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Svalbard Treaty


Svalbard Treaty

The Treaty between Norway, The United States of America, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Ireland and the British overseas Dominions and Sweden concerning Spitsbergen, signed in Paris 9 February 1920, commonly called the Svalbard Treaty or the Spitsbergen Treaty, recognises the sovereignty of Norway over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, at the time called Spitsbergen. The exercise of sovereignty is, however, subject to certain stipulations, and not all Norwegian law applies. The treaty regulates the demilitarisation of the archipelago. The signatories were given equal rights to engage in commercial activities (mainly coal mining) on the islands. As of 2012, Norway and Russia are making use of this right.

There were fourteen original High Contracting Parties, including: the United States, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands,[1] Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and British overseas dominions of Canada, Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand.[2] Several additional nations signed within the next five years before the treaty came into force, including the Soviet Union in 1924 and Germany and China in 1925. There are now over 40 signatories. The treaty was submitted for registration in the League of Nations Treaty Series on 21 October 1920.[3]

Of the original signatories Japan was the last to ratify the treaty on 2 August 1925. Subsequently, on 14 August 1925, the treaty came into force.



Svalbard Treaty signatories

A list of parties (sorted alphabetically) is shown below; the dates below reflect when the signatory nation ratified the treaty.[9] For states that no longer exist, the successor state for which the treaty remains in force is noted.

Country Date of ratification Successor state
Afghanistan Afghanistan November 23, 1925  Afghanistan
Albania Albania April 29, 1930
 Argentina May 6, 1927
 Australia December 29, 1923
(extension by UK)
Austria Austria March 12, 1930
 Belgium May 27, 1925
 Bulgaria October 20, 1925
Canada Canada December 29, 1923
(extension by UK)
 Chile December 17, 1928
 Republic of China July 1, 1925  People's Republic of China
 Czech Republic June 21, 2006
 Denmark January 24, 1924  Denmark


 Dominican Republic February 3, 1927
 Egypt September 13, 1925
 Estonia April 7, 1930
 Finland August 12, 1925
France France September 6, 1924
 Germany November 16, 1925
Greece Greece October 21, 1925
 Hungary October 29, 1927
 Iceland May 31, 1994
 India December 29, 1923
(extension by UK)
 Italy August 6, 1924  Italy
 Japan April 2, 1925
 Lithuania January 13, 2013
 Monaco June 22, 1925
 Netherlands September 3, 1920
 New Zealand December 29, 1923
(extension by UK)
 Norway October 8, 1924
Poland Poland September 2, 1931
Portugal Portugal October 24, 1927
 Romania July 10, 1925
 Soviet Union May 7, 1935  Russia
Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz August 14, 1925  Saudi Arabia
Union of South AfricaSouth Africa December 29, 1923
(extension by UK)
 South Africa
Spain Spain November 12, 1925
 Sweden September 15, 1924
 Switzerland June 30, 1925
 Ukrainian SSR May 7, 1935  Ukraine
 United Kingdom December 29, 1923
 United States April 2, 1924
 Venezuela February 8, 1928


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