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Camp Morton is the site of a coal mining encampment located on Spitsbergen island in the Svalbard archipelago, Norway.
Camp Morton, also known as Camp Douglas, was established in the early 20th century by Ernest Mansfield, a prospector working on behalf of a British investment company called the Spitzbergen Mining and Exploration Syndicate (SMES). The camp was part of an effort by British investors and entrepreneurs to extract resources from Spitsbergen, which was open to various nations' claims for development at that time.
Located above the Arctic Circle, the camp was situated on the northern shores of Van Mijenfjorden, near the sea entrance. It was named after Sholto Douglas, 19th Earl of Morton, a major backer of SMES.
The coal mine operated from 1906 into the mid-1920s. Although about half of the huts owned by NEC remain, the major building, now called Camp Morton, has been restored by the Norwegian government. It's amazing to think about the history and industry that once thrived in this remote location.
In the early 20th century, Spitsbergen, in the archipelago now known as Svalbard, became a site for resource extraction and development north of the coast of Norway, then under Danish rule. Several nations had staked opposing claims there in the late 19th century, including the Dutch, Danish and British. Investors set up companies to develop the resources there, always with the hopes of a rich strike of gold, as had occurred with the Klondike Gold Rush in Yukon, Canada in the late 1890s. One of the British companies was Spitzbergen Coal and Mineral Ltd of London, one of whose major investors was Sholto Douglas, 19th Earl of Morton.
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