Greenland is a large island in the northeastern part of North America, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Glacial Arctic Ocean, politically constituted as a constituent nation of the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland has been associated politically and culturally with Northern Europe (specifically, Scandinavia) for more than a millennium.8 More than 77% of its surface is covered with ice and is considered the largest island in the world. world (if Australia is understood to be the mainland of Oceania). Its capital is Nuuk.

Greenland has been inhabited, although not continuously, since the middle of the third millennium BC. C. by Amerindian peoples. In 986 its southern coast was colonized by populations of Nordic origin from Iceland, and in 1261 the Greenlanders accepted Norwegian sovereignty over the island. The Norse occupation lasted until the early 15th century, declining possibly due to the Little Ice Age. At the beginning of the 18th century, Hans Egede reestablished contact with Greenland, becoming dependent on Denmark in 1814, after the dissolution of the Kingdom of Denmark and Norway. Since the 1953 Constitution of Denmark, Greenland has been part of the Kingdom of Denmark with a relationship known as the Rigsfællesskabet (Commonwealth of the Crown).

Mood East Greenland Place Tasiilaq Ice Greenland
Mood East Greenland Place Tasiilaq Ice Greenland

In 1979, Denmark granted it autonomy, and in 2008 it transferred most of the powers from the Danish government to the local Greenlandic government. This handover became effective the following year and left Denmark with foreign affairs, security and financial policy powers. It gave Greenland an annual subsidy of $ 633 million, which was $ 11,300 per capita.


In prehistoric times, Greenland was home to a number of Paleo-Eskimo cultures. Beginning in AD 984, it was colonized by Norwegians settled in two settlements on the west coast on the fjords near the southwestern tip of the island. They prospered for a few centuries, but after nearly five hundred years of habitation they disappeared around the 15th century.

The data indicate that between 800 and 1300 AD, the regions around the southern Greenland fjords experienced a relatively mild climate compared to today. Trees and herbaceous plants grew there, with the climate initially allowing for agriculture and livestock raising as in Norway. These remote communities thrived on farming, hunting and trading with Norway. When Norwegian kings converted their domains to Christianity, a bishop was installed in Greenland, subordinate to the Archdiocese of Nidaros (then part of the Catholic Church, now part of the Lutheran Church of Norway). The settlements appear to have coexisted relatively peacefully with the Inuit, who had migrated from the southern Arctic to the islands of North America around 1200. In 1261, Greenland became part of the Kingdom of Norway.

By the 14th and 15th centuries, Scandinavian settlements disappeared, probably due to famine and growing conflicts with the Inuit. Other reasons such as excessive soil erosion, due to the destruction of natural vegetation for agriculture and the obtaining of grass and wood, and a decrease in temperature during the so-called Little Ice Age also favored the disappearance of settlements. The condition of human bones found by archaeologists from this period onwards indicates that the Norwegian population was malnourished. It was suggested[who?] that cultural practices, such as the rejection of fish as a food source and the exclusive use of livestock ill-adapted to Greenland’s climate, could have caused famine, and environmental degradation eventually led to abandonment of the colony. Studies have made it clear,[citation needed] however, that fish was an important food source for Norwegians in Greenland since the beginning of the 14th century.

In 1500, King Manuel I of Portugal sent Gaspar Corte Real to discover land and a “Passage from the Northwest to Asia”. Corte Real arrived in Greenland thinking it was Asia, but did not disembark. He made a second trip to Greenland in 1501, with his brother Miguel Corte Real and three caravels. Finding the sea ice, they changed course and headed south, arriving at what was thought to have been Labrador and Newfoundland.

Denmark-Norway reaffirmed its latent claim to the colony in 1721. After the Napoleonic Wars, Norway separated from Denmark at the demand of the Congress of Vienna, through what became known as the Treaty of Kiel (1814). Norway then joined Sweden, a situation that would last until 1905. Denmark kept the colonies of Iceland, Faroe Islands and Greenland. He also ruled Danish India (Tranquebar) from 1620 to 1869, the Danish Gold Coast (Ghana) from 1658 to 1850, and the Danish West Indies (present-day US Virgin Islands) from 1671 to 1917.

During World War II, the connection between Greenland and Denmark was interrupted on April 9, 1940, during the occupation of Denmark by the troops of Nazi Germany. Greenland was able to buy goods from the United States and Canada through the sale of cryolite from the Ivigtût mine. During the war the system of government changed. Governor Eske Brun ruled the island through a 1925 law that allowed governors to take control under extreme circumstances. The other governor, Aksel Svane, was transferred to the United States to lead a commission to supply Greenland. Sirius Patrol, guarding the northeast coast of Greenland using dog sleds, detected and destroyed several German weather stations, giving Denmark a better position in the postwar turmoil.

Greenland was a protected and very isolated society until 1940. The Danish government, which governed its colony, believed that the society would face exploitation from the outside world or even extinction if the country were opened up. However, during World War II, Greenland developed a sense of self-confidence through its self-government and independent communication with the outside world.

However, a commission in 1946 (with the largest Greenlandic council, the Landsrådet, as a participant) recommended patience and no radical reform of the system. Two years later the first step towards a change of government was taken, when a large commission was founded. In 1950 the report (G-50) was presented. Greenland was supposed to be an affluent modern society with Denmark as a patron and example. In 1953, Greenland was made part of the Danish kingdom. Autonomy was granted in 1979.

During World War II, Greenland actually separated, both socially and economically, from Denmark, moving closer to the United States and Canada. After the war, control of the island returned to Denmark, withdrawing its colonial status, and, although Greenland remains part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it has been autonomous since 1979. The island was the first territory to leave the European Union, if as well as having the status of associated state.


Greenland house
Greenland house

Greenland is a Danish autonomous region that occupies the island of the same name and adjacent islands off the northeast coast of North America.

The Greenlandic coasts give north to the Glacial Arctic Ocean, east to the Greenland Sea, east and south to the Atlantic Ocean and west to the Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay. The nearest land is Ellesmere Island, the northernmost of the islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, from which it is separated by the Nares Strait. Other nearby territories are: in the same archipelago of Canada, to the west, the island of Devon and the island of Baffin; to the southeast, Iceland; to the east, the island of Jan Mayen, and to the northeast the archipelago of Spitzbergen, both Norwegian possessions.

Greenland is the largest island in the world and has more than 44,000 km of coastline. The population is sparse, confined to small towns on the coast. The island has the second largest ice reserve in the world, surpassed only by Antarctica.

The vegetation is generally sparse, with a small area of ​​forest in the municipality of Nanortalik in the extreme south, near Cape Farvel. The Qinngua Valley is notable for being Greenland’s only natural forest. It runs approximately 15 km from north to south, ending at Lake Tasersuag.

The climate is arctic to sub-arctic with cool summers and very cold winters. The territory is generally not very mountainous, with a layer of gradually declining ice that covers almost the entire island. The coast is mostly rocky with cliffs. The lowest point is sea level and the highest is Gunnbjørn (3 700 m). The northern end of the island is Cape Morris Jesup, discovered by Admiral Robert Peary in 1909.


Ice Greenland Oqaatsut Rodebay
Ice Greenland Oqaatsut Rodebay

Greenland has a population of 57 564 (2008) of which 88% are Inuit or Danes and Inuit mestizos. The remaining 12% are of European origin, mainly Danish. The majority of the population is Lutheran. Nearly all Greenlanders live along fjords in the southwest of the main island, which have a relatively mild climate.

The main religion is Christianity, practiced by 96.6% of the inhabitants. Lutheranism is the largest Christian denomination practiced in the territory. 2.2% of the population is non-religious, while ethnic and other religions constitute 0.7% and 0.5% of the population, respectively.

The Bible book of the New Testament was translated into Greenlandic from 1766 to 1893. The first translation of the entire Bible was completed in 1900. A new translation was completed in 2000.

The inhabitants of Greenland were Christianized by Norwegian and Danish missionaries between the 17th and 19th centuries. There are still Christian missionaries there, mainly from charismatic movements.


Greenland and Denmark flags
Greenland and Denmark flags

Greenlandic is the official language of Greenland. Danish is taught in school from the first year as a second language for most students. Nowadays there is an increasing use of English.

Both Greenlandic and Danish have been used in public affairs since the establishment of self-government in 1979, and the majority of the population speaks both languages. Greenlandic, spoken by around 50,000 people, some of whom are monolingual, became the only official language in June 2009. A Danish minority of migrants with no Inuit ancestors speak Danish as their first or only language, and Danish , which was previously one of the official languages, will remain a language of higher education. English is widely spoken as a third language. Greenland has a 100% literacy rate.

Greenlandic is the most popular language in the Eskimo-Aleutian language family and has more speakers than all the other languages ​​in the family combined. Within Greenland, three main dialects are recognised: the Northern Inuktun or Avanersuarmiutut dialect spoken by around 1,000 people in the Qaanaaq region, Western Greenlandic or Kalaallisut which serves as the standard for the official language, and the Eastern dialect Tunumiit oraasiat or Tunumiutut spoken in eastern Greenland.


Mineral resources (zinc, lead, iron ore, coal, molybdenum, gold, platinum and uranium) are abundant. The discovery of oil, zinc and gold, in 1994, promises to change the economy, which is still very dependent on Denmark, which is also responsible for its defense and foreign relations.

A small industrial activity is developed, mainly the processing of fish and crustaceans (Greenland shrimp and halibut); anorthosite and ruby ​​mining industry; production of handicrafts, leathers and skins; canning industry and small shipyards, in addition to the production of electricity.

Seal and whale hunting marks the lives of northerners. Greenland today is critically dependent on fishing and fish processing and exports, with the shrimp fishing industry by far the most profitable.

Agriculture is practiced in rural settlements in the municipality of Kujalleq in greenhouses and supplies 10% of local consumption, the main products being: potatoes, apples, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots.

Livestock farming consists mainly of raising sheep, which provide 340 tonnes of meat for local consumption and wool for export. State-owned Neqi A/S is responsible for culling in Nassaq, Kujalleq municipality. The herd of sheep totaled 19,500 heads in 2012. There are also horses, cattle and reindeer breeding.

Despite a promising resumption of hydrocarbon and mineral exploration activities, it will still take several years before hydrocarbon production begins. The state oil company NUNAOIL was created to stimulate the hydrocarbon industry. Shares of the state-owned company Nunamineral were launched on the Copenhagen stock exchange, in order to gather the capital needed to increase the production of gold, which started in 2007.

The exploration of ruby ​​deposits also started in 2007. It is also registered the prospection of other minerals (uranium, aluminum, nickel, platinum, tungsten, titanium and copper). In 2008, the Greenland government decided to reinvigorate mining activities in Maarmorilik, with the aim of providing an economic livelihood to communities in the Uummannaq region, while keeping the relatively new Qaarsut Airport open. Resources from the exploitation of mineral resources will provide Greenland with a counterbalance to Denmark’s lump sum subsidies. Operations are carried out by Angel Mining PLC, a UK registered company. As of April 2010, the mine entrance was widened to the required 300 m (980 ft). The mine has reserves of zinc and iron ore that are expected to last 50 years.

Tourism is the only sector with the greatest potential for growth in the short term but it is limited due to the short season and high costs.

The public sector, including public companies and municipalities, plays a predominant role in Greenland’s economy. About half of government revenues come from Danish government subsidies – an important supplement to gross domestic product (GDP). GDP per capita is equivalent to that of the poorest economies in Europe, even though the HDI is very high.


Greenland Nuuk
Greenland Nuuk

The National Museum of Greenland (Greenlandic: Nunatta katersugaasivia allagaateqarfialu) is a museum located in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, that showcases the country’s art and history. It was one of the first established museums in the country, opened in the mid-1960s. The museum is closely linked with the National Museum of Denmark, from which it expanded its collections. The museum has many artifacts related to archeology, history, art, crafts and also has information about ruins, cemeteries, buildings, etc. The museum has a large and well-presented collection with sessions that tell the country’s history, but which consequently reflect world history, such as the exhibition that shows the social changes that took place in the 1950s, or the oldest rock in the country. world (3 800 million years) that was found in the Nuuk region. The museum features pieces that refer to the earliest times of humanity, such as replicas of kayaks and rowing boats that were used mainly by women. The highlight of the museum are the Qilakitsoq mummies dating back to the 15th century. They were found by two brothers in 1972, but were left there until 1977 when the museum heard about the story and retrieved them. The mummies are a trio of women and a six-month-old child. They are displayed wearing their traditional fur clothing and boots. The reason for their deaths is not yet known.

The Nuuk Art Museum (Danish: Nuuk Kunstmuseum) is an art museum in Nuuk. The museum is approximately 650 square meters and is located in the Kissarneqqortuunnguaq neighborhood in Nuuk. The museum has a vast collection of items collected by entrepreneur and contractor Svend Junge and his wife, Helene. In all, the museum’s collection has more than 700 pieces, containing figures in soapstone, ivory and wood, graphics, drawings, watercolors and paintings. In addition, in particular, the space contains a collection of more than 150 paintings, made with oil paint and gold paintings by Emanuel A. Pedersen, hanging on the walls.

Regarding the cuisine of Greenland, highlight for its rare and exotic ingredients. Traditional food is made with local ingredients prepared in a simple way. Vegetables and fruits are not common in the daily menu, since, as they are imported, they are very expensive. Spices are not widely used and the side dishes are just rice, potatoes and onions. Whale meat, reindeer meat, seal meat and poultry are very popular in the country. A classic dish, a soup called suaasat, is usually made with seal meat (it can also be made with fish, poultry, whale meat or reindeer). The soup is rich and nutritious and also includes rice, onions and potatoes. Salt and pepper make the final finish. Another very popular delicacy is mattak, which is whale skin with a thin layer of fat, which is usually eaten raw, cut into small cubes, always accompanied by many cups of gaffi (strong coffee). Reindeer meat is considered a fine delicacy.

The popular culture of the natives has very peculiar characteristics. Greenlanders believe that their children are born with a complete personality and that they are endowed with the wisdom, survival instincts, magic and intelligence of their ancestors. Therefore, according to this traditional perspective, punishing children for bad behavior is an insult to their ancestors.

Inuit society, to this day, normally values ​​boys more than girls. Families are usually small (on average two children per couple) and the family nucleus is very important in Greenlandic communities. Family groups regard resources as communal property. For example, food obtained through hunting and fishing is generally divided evenly among the relatives of the family group.


Football is the national sport, but its association is not recognized by FIFA. As Greenland is not a member of FIFA or any other continental confederation, it is not eligible to participate in the FIFA World Cup or any other official tournaments; most of the games he played were against the Faroe Islands and Iceland, but neither country considered these matches as official friendly.

Among all international sporting federations, only the International Handball Federation recognizes Greenland as an independent federation, being part of the North American Handball Confederation, one of the three subdivisions of the Pan American Handball Federation.

The men’s national team managed to qualify for the World Handball Championship in the 2001, 2003, and 2007 editions.

On June 16, 2018, he started the Men’s Handball Pan American Championship in Nuuk. It was the first time that Greenland hosted a continental handball championship of this magnitude. In all, 12 teams entered the court in search of the title and three places, destined for the continent, to the World Cup in Germany-Denmark, in January 2019.

There were seven days of competition in the cold of the beginning of Greenlandic summer. The maximum temperature on the day of the Pan debut reached the mark of 8 °C. In addition to the cold, the language made life difficult for athletes and fans/tourists. The official language is Greenlandic and Danish, but there were many volunteers who were fluent in English to help foreigners.

The 33 matches in the first phase plus the 10 in the finals and for positions in the general framework were played at Godthåbhallen, the main sports center for handball and other court sports in the capital, which has space to house up to a thousand fans.

The island is also a member of the International Association of the Games of the Islands, which gives it rights to participate in the biannual Games of the Islands; and also at the Arctic Winter Games. In 2002, Nuuk hosted that year’s edition together with Iqaluit, in the Canadian province of Nunavut. The island then won the “fair play” trophy that it had also won in 1994.



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