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{{Infobox_Country |native_name = Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenlandic)
Grønland (Danish) |common_name = Greenland |image_flag = Flag of Greenland.svg |image_coat = Greenland coat of arms.png |image_map = GreenlandWorldMap.png |national_motto = |national_anthem = Nunarput utoqqarsuanngoravit
Nuna asiilasooq |official_languages =Greenlandic, Danish |capital = Nuuk (Godthåb) |latd=64 |latm=10 |latNS=N |longd=53 |longm=41 |longEW=W |largest_city = Nuuk (Godthåb) |government_type = Parliamentary democracy
within a constitutional monarchy |leader_titles =
Prime Minister |leader_names =Margrethe II
Hans Enoksen |area_rank = 13th |area_magnitude = |area= 2,166,086 |areami²= 836,109 |percent_water = 81.1 |population_estimate = 56,375 |population_estimate_rank = 211th |population_estimate_year = July 2005 |population_census = |population_census_year = |population_density = 0.025 |population_densitymi² =0.067 |population_density_rank = ~193rd |GDP_PPP = $1.1 billion |GDP_PPP_rank = 192nd |GDP_PPP_year= 2001 |GDP_PPP_per_capita = $20,000 (2001 est.) |GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 52nd |sovereignty_type = Autonomous province
of the Kingdom of Denmark.
|established_events = Home rule was established. |established_dates =

1979 |HDI = n/a |HDI_rank = n/a |HDI_year = n/a |HDI_category = n/a |currency = Danish krone |currency_code = DKK |country_code = |time_zone = |utc_offset = 0 to -4 |time_zone_DST = |utc_offset_DST = |cctld = .gl |calling_code = 299 |footnotes = As of 2000: 158,433 sq. miles (410,449 sq km) ice-free, 677,676 sq. miles (1,755,637 sq km) ice-covered }}

For the town in New Hampshire, see Greenland, New Hampshire.

Greenland (Greenlandic: Kalaallit Nunaat, meaning "Land of the Greenlanders"; Danish: Grønland, meaning "Greenland") is a self-governed Danish territory. Though both geographically and ethnically it is an Arctic island nation located in the continent of North America, politically and historically, Greenland is closely associated with Europe. The Atlantic Ocean and Iceland lie to Greenland's Southeast; the Greenland Sea to the East; the Arctic Ocean to the North; Baffin Bay and Canada to the West. Greenland is the world's largest island, and is the largest dependent territory by area in the world. It also contains the world's largest national park. About 81 percent of its surface is covered by ice, known as the Greenlandic ice cap. Nearly all Greenlanders live along the fjords in the south-west of the main island, which has a milder climate. Most Greenlanders have both Kalaallit (Inuit) and Scandinavian ancestry, and speak Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) as their first language. Greenlandic is spoken by about 50,000 people, which is more than all the other Eskimo-Aleut languages combined. A minority of Danish migrants with no Inuit ancestry speak Danish as their first language. Both languages are official, with the West Greenlandic dialect forming the basis of the official form of Greenlandic.

There is an on-going diplomatic sovereignty dispute between Canada and Greenland (represented internationally by Denmark) over the tiny Hans Island.

Greenland was one of the Norwegian Crown colonies from the 11th century until 1814, when it was transferred to Denmark, although Norway and Denmark had been in a personal union for centuries (see Denmark-Norway). Greenland became an integral part of the Kingdom of Denmark in 1953. It was granted home rule by the Folketing (Danish parliament) in 1978. The law went into effect on May 1 1979. The Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, remains Greenland's Head of state. Greenlandic voters subsequently chose to leave the European Economic Community upon achieving self-rule.




Greenland was home to a number of Paleo-Eskimo cultures in prehistory, the latest of which - the Early Dorset culture - disappeared around the year 200. Hereafter, the island seems to have been uninhabited for some eight centuries.

Icelandic settlers found the land uninhabited when they arrived ca. 982. They established three settlements near the very Southwestern tip of the island, where they thrived for the next few centuries, disappearing after over 450 years of habitation.

The name Greenland comes from those Scandinavian settlers. In the Norse sagas, it is said that Eiríkur Rauði (Erik the Red) was exiled from Iceland for murder. He, along with his extended family and slaves, set out in ships to find the land that was rumored to be to the northwest. After settling there, he named the land Grænland ("Greenland") in order to attract more people to settle there. The fjords of the Southern part of the island were lush and had a warmer climate at that time, possibly due to what was called the Medieval Warm Period. These remote communities thrived and lived off farming, hunting and trading with the motherland, and when the Scandinavian monarchs converted their domains to Christianity, a bishop was installed in Greenland as well. The settlements seem to have coexisted relatively peacefully with the Inuit, who had migrated southwards from the Arctic islands of North America around 1200. In 1261, Greenland became part of the Kingdom of Norway. Norway in turn entered into the Kalmar Union in 1397 and later the personal union of Denmark-Norway.

After almost five hundred years, the settlements simply vanished, possibly due to famine during the 15th century in the Little Ice Age, when climatic conditions deteriorated, and contact with Europe was lost. Bones from this late period were found to be in a condition consistent with malnutrition. Some believe the settlers were wiped out by bubonic plague or exterminated by Inuits. Other historians have speculated that Basque or English pirates or slave traders from the Barbary Coast contributed to the extinction of the Greenlandic communities.

Denmark-Norway reasserted its latent claim to the colony in 1721. The island's ties with Norway were severed by the Treaty of Kiel of 1814, through which Sweden gained control over mainland Norway while Denmark retained all of their common overseas possessions (which at that time included small territories in India, West Africa and the West Indies, as well as lands in northwestern Europe).

Norway occupied and claimed parts of (then uninhabited) Eastern Greenland in the 1920s, claiming that it constituted Terra nullius. Norway and Denmark agreed to settle the matter at the Permanent Court of International Justice in 1933, where Norway lost.

Greenland was also called Gruntland ("Ground-land") on early maps. Whether Green is an erroneous transcription of Grunt ("Ground"), which refers to shallow bays, or vice versa, is not known.

During World War II, Greenland was on its own, the connection to Denmark having been cut on April 9, 1940 when Denmark was occupied by Germany. Through the cryolite from the mine in Ivigtut, Greenland was able to pay for goods bought in the United States and Canada. The manner in which Greenland had been run prior to the war was altered.

The Sirius Patrol, guarding the Northeastern shores of Greenland using dog sleds, was founded in 1941 and participated in defeating the Germans, which gave Denmark a better position in the postwar turmoil. In 1953 Greenland was made an equal part of the Danish Kingdom. In 1979 Greenland took one step further when home rule was granted.

During the War Eske Brun was governor and ruled the Island via a 1925-law concerning the governing of the Island where, under extreme circumstances, the governors could take control. The other governor Aksel Svane was transferred to the U.S. as leader of the supply to Greenland commission.


Template:Main Greenland's Head of State is the Danish Monarch, currently Margrethe II. The Queen's government in Denmark appoints a Rigsombudsmand (High commissioner) representing the Danish government and monarchy.

Greenland has a 31 member elected parliament. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is usually the leader of the majority party in Parliament.

It is notable that Greenland is not part of the European Union (having left the predecessor of the EU, the European Community, in 1985), despite Denmark itself being a member state.



Image:Greenland eastcoast.jpg Image:Greenland big.png

The total area of Greenland measures 836,109 square miles (2,166,086 km²), of which the Greenland ice sheet covers 677,676 square miles (1,755,637 km²). The coastline of Greenland is 24,430 miles long (39,330 km), about the same length as the Earth's circumference at the Equator.

All towns and settlements of Greenland are situated along the ice-free coast, with the population being concentrated along the Western coast. Of the 18 municipalities, 15 are in West Greenland (Aasiaat, Ilulissat, Kangaatsiaq, Qasigiannguit, Qeqertarsuaq, Upernavik, Uummannaq in the northern part, Maniitsoq, Nuuk, Paamiut, Sisimiut in the central part, and Ivittuut, Nanortalik, Narsaq, Qaqortoq in the southern part), 2 in East Greenland (Ammassalik, Ittoqqortoormiit) and 1 in North Greenland (Qaanaaq). Northeastern Greenland, part of North and East Greenland, is not part of any municipality, but is the site of the world's largest national park, Northeast Greenland National Park. See Subdivisions of Greenland.

At least four scientific expedition stations and camps had been established in the ice-covered central part of Greenland (indicated as pale blue in the map to the right), on the ice sheet: Eismitte, North Ice, North GRIP Camp and The Raven Skiway. Currently, there is a year-round station, Summit Camp, on the ice sheet, established in 1989. The radio station Jørgen Brøndlund Fjord was, until 1950, the northernmost permanent outpost of the world.

The extreme north of Greenland, Peary Land, is not covered by an ice sheet, because the air there is too dry to produce snow, which is essential in the production and maintenance of an ice sheet. If the Greenland ice sheet were to completely melt away, sea levels would rise more than 23 feet (7 m) and Greenland would most likely become an archipelago.

Between 1989 and 1993, U.S. and European climate researchers drilled into the summit of Greenland's ice sheet, obtaining a pair of two-mile (3.2 km) long ice cores. Analysis of the layering and chemical composition of the cores has provided a revolutionary new record of climate change in the Northern Hemisphere going back about 100,000 years and illustrated that the world's weather and temperature have often shifted rapidly from one seemingly stable state to another, with worldwide consequences.



Greenland suffered economic contraction in the early 1990s, but since 1993 the economy has improved. The Greenland Home Rule Government (GHRG) has pursued a tight fiscal policy since the late 1980s which has helped create surpluses in the public budget and low inflation. Since 1990, Greenland has registered a foreign trade deficit following the closure of the last remaining lead and zinc mine in 1990. Greenland today is critically dependent on fishing and fish exports; the shrimp fishing industry is by far the largest income earner. Despite resumption of several interesting hydrocarbon and mineral exploration activities, it will take several years before production can materialize. Tourism is the only sector offering any near-term potential and even this is limited due to a short season and high costs. The public sector, including publicly owned enterprises and the municipalities, plays the dominant role in Greenland's economy. About half the government revenues come from grants from the Danish Government, an important supplement to the gross domestic product. GDP per capita is equivalent to that of the weaker economies of Europe.





The Greenland National Museum and Archives[1] is located in Nuuk.

Miscellaneous topics

See also


External links


Template:Subdivisions of Greenland

Template:Danish overseas empire

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