|Fiction: No. A popular email forward claims that the United States owns several islands and rock formations (Wrangel Island, Herald Island, Bennett Island, Jeannette Island, Henrietta Island, Copper Island, Sea Lion Rock and Sea Otter Rock) in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea and plans to cede them to Russia. This is an urban legend. The U.S.-USSR Maritime Boundary Agreement, signed by the United States and the Soviet Union on June 1, 1990, defines our maritime boundary in the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea and northern Pacific Ocean, and each of the islands and rock formations listed above fall on the Russian side of the boundary. Furthermore, none of the islands or rocks were included in the U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, and they have never been claimed by the United States, although Americans were involved in the discovery and exploration of some of them. According to the U.S. Department of State’s website, the U.S. has no intention of reopening discussion of the 1990 Maritime Boundary Treaty. For more information, please read this document released from the State Department about the 1990 Maritime Boundary Treaty with the Russian Federation.
|Return to Fact or Fiction Main