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Greenland: world largest island is owned by Denmark

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Greenland  is the world’s largest island,[d] located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It is an autonomous territory[10] within the Kingdom of Denmark. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe (specifically Norway and Denmark, the colonial powers, as well as the nearby island of Iceland) for more than a millennium.[11] The majority of its residents are Inuit, whose ancestors migrated from Alaska through Northern Canada, gradually settling across the island by the 13th century.[12] Nowadays the population is largely concentrated on the southwest coast of the island while the rest of the island is sparsely populated. Greenland is divided into five municipalities — Sermersooq, Kujalleq, Qeqertalik, Qeqqata, and Avannaata. It has two unincorporated areas — the Northeast Greenland National Park and the Thule Air Base. The last one, even if under Danish control, is administered by the United States Air Force.[13]

Three-quarters of Greenland is covered by the only permanent ice sheet outside Antarctica. With a population of about 56,480 (2013),[7] it is the least densely populated territory in the world.[14] About a third of the population live in Nuuk, the capital and largest city. The Arctic Umiaq Line ferry acts as a lifeline for western Greenland, connecting the various cities and settlements.

Greenland has been inhabited at intervals over at least the last 4,500 years by Arctic peoples whose forebears migrated there from what is now Canada.[15][16] Norsemen settled the uninhabited southern part of Greenland beginning in the 10th century, having previously settled Iceland to escape persecution from the King of Norway and his central government. These Norsemen would later set sail from Greenland and Iceland, with Leif Erikson becoming the first known European to reach North America nearly 500 years before Columbus reached the Caribbean islands. Inuit peoples arrived in the 13th century. Though under continuous influence of Norway and Norwegians, Greenland was not formally under the Norwegian crown until 1262. The Norse colonies disappeared in the late 15th century when Norway was hit by the Black Death and entered a severe decline. Soon after their demise, beginning in 1499, the Portuguese briefly explored and claimed the island, naming it Terra do Lavrador (later applied to Labrador in Canada).[17]

In the early 18th century, Danish explorers reached Greenland again. To strengthen trading and power, Denmark–Norway affirmed sovereignty over the island. Because of Norway’s weak status, it lost sovereignty over Greenland in 1814 when the union was dissolved. Greenland became Danish in 1814, and was fully integrated in the Danish state in 1953 under the Constitution of Denmark. In 1973, Greenland joined the European Economic Community with Denmark. However, in a referendum in 1982, a majority of the population voted for Greenland to withdraw from the EEC, which was effected in 1985. Greenland contains the world’s largest and most northerly national park, Northeast Greenland National Park (Kalaallit Nunaanni nuna eqqissisimatitaq). Established in 1974, and expanded to its present size in 1988, it protects 972,001 square kilometres (375,292 sq mi) of the interior and northeastern coast of Greenland and is bigger than all but twenty-nine countries in the world.

In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, and in 2008, Greenlanders voted in favor of the Self-Government Act, which transferred more power from the Danish government to the local Greenlandic government. Under the new structure, in effect since 21 June 2009,[18] Greenland can gradually assume responsibility for policing, judicial system, company law, accounting, and auditing; mineral resource activities; aviation; law of legal capacity, family law and succession law; aliens and border controls; the working environment; and financial regulation and supervision, while the Danish government retains control of foreign affairs and defence. It also retains control of monetary policy, providing an initial annual subsidy of DKK 3.4 billion, which is planned to diminish gradually over time. Greenland expects to grow its economy based on increased income from the extraction of natural resources. The capital, Nuuk, held the 2016 Arctic Winter Games. At 70%, Greenland has one of the highest shares of renewable energy in the world, mostly coming from hydropower.[19]


  1.  “03EM/01.25.01-50 Spørgsmål til Landsstyret: Hvornår fremsætter Landsstyret beslutning om Grønlands” [03EM/01.25.01-50 Questions to the Home Rule Government: When does the Home Rule Government make a decision on Greenland]. Government of Greenland. 7 October 2003. Retrieved 13 December2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b c (in Danish) TV 2 Nyhederne – “Grønland går over til selvstyre” TV 2 Nyhederne (TV 2 News) – Ved overgangen til selvstyre, er grønlandsk nu det officielle sprog. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  3. ^ “Self-rule introduced in Greenland”BBC News. 21 June 2009. Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  4. Jump up to:a b (in Danish) Law of Greenlandic Selfrule Archived 8 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine (see chapter 7)
  5. Jump up to:a b c “Greenland”CIA World FactbookArchived from the original on 13 October 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2007.
  6. ^ “Grønlands Statistik” Archived 30 October 2017 at the Wayback
  7. Jump up to:a b c Greenland in Figures 2013 (PDF). Statistics GreenlandISBN 978-87-986787-7-9ISSN 1602-5709Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  8. ^ Avakov, Aleksandr Vladimirovich (2012). Quality of Life, Balance of Powers, and Nuclear Weapons (2012): A Statistical Yearbook for Statesmen and Citizens. Algora Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-87586-892-9.
  9. ^ “Joshua Calder’s World Island Information”. Archivedfrom the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  10. ^
    • Benedikter, Thomas (19 June 2006). “The working autonomies in Europe”Society for Threatened Peoples. Denmark has established very specific territorial autonomies with its two island territories
    • Ackrén, Maria (November 2017). “Greenland”. Autonomy Arrangements in the World. Faroese and Greenlandic are seen as official regional languages in the self-governing territories belonging to Denmark.
    • “Greenland”International Cooperation and DevelopmentEuropean Commission. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2019. Greenland […] is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark
  11. Jump up to:a b c The Fate of Greenland’s Vikings Archived 11 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine, by Dale Mackenzie Brown, Archaeological Institute of America, 28 February 2000
  12. ^ Mcghee, Robert (3 April 2015). “Thule Culture”Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  13. ^ “Qaasuitsup kommunia”www.qaasuitsup.glArchived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  14. ^ “Population density (people per sq. km of land area)”. The World Bank. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  15. ^ “Saqqaq-kulturen kronologi”. National Museum of Denmark. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  16. ^ Saillard J, Forster P, Lynnerup N, Bandelt HJ, Nørby S (2000). “mtDNA variation among Greenland Eskimos: the edge of the Beringian expansion”American Journal of Human Genetics67 (3): 718–26. doi:10.1086/303038PMC 1287530PMID 10924403.
  17. ^ The Portuguese Explorers Archived 8 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 21 June 2016.
  18. ^ Greenland in Figures 2012 (PDF). ISBN 978-87-986787-6-2ISSN 1602-5709Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  19. ^ Nordic Investment Bank. “Hydropower creates clean energy and jobs in Greenland”NIB. Nordic Investment Bank. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  20. ^ Eirik the Red’s Saga. 8 March 2006. Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  21. ^ “How Greenland got its name” Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback MachineThe Ancient Standard. 17 December 2010.
  22. Jump up to:a b Grove, Jonathan (2009). “The place of Greenland in medieval Icelandic saga narrative”Journal of the North Atlantic2: 30–51. doi:10.3721/037.002.s206. Archived from the original on 11 April 2012.
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