Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

History General

Land of the Midnight Sun

A History of the Yukon, Third Edition

by (author) Ken S. Coates & William R. Morrison

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2017
General, Cultural
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2017
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


While the Klondike Gold Rush is one of the most widely known events in Canadian history, particularly outside Canada, the rest of the Yukon’s long and diverse history attracts little attention. Important developments such as Herschel Island whaling, pre-1900 fur trading, the post-Second World War resource boom, a lengthy struggle for responsible government, and the emergence of Indigenous political protest remain poorly understood. Placing well-known historical episodes within the broader sweep of the past, Land of the Midnight Sun gives particular emphasis to the role of First Nations people and the lengthy struggle of Yukoners to find their place within Confederation. This broader story incorporates the introduction of mammoth dredges that scoured the Klondike creeks, the impressive Elsa-Keno Hill silver mines, the impact of residential schools on Aboriginal children, the devastation caused by the sinking of the Princess Sophia, the Yukon’s remarkable contributions to the national First World War effort, and the sweeping transformations associated with the American occupation during the Second World War. Land of the Midnight Sun has long been the standard source for understanding the history of the territory. This third edition includes a new preface to update readers on developments in the Yukon’s economy, culture, and politics, including Indigenous self-government.

About the authors

Ken S. Coates was raised in Whitehorse and has a long-standing interest in northern themes. Titles include Canada’s Colonies, The Sinking of the Princess Sophia, The Modern North, North to Alaska (on the building of the Alaska Highway) and many academic books. He has worked on north-centred television documentaries and served as a consultant to northern governments and organizations. He is currently Professor of History and Dean of Arts, University of Waterloo.

Ken S. Coates' profile page

William R. Morrison is professor emeritus of history at the University of Northern British Columbia.

William R. Morrison's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Sudden miracles, quick turns of fortune and deeds of endurance, courage, and mind-numbing folly have characterized most of the less-celebrated periods of the Yukon’s past. Ken Coates and William Morrison have managed to salvage most of the story. Land of The Midnight Sun provides what every homeland requires: a sense of continuity and warnings and encouragement from the past.” The Globe and Mail

“Fortunately, we now have the first excellent history of the Yukon – a balanced work that is a model of scholarly precision and popular presentation. No important theme escapes the authors’ razor-shape analysis.” Calgary Herald

“A must for anyone interested in the Yukon’s history from the pre-gold rush days through the ‘lean’ years and both wars to the present.” Northern Review

Other titles by Ken S. Coates

Other titles by William R. Morrison