The North Pole is the name we give to the most northern point on Earth. It sits at a latitude of 90° North, and is situated in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, in waters that are almost always covered in shifting sea ice.This unstable terrain, mixed with a cold and inhospitable climate, makes creating permanent structures at the North Pole, and in the Arctic in general, nearly impossible. Despite this fact, however, humans have actually lived in the Arctic Circle, which runs about 66.5° north of the Equator, for millennia. So while no one lives permanently at the North Pole (Santa aside), there are people that get close. In this post, we’ve listed out the most northern capital cities. Which country’s capital is closest to the North Pole? Check out the list below!
Which Country’s Capital Is Closest to the North Pole?
1. Reykjavik, Iceland – 64°10’N
2. Helsinki, Finland – 60°15’N
3. Oslo, Norway – 59°55’N
4. Tallinn, Estonia – 59°22’N
5. Stockholm, Sweden – 59°20’N
6. Riga, Latvia – 56°53’N
7. Moscow, Russia – 55°45’N
8. Copenhagen, Denmark – 55°41’N
9. Vilnius, Lithuania – 54°38’N
10. Minsk, Belarus – 53°52’N
Territorial Claims to the North Pole
From the list above, you can see that many national capitals come close to the Arctic Circle, but most are still pretty far from the actual North Pole. This leaves us with the question of who actually owns the North Pole in the first place?
According to international law, no single country owns the North Pole, or the region of the Arctic Ocean that surrounds it. There are six countries whose coasts touch the Arctic Ocean: Canada, Denmark (via Greenland), Iceland, Norway, Russia, and the United States. Each of these nations is limited to a 200-nautical-mile economic zone off their coasts. The area beyond that is administered by the International Seabed Authority.
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Or, you can get started with the quiz below!