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VOL. 79 PART 2 MARCH 2021
national border, it is geographically cut off from the rest of the United
States. It is, however, not the only such oddity. Anders Ourom notes that
Hyder, Alaska is similarly only reachable by surface from Stewart, B.C.
(itself Canada’s most northern ice-free port). Atlin, B.C. is only reachable by
road from the Yukon. Lake of the Woods in Ontario has a chunk on its western
shore that is part of Minnesota but not reachable from there by ground
except when the lake freezes. Grand Manan Island (New Brunswick) is usually
only reached by boat from Maine. Even further afield is Orkney, which
for many years was Norwegian. In 1468, the King of Norway, Christian I,
pledged it as security for the dowry of his daughter, who was to marry the
King of Scotland. The dowry was never paid, and a few years later the Scots
claimed to have absorbed/acquired Orkney. However, the culture of
Orkney is rather different from that of the Scots or the English. They spoke
a language derived from Old Norse until the 19th century, and their dialect
contains numerous loan words. It is said that a few decades ago, some Norwegian
diplomats calculated what the cost of repaying the dowry would be,
based on its value in 1468, with interest since then. They then purportedly
contacted the British Foreign Office to say Norway was ready to redeem the
islands and asked where should they send the cheque. Naturally, the message
was sent on April 1.
Thought du mois on the occasion of there being a new former president of
the United States:
Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;
And, being done, this Wall away doth go.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5, Scene 1
William Shakespeare, playwright (1564–1616)
or was it? See Legal Anecdotes and Miscellanea,
starting at page 297 of this issue – Asst. Ed.