Nunavut is Canada's newest territory. Formerly part of the vast Northwest Territories, Nunavut officially separated on April 1, 1999 via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries were established as early as 1993.
The region now known as Nunavut has supported a continuous population for approximately 4000 years. Most historians also identify the coast of Baffin Island with the Helluland described in Norse sagas, so it is possible that the inhabitants of the region had occasional contact with Norse sailors. For more information on the earliest inhabitants and explorers of Nunavut, see Paleoeskimo, Neoeskimo and Helluland.
The recorded history of Nunavut began in 1576. Martin Frobisher, while leading an expedition to find the Northwest Passage, thought he had discovered gold ore in what is now known as Frobisher Bay on the coast of Baffin Island. The ore turned out to be worthless, but Frobisher made the first recorded European contact with the Inuit. The contact was hostile, with Frobisher capturing four Inuit people and bringing them back to England, where they quickly perished.
(and there were quite a few more after that. More needs to be said about various explorers and collonial history in Nunavut. But for now, let's make a jump into recent history)
In 1976, negotiations for a land claim agreement and the new territory between the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and the federal government began. In April 1982, a majority of Northwest Territories residents voted in favour of a division, and the federal government gave a conditional agreement seven months later. A land claims agreement was reached in September, 1992 and ratified by nearly 85% of the voters in Nunavut. In June 1993 the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and the Nunavut Act were passed by the Canadian Parliament, and the transition was completed on April 1, 1999.