The Frobisher Bay area has been inhabited by the Inuit and their ancestors since roughly 2000 BC. These nomadic peoples lived largely in igloos and relied upon seal and game for sustenance. The first recorded European explorer in the region was Sir Martin Frobisher who arrived in 1576 and returned in 1577 and 1578 to mine what proved to be fool's gold. Later, the settlement at Frobisher Bay evolved into a fur trading centre with the Hudson's Bay Company building a post in 1914. In the early 1900s the Canadian Mounted Police began to dispatch patrols to the area and missionaries began their attempts to introduce their religion to the local Inuit. However there was not an RCMP detachment in Frobisher Bay until 1958 or a mission until 1964.
By the 1940s the area took on an increased strategic significance when the American Air Force established a refueling base for aircraft being ferried to Europe. The base was later turned over to the Canadian military, however it remained in use by the Americans as a waypoint during the construction of their large new facilities at Thule, Greenland. This construction and the infusion of southern material and technology saw many area Inuit settle close to the base and adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. In the immediate post-war period there was an even greater construction boom when a series of defence instillations sprang up; weather stations, military bases and radar posts were all erected, bringing new types of work and radically new lifestyles to the local inhabitants.
On April 1st 1999, after years of negotiation with the Canadian government, Frobisher Bay (now Iqaluit) became the capital of the new territory of Nunavut.