Bratvaag Expedition

Bratvaag Expedition

Bratvaag Expedition

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The Bratvaag Expedition was a Norwegian expedition in 1930 led by Dr. Gunnar Horn, whose official tasks were hunting seals and to study glaciers and seas in the Svalbard Arctic region. The name of the expedition was taken from its ship, M/S Bratvaag of Ålesund, in which captain Peder Eliassen had sailed the Arctic seas for more than twenty years. The Bratvaag Expedition had a secret, but important mission: the annexation of Victoria Island for Norway. Although a successful landing on the island was achieved, Victoria Island was later annexed by the Soviet Union. The Bratvaag Expedition became nevertheless well-known due to the findings on Kvitøya of the long-lost remains of the Swedish explorer S. A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897.


Victoria Island was discovered on July 20, 1898 by two Norwegian sealing captains, Johannes Nilsen and Ludvig Bernard Sebulonsen. The next day, captain P. W. Nilsen of the steam yacht Victoria, owned by the English adventurer Arnold Pike, sighted the island and named it after the yacht.

According to the Spitsbergen Treaty, Norway was ceded the sovereignty of the Svalbard Archipelago in 1920, comprising all the islands situated between 10° and 35°E and 74° and 81°N. Although Victoria Island is situated only less than 35 nautical miles (c. 62 km) off the Norwegian island of Kvitøya (White Island), it lies east of the Norwegian territories. Consequently, the island was considered Terra nullius, until a......
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