Prince Philip dies. Jordanian royal feud over. No to dirty mining in Greenland.


Prince Philip passes away this week. This is what made history on the week ending April 11, 2021.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, died at age 99.


On Friday, April 9, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away at Windsor Castle.


Prince Philip was born in Greece in 1921, to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice, who was the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. He was educated in France, Germany, and the UK before he joined the British Royal Navy when he was 18. Philip and Elizabeth, both descendants of King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria of Britain, married in 1947. The couple had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.


The passing of Prince Philip is unlikely to have a major effect on the monarchy. His recent reputation may have taken a beating due to the Netflix series The Crown, but notably, he may have been the most down-to-earth member of the royal family. This is highlighted by his willingness to answer the phone himself and his purchase of a washing machine for the Queen. Before his passing, he was the fifth most popular member of the royal family and is said to have played a significant role in shaping Elizabeth’s image throughout her reign.


These will surely be extremely tough times for Queen Elizabeth, who is herself at an advanced age of 94. But the passing of Prince Philip may yet still have a silver lining: Harry will travel back for the funeral, and this may yet be a chance for the family to settle their differences. May God save the Queen.



A Dramatic Week For Jordan’s Royal Family.


On the other hand, the rift appears to be over in Jordan.


A week ago, the former crown prince of the country, Prince Hamza bin Hussein, was put under “house arrest” by the country’s security force. In a video released to the BBC, Prince Hamza, the half-brother of the current Jordanian king, King Abdullah, claimed that he was a victim as part of a crackdown on critics. Nearly 20 other people were arrested on the same day for “attempts to jeopardize the safety and stability” of Jordan.


And this week started with further complications as Prince Hamza’s men released a new voice recording in which Hamza was warned by the military that he was undermining “security and stability” in Jordan. Hamza refuted and refused to stop going out or sharing his thoughts online.


But just as the world thought the situation would further escalate, the voice recording was quickly followed by a letter signed by Hamza to publicly pledge his allegiance to the king. The Jordanian government then banned further news and social media coverage of the matter. On Sunday, the pair made their first joint appearance in a ceremony marking the centennial of Jordan’s independence, thereby, settling the rift publicly and ending speculations.


Jordan is currently suffering from corruption, the coronavirus, and a dreadful economy, so the King may be rightfully worried about a potential coup. When their father, King Hussein, died in 1999, Abdullah took the crown but named his half-brother as the crown prince, in compliance with Hussein’s wish. But Prince Hamza was later stripped of his crown prince title in 2004. Even then, he remains much more popular than the King amongst the people by being a vocal critic of the King’s policies.


It remains to be seen if this is the end of the drama. Global powers, especially the United States, have long appreciated Jordan’s stability as it provided the perfect spot for American military presence. As such, the U.S. was quick to publicly support King Abdullah, despite his poor track record in human rights.


The United States has long favoured stability over human rights in the region. Djibouti, home to the U.S. military base in East Africa, just had its president re-elected for the fifth term with 98% of the vote.



Greenland Voters Say No to Dirty Mining.


Just as the elections in Djibouti, few people would have paid attention to the Greenlandic parliament election this week. But it was perhaps as influential as any other election around the globe.


Greenlanders went to the poll this week with one key issue: whether to continue the development of the Kvanefjeld mine in southwest Greenland. This site is said to be the world’s second-largest deposit of rare-earth elements (crucial for making iPhones, jet engines, and satellites). It is also the world’s sixth-largest deposit of uranium, an important ingredient to keep nuclear reactors running. A mining license was submitted in 2015, but development has not been approved.


China and the U.S. have both been keeping a close eye on the mine and the election since rare earth was a key bargaining chip in their trade war which started in 2019 when Donald Trump was still in office. Currently, about 80% of the world’s rare earth is owned by China, giving China an overwhelming advantage over the U.S. This is no different for Greenland, as the site is ultimately owned by the Chinese company Shenghe Resources Holding Co. Ltd. With ice quickly melting due to climate change, Greenland is fast becoming one of the most hotly contested regions. In 2019, under pressure from its allies, Denmark intervened to stop a Chinese bid for the construction of Greenland’s airport.


From the Greenlanders’ perspectives, the mining industry offers the Danish territory a way to economic prosperity and thus, independence. Today, the territory remains largely dependent on Danish aid for the public budget, and a loss of this funding upon independence could immediately throw Greenland’s finances into disarray.


But then there are the environmental concerns, beginning with the possibility of toxic waste that could build up and leak into the farmlands. Greenlanders are also directly experiencing the impact of climate change, with the arctic ice melting right in their backyard. Surely, mining in Greenland would not help the cause. Further, there are clear health consequences for those who work in the mines. Uranium, radiation, and cancers are clearly related.


In the end, the left-wing, environmental-friendly Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party won 37% of the seats, making them the clear winner. The social-democratic Siumut party, which has been in power for all but four years since 1979, came second.


For now, this is a victory for the environmentalists who are against developing the mine. But the tough task of developing Greenland’s economy remains. Without a way of improving the territory’s economic welfare, Greenlanders will eventually fall for mining. Natural resources can feel like cash buried in the ground and it is simply too difficult to resist when people are poor.


As for those who picked economic development, they are best to study the history of Nauru. An island nation that achieved independence through mining, it ultimately lost everything including a livable habitat for the Nauruans. Agriculture is no longer possible as a result of the mines, and today, the small nation survives by being a refugee center for Australia.


The resource curse can be very real.


This article is part of the Making History This Week series.