegraph station in the NWT.

1928 – A flu epidemic kills 10-15% of the Aboriginal population.

1933 – Canada’s first radium / uranium mine is opened at Port Radium, whose name only really came into use three years later.

1954 – The last public hanging as a method of execution ends. See a list of executions in Canada from 1860-1962 here.

1957 – Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line) running from Alaska to Greenland is completed. DEW Line was to ensure that no enemy aircraft came from the Soviet Union. From Thule Air Base there was a troposcatter connection to FOX-M and DYE-M which again sent data to NORAD.

1967 – Yellowknife is named the capital of Canadian territory.

1969 – Dene Nation founds Indian Brotherhood in NWT.

1970 – The first Arctic Winter Games are held in Yellowknife. Read more here.

1973 – Indian Reservation established at Hay River.

1978 – A Soviet satellite, Kosmos 954, crashes, spreading radioactive debris over 600 km from the East Arm of Great Slave Lake to Baker Lake, over the NWT, Nunavut, Alberta and Saskatchewan areas. Only about 65 kg. was found (less than 1% and the rest is supposed to be in the lake. Read a more radical theory about what was behind this story here. See a facebook page here. See a list of the 10 worst satellite accidents here.

1991 – Diamonds found at Lac de Gras.

1992 – At the height of a conflict between the workers and the union, an explosion occurred in the Royal Oakes Mine 230 meters underground, killing nine workers driving in wagons. Thirteen months later, the RCMP interrogated hundreds of strikers, their families and supporters, tapped their phones and searched their homes. Owner Margaret Witte said there would be no negotiations with the union until someone was arrested.

1999 – NWT was split in two – 60% was transferred to Nunavut.

2003 – Gold mining stopped at NWT.

2009 – Canadian fighter jets discover two Russian bombers flying illegally north of Tuktoyuktuk in the NWT.

2010 – A hunter kills a crossbreed of a grizzly / polar bear, and scientists predict that more crossbreeds will be born as a direct aftermath / consequence of climate change. Read more here. You can see 11 animals that are crosses here.


According to softwareleverage, Nunavut is the largest, northernmost and newest territory in Canada. It was officially separated from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999 through the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, although the boundaries had already been drawn in 1993. The creation of Nunavut led to the first major change in the political map of Canada, since the province of Newfoundland and Labrador was incorporated in 1949.

Nunavut includes much of northern Canada as well as most of the Canadian Arctic islands. Its vast area makes it the fifth largest subdivision in the world. The capital, Iqaluit (formerly Frobisher Bay) on Baffin Island in the east, was elected by a referendum in 1995. Other major settlements include the Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay regional centers.


1576 – After 15 attempts to launch an expedition, Sir Martin Frobisher manages to find a passage northwest of America. It was also the first European contact with the Inuit. Read more here about the Northwest Passage.

1821-23 – William E. Parry and George F. Lyon were the first explorers to spend the entire winter in the Arctic.

1845-48 – Sir John Franklin leads an expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Ships caught in the ice at Victoria Strait killed every man.

1861 – American Charles Francis Hall, camped on the Sylvia Grinnell River, explores Kojeese Inlet.

1864-69 – Charles Francis Hall spent many years near Repulse Bay searching for Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition. Hall was the first explorer to learn to live off the land as an Inuit.

1894 – English missionary Edmund Peck establishes the first permanent mission church on Baffin Island.

1942 – US Air Force selects Iqualuit for the site of a large air base.

1995 – Iqualuit becomes the capital.

1999 – Nunavut is officially separated from the NWT, becoming the first territory to enter Canada since Newfoundland in 1949.

2002 – Nunavut hosts the Arctic Winter Doctors.

2005 – About 66 km2 of ice is broken by Ellesmere Island, the largest so far in 25 years.

2010 – A boring record was set when a new tuberculosis infection was confirmed.

Northwest Territories, Canada History