Wars over disputed territory are quite common The Kashmir region in India, the Falkland Islands, Taiwan Kosovo etc.. But few people are aware of the dispute between Canada and Denmark known as the Whiskey War which has been raging for 3 decades.

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International law states that any island located within 12 miles of a countries shore can claim the island as their territory. The area in dispute is a large uninhabited rock located within the 12 mile limit of both Canada and Greenland which is part of Denmark.

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The Island discovered by Hans Hendrik a Greenlandic explorer who was employed by a Anglo-American company back in 1853 and carries the name Hans Island. In 1933 The League of Nations settled the matter of dispute in favor of Denmark. However, once the United Nations formed in 1945 the League of Nations was disbanded and their rulings hold little to no weight today.

The matter faded from consciousness until 1984 when the Danish Minister of Greenland affairs visited the island he left the Danish flag, a note saying “Welcome to Denmark” and a bottle of brandy. Now the Island isn’t visited often only research teams or Military in the area for exercises visit it. When the Canadians discovered the flag and brandy they swapped  out the Danish flag for a Canadian flag this time leaving a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey and the war was on!

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Harsh words about sovereignty have been exchanged over the issue but the war continues. Each time they visit hey swap signs, Flags and booze although these days the Danish leave schnapps. For the full story visit here.

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