There are many definitions of the Arctic Circle, but it generally refers to the area north of the Arctic Circle (above 66° 34'N latitude). There are also people who define this area as “the home range of the Arctic indigenous peoples”, or “the northern territory of the 8 Arctic nations.” Territorial claims to parts of the Arctic are not clearly regulated as by the Antarctic Treaty; only the 1920 Svalbard Treaty even comes close, but even then, it only states who can occupy the Arctic Circle without really outlining specific rights over the various territories. Similarly, the Arctic Council merely maintains soft regulations regarding the fragile ecosystem of the Arctic Circle and protection of indigenous peoples.
The “eight arctic nations” is comprised of Canada, the United States, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia, the nations whose geographical territory actually extends into the Arctic Circle. However, in 2018, China proposed the Polar Silk Road plan to claim a stake in the Arctic Circle. Another active player is Russia. The Arctic is highly prized for its rich and yet untapped fossil fuel and natural gas resources, and for being the shortest route between Eurasia and North America. The warmer the earth is, the more intensified the battle over the Arctic will become.