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Greenland: Adventures in Ice

World  (tags: Greenland, people, places, travel )

- 1611 days ago -
Despite its name Greenland is mostly ice, snow and rock (mountains), with most of its land mass covered by the Greenland ice sheet.

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:16 am
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Despite its name Greenland is mostly ice, snow and rock (mountains), with most of its land mass covered by the Greenland ice sheet. The U.S. tried to acquire Greenland from Denmark after World War II, but was only given the right to build a NATO air base there in 1951. Greenland has had home rule only since 1979. The majority of the population is either Inuit or part Danish and Inuit the remainder are European mostly of Danish decent.

5 Facts You Might Not Know

1) Greenland is part of the kingdom of Denmark, but it is an autonomous country within the kingdom. It is physically and geographically part of North America. But, it is politically and culturally aligned with Europe mainly Demark and Norway and has been so for about 1000 years or a millennium. The majority of the people are evangelical Lutherans.

2) Greenland is the largest island in the world that is not a continent, but it is the least populated country in the world with only 57, 637 people as of July 1020. Ancestors of the modern Inuit population did not arrive until around AD 1200 and it was unknown to Europeans until Vikings from Iceland settled on the southwestern coast around the 10th century.

3) On June 21, 2009 Greenland assumed self-determination with responsibility for self-governance of judicial affairs, policing and natural resources. Denmark manages foreign affairs and controls defense matters. Greenlandic became the official language of Greenland on June 21, 2009 as well and the plan is for Greenland to move toward total independence from Denmark as revenues build from the countries natural resources.

4) Northeast Greenland National Park is the largest national park in the world with 375,000 square miles. It is bigger than 163 countries, it is the most northern national park in the world and it encompasses the entire northeastern coastline and interior of Greenland. It is Greenland's only national park.

5) If Greenland's ice sheet were to totally melt, the world's sea level would rise by 23 feet. This would cause enormous flooding throughout the world and the permanent loss of large amounts of land.

Greenland was probably originally settled by descendants of the present Inuit culture, who identify the island as Kalaalit Nunaat—meaning "land of the people"—in their native language. It received the name Greenland from Norse explorer Eirķkur Rauše Žorvaldsson (known today as Erik the Red). He sailed from Iceland to the island in 982 C.E. and spent the next three years farming a plot of land along the southern coastline. He returned to Iceland in 986, intent on encouraging others to settle the rugged island. With this in mind, he referred to the island as Greenland, reasoning that a pleasant name would be more likely to attract settlers. Several colonies subsequently were established in Greenland, but these failed to survive. In 1605 King Christian IV of Denmark claimed Greenland for his kingdom. It remained a colony of Denmark until 1953, when it received county status.

Location and Geography.
Greenland is the largest island in the world. It is located 17 miles northeast of Canada's Ellesmere Island, between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic. The northern tip of Greenland is approximately 460 miles (740 kilometers) from the North Pole, making it the northernmost country on the planet.

Emergence of the Nation.
It is believed that Greenland's first inhabitants arrived on the island about 4,500–5,000 years ago (probably from Ellesmere Island). But these early Inuit peoples disappeared from the land about 3,000 years ago for unknown reasons. They were followed by another Stone Age eskimo culture known as the Dorset Culture. This nomadic hunting culture lasted from about 600 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. before disappearing.

In the tenth century, the Thule Culture spread across Greenland. This culture, which developed early kayaks, harpoons, and dogsleds, either absorbed or supplanted existing eskimo cultures. Anthropologists agree that Greenland's modern Inuits are descended from the Thule.

Thule influence spread across the island during the same time that Norse explorers first investigated its coastlines. About 900, a Norwegian named Gunnbjųrn Ulfsson became the first European to set foot on Greenland. He was followed more than 80 years later by Eirķkur Rauše Žorvaldsson (Erik the Red), who organized the first Viking settlements on the island. Around 1000, Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, brought Christianity to Greenland from Norway.

Food in Daily Life.
The typical Greenlandic diet is heavy on consumption of fish, potatoes, vegetables, and canned foods. Seal and polar bear meat is also a staple in many Inuit communities.

Basic Economy.
Greenland's economic situation is comparable to that of mainland Europe, in terms of standard of living and unemployment (officially about 10 percent in the mid-1990s, with the public sector accounting for almost two-thirds of all jobs). Its annual gross national product exceeds $1 billion (U.S.), but about one-half of government revenues are received directly from the Danish government. Greenland suffered from recessionary economic conditions in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It has benefited from budget surpluses and low inflation in recent years, but fears that overfishing might trigger crippling fisheries depletion in the near future are growing. In northern and eastern Greenland, the economies of small and isolated Inuit villages are primarily based on subsistence hunting for meat and pelts (of polar bears and seals, most notably) and fishing. In addition, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has granted Greenland special permission to engage in limited "aboriginal subsistence whaling" in recent years, which has benefited some Inuit communities.

Greenland has been a self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1979 (Greenland holds two seats in the Danish parliament). It is divided into 18 separate municipalities. The executive branch of Greenland's government is a seven-member body, known as the Landsstyre, that is led by a prime minister.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

Denmark bankrolls an extensive social welfare program that is administered by Greenland's government. Benefits include free health care and other social services. Free health care, subsidized by the Danish government, is available to all Greenlanders. In most of Greenland's small, widely dispersed communities, however, this care is quite limited in scope. The largest hospital in Greenland is Queen Ingrid's Hospital in Nuuk.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Gender roles in Inuit communities are interchangeable in many respects. Men and women share in many chores associated with their subsistence-oriented lifestyles, although responsibilities related to hunting and fishing still tend to be divided by gender (for instance, men typically do the actual hunting, while women attend to drying the meat, harvesting of the skins, etc.)


Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:17 am

There should be enough information to give you a good overview of life in Greenland, the video is available at the Site.

Pat B (356)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:20 am
Beautiful country. I could see myself either sailing, watching the whales, or walking the fields and meadows collecting flowers. Thank you, for this great tour, Kit.

Marianne R (95)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:24 am
It's beautiful but you must love the cold....

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:35 am
This is really informative - thanks for sharing Kit - it's good to learn about other countries and nations,

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:44 am
the video is lovely and reminded me of a visit I had in June 2013 to the Svalbard Archipeligo (Norweigan) in the Arctic ... Despite the snow and obvious cold, it does make the spirit yearn for the beauty and relative unspoiled wilderness that still survives in these last (commercially undeveloped) places.

Nicole W (646)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 10:46 am
always an adventure, ty dear Kit

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 1:57 pm
Beautiful country.....would love to visit one day....maybe in the summer months? lol

JL A (281)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 6:07 pm
Wonder if they'd welcome ex-patriot US retirees in need of health care...

Barbara K (60)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 6:22 pm
Wow, what a beautiful country. A real haven for skiers and those who enjoy the snow, too. Thank you, my friend, for another great vacation via the internet.

Diane K (134)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 7:30 pm
It would be an adventure anywhere in Greenland. Thanks, Kit.

Past Member (0)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 3:59 am
Greenland is quite lovely and worthy of a visit! One day maybe...thx Kit 4 another great tour.

Natalie Away J (125)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 8:03 am
I agree it looks so beautiful there, this definitely would be quite a memorable adventure for me if I went there.
I do love the fresh snow when it sparkles, and love the snowflakes, but all in all I do prefer warmer weather.

John De Avalon (36)
Friday January 24, 2014, 2:28 am
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