|Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenlandic)
|Official language||Greenlandic 1|
|Capital||Nuuk (Danish Godthåb )|
|Form of government||Parliamentary monarchy with self-government|
|Government system||parliamentary democracy|
|Head of state||Queen Margrethe II (represented by the imperial ombudswoman Mikaela Engell )|
|Head of government||Prime Minister Kim Kielsen|
|population||55,877 (January 1, 2018)|
|Population density||0.026 inhabitants per km²|
|currency||Danish Krone (DKK)|
Nunarput utoqqarsuanngoravit ,
|National holiday||June 21st|
UTC ± 0 ( Danmarkshavn )
UTC − 1 ( Ittoqqortoormiit )
UTC − 3 ( West Greenland and Ammassalik District )
UTC − 4 ( Thule Air Base )
|ISO 3166||GL , GRL, 304|
Greenland ( Greenlandic Kalaallit Nunaat [ kaˈlaːɬːitˢʰ nuˈnaːtˢʰ ], German 'Land der Kalaallit ' , Danish Grønland [ ˈɡʁɶnlanʔ ], German 'Grassland' ) is the largest island on earth and is geographically part of North America and geologically part of its arctic sub-region. From a political point of view, it is an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Denmark .
Greenland stretches from 59 ° 46 ′ north latitude ( Cape Farvel ) to 83 ° 40 ′ north latitude ( Kaffeklubben Island near Cape Morris Jesup ) and is 2650 km long. The maximum width is 1200 km from Cape Alexander in the west to Nordostrundingen in the east. Greenland's north coast, at 710 km distance, is the largest contiguous land mass closest to the North Pole.
In the north of the island lies the icy Arctic Ocean with its marginal seas Lincolnsee and Wandelsee . In the east it borders on the Greenland Sea and the Irminger Sea , in the west on the Davis Strait and Baffin Bay , all marginal seas of the Atlantic . In the northwest, Greenland merges into the very rugged and extensive island world of the Queen Elizabeth Islands . There Greenland is separated from Ellesmere Island (part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands) by the Nares Strait , which connects Baffin Bay with the Lincoln Sea and already belongs to the Arctic Ocean .
Greenland has extremely large ice deposits. The Greenland Ice Sheet , which is up to 3400 m thick and an average of 2000 m thick, moves along the coasts towards the sea and often creates icebergs several kilometers long.
Only 410,000 km² of the area of Greenland are ice-free, that is 18.9% (for comparison: the area of Germany is 357,376 km²). The second largest ice sheet on the planet, up to 3,400 m thick, weighs on Greenland, only surpassed by the Antarctic ice sheet, which is more than 4,700 m thick in places . If the entire Greenland ice sheet (2.85 million km³) were to melt, the sea level would rise by 7.4 meters worldwide. Freed from the ice load, the island would rise by around 800 meters in its central areas, which are now partially pushed below sea level ( post-glacial land elevation ).
The glaciation started about 2.7 million years ago. At that time, with the closure of the Isthmus of Panama, a new phase of the Cenozoic Ice Age began, the mountains in the east of the island had been raised high enough and the island had come close enough to the poles to trigger the glaciation that continues to this day.
For the volume of the Greenland ice sheet, an annual decrease of 240 km³ was calculated for 2006 , which corresponds to a tripling of the rate compared to the observation period 1997-2003. Between 2011 and 2014 the ice sheet on Greenland lost an average of around 269 ± 51 billion tons (approx. 293 km³) of ice per year.
At the northern edge of Greenland, its ice sheet merges directly into the (floating) ice cap of the Arctic Ocean. The extent of the entire north polar ice surface (including the Greenland ice), which varies greatly with the seasons, halved from 1972 to 2011 to around 4.24 million km² in summer.
In the south, Greenland is a gently undulating highland, which is divided on the coast by numerous fjords , bays and roads. In the center and in the north, the underground consists of a huge basin, some of which is below sea level. On the edge of the highlands, Greenland is surrounded by very high mountains and mountain ranges, which rise up to 3694 m in the Watkins Mountains on the eastern edge of the island with Gunnbjørn Fjeld , also known as Hvitserk .
In 2013, the analysis of data from a special ground penetrating radar that penetrates the ice discovered one of the world's largest canyons under the central and northern ice sheet. This runs from the center of Greenland west or southwest of the summit in a winding direction towards the north coast, where it flows under the Petermann glacier into the Hall basin of the Nares Strait . The gorge is at least 750 km longer than the Grand Canyon and is therefore provisionally called the Grand Canyon of Greenland . The gorge, up to 10 km wide and 800 meters deep, was created when Greenland was still ice-free.
Greenland is often shown very distorted on world maps. Since it is not possible to depict the surface of the spherical earth on a flat map without distortion , a world map cannot be true to length, area and angle at the same time. In the true-to-angle classic Mercator projection , the island of Greenland (2.2 million km²) appears extremely large due to its high geographical latitude, compared to continents such as Africa (30 million km²) or Australia (8.6 million km²).
The island was part of the very old Precambrian continent Laurentia , the eastern core of which forms the Greenland shield , while it merges into a table on the less exposed coastal strip . In these ice-free coastal strips, pre-Cambrian, metamorphic and meanwhile glacial sediments appear, which continue in parts of the island into the Cenozoic and Mesozoic .
There are relics of flood basalts in East and West Greenland . Notable rock provinces are on the southwest coast near Qeqertarsuatsiaat (metamorphic igneous rocks , ultramafites and anorthosites ). East of Nuuk , the Isukasia iron band ore region, which is more than three billion years old, contains the oldest rocks in the world, including greenlandite (a rock predominantly made from hornblende and hypersthene ), formed 3.8 billion years ago, and Nuummit . In addition to the Isukasia iron ore region, there are two other significant strip iron ore deposits on the west coast of Greenland near Qaanaaq and the Itilliarsuk valley east of Qeqertaq .
In South Greenland, the Illimaussaq Alkaline Complex consists of pegmatites such as nepheline pegmatite , syenites (namely kakortokit or naujaite ) and sodalite ( sodalite - foyaite ). At Ivittuut , where cryolite was previously mined, the fluoride-bearing pegmatite occurs. To the north of Igaliku are the Gardar alkali pegmatite intrusions made of augite syenite, gabbro etc.
In the west and southwest there are paleozoic carbonatite complexes at Kangerlussuaq ( Gardiner complex ) and Safartoq as well as basic and ultra- basic igneous rocks at Uiffaq on Disko Island , where solid iron masses weighing up to 25 t occur in the basalts .
Post-glacial glaciation on the Nuussuaq peninsula
The 1310-meter-high Qaqulluit mountain range on the south side of the Nuussuaq peninsula is located 50 kilometers west of the Greenland Ice Sheet at 70 ° 7 ′ 50.92 ″ N 51 ° 44 ′ 30.52 ″ W and is exemplary for numerous mountain areas in western Greenland. Up to 1979 (stage 0) it had at least 7000, a maximum of about 10,000 years ago, historical to Holocene, i.e. post-glacial glacier positions. The glacier tongues ended in 1979 - depending on the size and height of the glacier feeding area - between 660 and 140 meters above sea level. The associated climatic glacier snow line (ELA) ran at a height of approx. 800 meters. The snow line of the oldest (VII) of the three Holocene glacier stages (V – VII) ran approx. 230 meters lower, at a height of approx. 570 meters.
The four youngest glacier stands (IV – I) are of historical age. They can be assigned to the global glacier advances in the years 1811 to 1850 and 1880 to 1900 (“ Little Ice Age ”), 1910 to 1930, 1948 and 1953. Their snow lines gradually rose to the 1979 level. The current snow line (stage 0) is almost unchanged. During the oldest post-glacial stage VII, a network of ice streams made up of merging valley glaciers covered the landscape over a large area. Its nutrient areas consisted of high plateau glaciers and local ice caps . Due to the increase in the snow line by around 230 meters - which corresponds to a warming of around 1.5 ° C - there has only been a plateau glacier since 1979 with small glacier tongues hanging down at the edge, which almost no longer reach the main valley floors.
Greenland has a polar and sub-polar climate, which is tempered on the west coast by the Greenland Current , which the North Atlantic Current and the Gulf Stream supply with relatively warm water. Around 100 km from the coast, the climate is clearly continental, similar to the climate of Siberia or Central Alaska . An example of this is the town of Kangerlussuaq (Søndre Strømfjord). The coastal strip, which is up to 150 km wide on the west coast, as well as all offshore islands are ice-free and have tundra vegetation that decreases sharply towards the north. In northern Greenland, the air temperature barely exceeds 0 ° C in summer.
The curvature of the inland ice prevents calm or stable wind conditions. Foehn winds and warm snowstorms flow, often very suddenly, especially in winter, towards the coast, which has become a dry steppe with salty lakes in the west. The Piteraq is another wind that blows from the ice sheet as an ice storm over the east coast in autumn and winter.
DNA traces from pines, yew and alder trees as well as butterflies and other insects were found in the drill cores of material under the more than 2000 meter thick ice, which seem to be between 450,000 and 800,000 years old, but only around 120,000 years due to measurement uncertainties could be old. The researchers working with Martin Sharp ( University of Alberta , Canada) therefore suspect that Greenland was a “green land” with a significantly warmer climate than it is today before glaciation during the Riss Ice Age.
Even during the medieval warm period , the southwest coast was marketed as a supposedly “green land” and inhabited by Viking settlers . These settlements perished in the 15th century when they were exposed to the interplay of the Little Ice Age with overgrazing and competition from the Inuit Thule culture .
Only a few coastal strips that are still habitable today were inhabited; the temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period were not higher than today. The term “grassland” was mainly used to attract new settlers, but it did not correspond to reality. Apart from the more or less ice-free coastal strips, practically all of Greenland was under a thick ice sheet that had existed for more than 100,000 years.
The cities and settlements are located exclusively in the ice-free coastal strip, especially on the west coast, where the fish trade is flourishing because the sea does not freeze over in winter thanks to the Gulf Stream. In the inland ice away from the coast, research stations linked to historical expeditions such as Eismitte and North Ice were maintained, where extreme temperatures of −66.1 ° C were measured. The permanently manned research station Summit Camp has existed on the inland ice since 1989 .
Greenland's ecosystem is facing severe changes due to the largely human-induced global warming . In 2015 the Arctic showed the first signs of irreversible changes; Among other things, a temperature rise between 1 ° C and 4 ° C could trigger the almost complete melting of the Greenland ice . The risk that arises from the activation of further tilting elements depends on the level of temperature rise and is all the greater if the temperature increases. Since 1990 the average temperature has increased by 1.8 ° C in summer and 3 ° C in winter. Increased rain events accelerate the melting of the Greenland glaciers and the cloud cover prevents much heat from escaping.
Climate table for Nuuk (1961–1990)
The best-known representative of the Greenlandic fauna is the polar bear (Inuktitut: "Nanoq"). Its main habitat is in the far north as well as in Northeast Greenland National Park , the largest national park in the world. With the drift ice , which moves with the East Greenland Current around Cape Farvel to South Greenland, polar bears hunt for seals as far as the extreme south (Nanortalik) and with other drift ice currents to Upernavik in northwest Greenland .
The second largest land mammal in Greenland is the musk ox (Inuktitut "umimmaq", also "umingmaq"), which originally only appeared in large herds in northeast Greenland. A total of 27 musk oxen were also released on the west coast in 1962 and 1965, for example in Kangerlussuaq , Ivittuut and Upernavik , and have now reproduced here to around 4,000 animals. It is estimated that around 40% of the total population of the world lives on Greenland today.
There are numerous species of marine mammals in the waters around Greenland: minke whale , humpback whale , beluga , killer whale , narwhal , bowhead whale , Atlantic walrus , cap , harp seal , bearded seal and ringed seal . The Inuit also count the polar bears among the marine mammals because they spend most of their life at sea, especially on the pack ice and drift ice.
The bird world is also very rich. Around 200 species can be seen in Greenland, around 50 of them all year round. The most common are the common raven , black guillemot , kittiwake , snow bunting , eider duck , common loon , ptarmigan and ptarmigan .
Thick-billed mums occur in large numbers . Their largest breeding colonies are in the Upernavik district; other colonies are located in the districts of Qaanaaq, Ilulissat (Ritenbenk / Appat), Maniitsoq , Nuuk , Ivittuut , Ittoqqortoormiit and in the Ydre Kitsitsut archipelago, which is part of Qaqortoq .
Guillemots are comparatively rare and can be seen mainly on some bird cliffs in southwest Greenland. The High Arctic crab grebe occurs in huge colonies near Qaanaaq and Ittoqqortoormiit. Smaller colonies are at Upernavik (Horsehead) and in the Disko Bay (Groenne Ejland).
The puffin has for North Atlantic seems rather smaller colonies in Greenland, such as Aasiaat , Upernavik, Nuuk, on Ydre Kitsitsut (Qaqortoq) and before Nanortalik and in Ittoqqortoormiit and Qaanaaq. Black guillemots are common throughout Greenland and do not only live on the bird cliffs. Other inhabitants of the bird cliffs are kittiwakes and cormorants .
Arctic terns have their largest colonies in Disko Bay (Grönne Ejland). Thor's chickens and king eiders are mainly found in areas north of Disko Bay. White-tailed eagles are common in south-west Greenland, while gyrfalcon , peregrine falcon , hawk sku , spatula and arctic skua inhabit much more extensive areas on the coast.
The snowy owl lives mainly in north and north-east Greenland. Several species of geese (such as barnacle goose , snow goose , white- fronted goose and others) also live in Greenland. The high Arctic rose gull is only found in the far north.
Approximately 600 species of higher plants ( seed plants ) grow on Greenland . There are also over 3000 species of moss , lichen , mushrooms and algae . Plant growth is generally very low; it decreases from south to north, and trees ( birches and willows ) only grow in specially protected fjords in the extreme south . A total of 2 km² of the area of Greenland is forested.
- The High Arctic vegetation zone extends from around 70 degrees to the north , i.e. from a line running north from Ilulissat to Ittoqqortoormiit . There are only a few seed plants here, especially in the coastal strips. Inland there is an arctic desert .
- The predominantly inland areas between Nuuk and Upernavik (especially in the region of Kangerlussuaq ) with little precipitation are stepped and have a corresponding vegetation ( dry Lower Arctic vegetation zone ).
- South of around 70 degrees N.B., that is, from the line running north from Ilulissat to Ittoqqortoormiit, there is a Lower Arctic vegetation zone with regular rainfall . The most common plants here include various knotweed , fireweed and cotton grass, as well as flat birches and willows.
- Behind the coastal strip in the extreme south lies a small region that is characterized by frequent rainfall and a particularly protected location. It has a lush vegetation for northern conditions (subarctic vegetation zone) : birch forests up to 6 meters high and pastures up to 4 meters high thrive here. Other plant species, especially ferns , are also significantly larger than in the arctic zones.
Fossils indicate that 55 million years ago, forests consisted primarily of sequoias and deciduous trees . Between 900,000 and 450,000 years ago, Greenland was forested, including alder , spruce, pine and yew trees . Climate change is currently causing plants to flower sooner.
Greenlander ("Kalaallit", singular: "Kalaaleq") is every Danish citizen residing in Greenland in the legal sense . These are most of the 56,000 inhabitants of Greenland.
From a Greenland point of view, only those 88% of the population of Greenlanders are named who are primarily descended from the indigenous people (a subgroup of the Inuit ) and who generally speak Kalaallisut , a dialect of the Inuit language Inuktitut , but who do not have to live in Greenland. In the literature, the term Greenlander usually refers to this ethnic view. In the 1960s and 1970s, a policy of danization was pursued against the Greenland Inuit; From a Danish point of view, they were officially regarded as Northern Danes and should be forced to settle down.
Currently, many locals only call the people “Greenlanders” who feed on traditional Inuit food. What exactly is meant by this is defined differently depending on the region. The term Inuit, on the other hand, is often used (somewhat derogatory) today when it comes to local communities that lead a very traditional way of life, such as the Inughuit in the far north. Conversely, some Inughuit do not refer to themselves as Kalaallit to emphasize their own ethnicity .
Greenland Inuit / ethnic Greenlanders
The ancestors of most of the Greenlanders go back to the immigrants of the Thule culture who, after the year 1000, settled the west Greenland coast from the north and encountered the Vikings who settled there in the south, but with whom they did not mix. Mixing with Europeans - which is detectable today for 80% of all Greenlanders and which makes up 31% of the DNA - did not take place until the 18th century at the earliest. The gene pool of the population of the long-term isolated areas of the north-west and east coast, but also of the small settlements at the southern tip, has significantly fewer European genes.
Originally, all Greenland Inuit were hunters, fishermen and gatherers . Even today, subsistence hunting is an important supplementary supply for many families alongside the fishing industry , tourism and mining ( iron , oil , uranium ). As in many other regions of the Arctic, traditional self-sufficiency is increasingly giving way to trust in the modern market economy which, however, leads to a growing dependence on the outside world.
- 46,000 Kitaamiut (West Greenlanders)
- 3,400 Tunumiit (East Greenlanders)
- 850 Inughuit (North Greenlanders)
11% of the population are of European - mostly Danish - origin. 90% of this minority can be found in Nuuk and also in the few other cities. About 20% of the population were born outside the country. Due to the ongoing return of residents, the population remains almost constant (population growth 2007: 0%).
The frequent occurrence of German family names such as Fleischer, Kleist, Chemnitz or Kreutzmann is due to the presence of Protestant, especially Moravian , missionaries. They married Inuit women and / or adopted Inuit children. Today's bearers of the name are Greenlanders who, apart from the namesake, mostly have no German ancestors.
At the University of Greenland in Nuuk, "Ilisimatusarfik", about 150 students study, few of them foreigners. Bachelor and Master degrees can be obtained in the subjects of administration , cultural and social history in Greenland, and Greenlandic language, literature and media studies . There is also the subject of theology. Most of the lessons are taught in Danish, with some courses also in Greenlandic.
The national library Nunatta Atuagaateqarfia, founded in 1956, is located in Nuuk . It fell victim to a fire in 1968 but reopened in a new building in 1976. Since 1980 it has been the National Library of Greenland . Her Groenlandica collection was moved to the university's new Ilimmarfik campus in 2008.
Nowadays the main religion (98%) is Protestant Christianity , which is mainly represented by the Lutheran- oriented Danish People's Church . The 300 or so Catholics in Greenland today belong to the only Catholic parish in Greenland, the Christ König parish in Nuuk in the Diocese of Copenhagen, founded in 1958 . It is the largest Catholic parish in the world in terms of area. The Ostgrönländern also still playing animistic - traditional beliefs play a role.
According to a Danish report, a third of girls up to the age of 15 have already been sexually abused and Greenland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, especially among children and adolescents. According to this, suicide, like sexual intercourse with one another, had a different status in history ( see paragraph on the other cultures in the article Suicide and Suicide in Greenland ) in Inuit society than in Christian culture.
Alcohol abuse is a widespread cause of illness in Greenland. Most crimes, such as assault and homicide, are committed under the influence of alcohol. The difference between rich and poor is greater than in the United States . The school education is bad, there are high dropout rates. Only two percent of students graduate from university, and many students are considering leaving Greenland. The country is threatened with social collapse.
The average life expectancy at birth was only 72.4 years in 2016 (women: 75.2 years / men: 69.7 years). Greenland was only 144th in the ranking of all states and territories in the world.
Since 2009, Greenland has been on the list of countries that disregard the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for the first time . According to UNICEF , every sixth Greenlandic child suffers from malnutrition and goes to school or bed hungry. With 2.01 children per woman, Greenland was also the territory of Denmark with the highest birth rate.
In Greenland there are 17 cities, 55 villages, around 30 shepherd settlements and a few stations. There are also several hundred settlements that were abandoned during the 20th century. Most of the places are on the west coast of the island. There are also seven places on the east coast. The 17 Greenlandic cities are shown on the map opposite.
Around 2500 BC The first immigration of Pre-Dorset Eskimos (Paleo-Eskimos) to Greenland began (including people of the Saqqaq culture ). Hunting sites, for example in Disko Bay and at Qaja near the Jakobshavn Isfjord, have already been identified from this time. These first settlers died out again, but by 500 BC. From BC to AD 1000, members of the Dorset culture (Neo-Eskimos) settled in Greenland.
Around 875, the Norwegian Gunnbjørn discovered the island and named it Gunnbjørnland. 982 had Erik the Red from Iceland to flee and ended up in southwest Greenland. He gave the island its name Grænland ( Old Norse for "grassland"), which is probably due to the fact that, due to the medieval warm period, more lush vegetation could develop in the coastal area, but it was possibly just a euphemism to motivate potential settlers. The Vikings who settled in Greenland were therefore called Grænlendingar . The promising land grab began with Erik . He and his followers settled in the area around Brattahlíð from 986 onwards . In 986, only 14 of 25 Icelandic emigration ships with 700 people on board reached Greenland. Residential and church ruins of northern settlers from around 1000 have been preserved in the south.
Christianization and Norsemen settlement
In 1000 Leif Eriksson , the son of Erik the Red , returned from Norway, where he became a Christian , with a missionary to Greenland. The Greenlandic Vikings became Christians and built the first church. Eriksson discovered the North American mainland ( Vinland ) during this time, coming from Greenland . The trade relations with Vinland lasted until the 14th century. During this time, Inuit of the Thule culture immigrated from Alaska and northern Canada and displaced the Dorset Inuit who had previously lived there.
In 1076 Adam von Bremen gave in his history of the Archdiocese of Hamburg the first written evidence of the settlement and Christianization of Greenland, which he calls Greenland. At that time, Greenland was part of the archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen .
Around 1124 to 1126 Greenland became its own diocese , the bishopric of which was in Gardar , now Igaliku , with the cathedral of Garðar . In 1350, the Icelandic churchman Ivar Bardarsson reported that the western settlement had been abandoned. A Swedish-Norwegian expedition under Paul Knudson (1355-1364) found no more Grænlendingar there. The last written record of the Northmen from the eastern settlement is from 1408, telling of a wedding in the church of Hvalsey . Contacts with Norway and Iceland broke off.
The last Nordic settlement in Greenland died out by 1550 at the latest. Recent genetic studies of both today's Inuit and archaeological remains of the Grænlendingar seem to rule out a mixture of the two groups, that is, the Grænlendingar are probably extinct.
To this day there is no generally accepted explanation for the disappearance of the Northman settlements. Presumably various influences such as the end of the medieval warm period and the expansion of the Thule Inuit into the areas of the Grænlendingar settlements worked together.
Different approaches represented in research are presented in the article Grænlendingar .
Role of Norwegians and Danes
After Europe lost contact with the settlers on Greenland in 1408, the island received little attention for 300 years due to its inhospitable nature. The English navigator John Davis landed in 1585, looking for the Northwest Passage, as the first new discoverer of Greenland, which he called the Land of Desolation , near present-day Nuuk . He circumnavigated the southern tip of the island and gave Cape Farvel its name. Under Christian IV there were three expeditions to Greenland in 1605, 1606 and 1607 . In the first, helmsman James Hall , who had probably also driven with John Davis, recommended the new route taken by John Davis between the Orkney and Shetland Islands .
In 1721 Greenland was taken over by the Norwegian Hans Egede for Denmark-Norway . He founded the Haabets Ø colony , which was moved to Nuuk in 1728 and renamed Godthaab . Hans Egede and his sons Poul Egede and Niels Egede evangelized the Inuit and traded with them. A second base in Nipisat was established in 1724, but was destroyed twice by Dutch whalers by 1731. From 1733 the Moravian Brethren was also active in Greenland. In 1734 the Christianshaab colony was founded in Qasigiannguit . Jakobshavn in Ilulissat and Claushavn in Ilimanaq followed in 1741, and Frederikshaab in Paamiut in 1742 . After the establishment of further colonies, from around 1770 smaller trading bases were established, which were later referred to as Udsteder. In 1776 Den Kongelige Grønlandske Handel (KGH) got the trade monopoly over Greenland and managed the colony from then on.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Greenland was repeatedly visited by Dutch, Danish-Norwegian, German and other whalers. There were always violent conflicts with the locals. The Greenland voyage made a significant contribution to the economic development of Flensburg , which at the time was the second largest port in the entire Danish state.
From 1862, the locals were formally involved in the local administration of social affairs by establishing the Forstanderskaber . In 1911 the colonial districts were divided into parishes and a parish council was established in each parish. At the same time, the Forstanderskaber were replaced by Grønlands Landsråd , an advisory parliament with limited decision-making powers , which was divided into two areas of responsibility for north and south Greenland . From 1925 the country was ruled by the Grønlands Styrelse , whose director was subordinate to the Danish State Ministry. Greenland's colonial history was also not free from various conflicts and protests by the indigenous population.
20th and 21st centuries
In the First World War, Denmark remained (and thus also Greenland) neutral.
In 1921 Denmark declared its sovereignty over Greenland. On the Norwegian side, it was claimed that, according to the Peace of Kiel, Danish sovereignty only applies to the economically developed areas in western Greenland. Nevertheless, Norway initially recognized the Danish claims. However, when Denmark closed East Greenland to non-Danes, Norwegian protests rose again. In 1930 Norwegian fishermen, with the benevolence of their government, began to occupy the east coast of Greenland, so that in 1931 the island was threatened with partition ( Eirik Raudes Land ). In 1933 Norway finally gave up its claims to Greenland in favor of Denmark after an arbitration by the Permanent International Court of Justice in The Hague .
During the Second World War , Denmark was occupied by the Wehrmacht on April 9, 1940 as part of Operation Weser Exercise and remained under German occupation until the end of the war . From this point on, Greenland was cut off from Denmark by the British naval power. The Danish officials on site took over state power. One day after the German occupation, the Danish ambassador to the United States, Henrik Kauffmann , announced that he would no longer receive instructions from Copenhagen. Washington still regarded him as the plenipotentiary Danish ambassador and entered into a contract with him on April 9, 1941, which guaranteed the establishment of US bases in Greenland after German warships had appeared off Greenland. Subsequently, Greenland served primarily as a base for aircraft monitoring the Atlantic in search of German submarines and was used as a base and refueling station for its own sea missions. There was also beyond German attempts to the island for the construction of North Atlantic weather war with the company Holzauge , companies bass player , migratory companies edelweiss and businesses to use. As a countermeasure, the Sirius patrol was set up.
After the war, the Truman administration made Denmark an offer to buy Greenland for US $ 100 million in gold, which was rejected by the Danish government.
With the treaty of April 27, 1951, Greenland was converted into a joint Danish-American defense area under NATO control . The United States built larger air bases such as Thule Air Base from 1952 , because during the Cold War , proximity to the Soviet Union across the North Pole played an important role for bombers and reconnaissance aircraft that could fly into the Soviet Union along an orthodrome . In 1953 the Inuit from Thule were forcibly resettled to Qaanaaq .
In 1950 the Danish trade monopoly expired. Greenland was thus opened to free trade. The KGH also lost its administrative power. The head of administration was a governor appointed by Denmark, and there was a democratically elected district administrator (landsråd), who only had an advisory role. The construction of the infrastructure has now been taken over by Grønlands Tekniske Forvaltning (GTO) (until 1987). New technical possibilities such as airplanes, helicopters, icebreakers, trawlers etc. made it possible to create a supply situation at a very high level.
With the entry into force of the new Danish Basic Law on June 5, 1953, Greenland was no longer a colony. Following the Danish model, the country was divided into three administrative districts (Danish amter ) with a total of 18 municipalities. From 1953 Greenland also sent two democratically elected MPs to the Danish Folketing , for the first time after the election on September 22, 1953. On August 30, 1955, a special Greenland Ministry was set up in Copenhagen, which existed until 1987. The first Greenland Minister was Johannes Kjærbøl , the last Minister for Greenland was Tom Høyem .
The formal decolonization and the economic opening did not remain without consequences for the traditional hunting society of the Inuit, so that many also spoke of a "cultural colonization", from which the Inuit were largely protected in times of isolation. In the first decades after the Second World War, the hunting society was suddenly moved into the industrial age. The upheavals immediately created better living conditions and educational opportunities according to Danish standards, but they also led to a profound national identity crisis. Alcoholism and crime became serious social problems.
Since the beginning of the 1960s, the national movement with its demand for self-government grew stronger and stronger; it was directed against a law in which Danes should be entitled to a higher wage than the native Greenlanders for the same work. After Denmark (with Greenland) joined the European Economic Community in 1973, the protest intensified again, because in the corresponding Danish referendum on October 2, 1972, only 3905 Greenlanders voted for membership, while 9386 voted against. As a result, a Greenland-Danish commission with equal representation was formed in 1975 to draw up an autonomy law based on the model of the Faroe Islands . As a result of the negotiations of the commission, a corresponding law was passed by the Folketing in 1978. In the following referendum in Greenland on January 17, 1979, the great majority of the Greenlanders voted for this autonomy law (hjemmestyreloven) .
On May 1, 1979, Greenland finally achieved its self-government and internal autonomy with its own parliament and government. The first Prime Minister was Jonathan Motzfeldt . Since then, Greenland has existed as a “ nation within the Kingdom of Denmark”.
Because Greenland was part of Denmark, it was still a member of the European Economic Community . As a result, European deep-sea fleets were able to fish in Greenland's waters and European corporations were able to search for mineral resources in Greenland. On the other hand, a popular movement developed with the aim of ending membership in the European Economic Community. On February 23, 1982 there was a referendum on the exit from the European Economic Community, which took place on January 1, 1985, primarily because of the overfishing of Greenland waters by the then West German fishing fleets. Greenland enjoys in the EU , however, continue to the status of "associated overseas country" with the advantages of a customs union (see. EC Treaty ). Nevertheless, Greenland no longer belongs to the customs territory of the Union since it left the European Economic Community , which is defined by a provision in a regulation .
After the end of the Cold War, Greenland's military importance faded, but efforts are being made by the United States to be able to set up ground stations on Greenland for the planned US nuclear missile interception shield. In 2007, Greenland, which had been neglected by the media for decades, received an unusual amount of attention in the wake of global warming . The spontaneous visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel also contributed to this.
Greenland is completely independent domestically, but is represented by Denmark in all foreign and defense affairs. On November 25, 2008, a referendum was held to replace the Statute of Autonomy, which had been in force since 1979, with a self-government regulation. It was implemented on June 21, 2009.
In August 2019, about a month before a planned state visit by US President Donald Trump to Denmark, considerations became known that the latter, like Harry Truman in 1946, was considering buying the island of Greenland from Denmark. The President described this scenario as “ essentially a large real estate deal ”. In response, the Greenland government said the island was not for sale. The Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the idea "absurd". Greenland is "not Danish, but Greenlandic" and is not for sale. President Trump then canceled his planned state visit on August 21, 2019. Nevertheless, Trump's interest in Greenland does not seem to have subsided. In February 2020, it was announced that an American consulate would be built in Nuuk at a cost of $ 587,000, although the number of Americans staying there is small. In addition, in April 2020 the US government announced an "aid package" for Greenland worth around EUR 11 million for investments in tourism, raw materials and English teaching.
Greenland is democratic . The parliament ( Inatsisartut ) is elected every four years and in turn elects the Prime Minister and the government ( Naalakkersuisut ). In the 13th Inatsisartut , which has been in office since 2018, there are 31 MPs. The current government is the Kielsen VI Cabinet , which has been in office since May 2020 and currently has nine ministers including the Prime Minister.
The Naalakkersuisut and the Inatsisartut manage Greenlandic affairs. That goes into the realm of laws and jurisdiction. Danish laws can be adopted by the Inatsisartut. The defense rests with the Danish Military ( Arktisk Command , formerly Grønlands command ), foreign policy is largely taken over by Denmark, there are special foreign policy interests to consider, such as relations with other Inuit regions or non-membership in the EU . Unlike the Danish motherland, the semi-autonomous areas of Greenland and Faroe Islands are not part of the Schengen area .
Greenland is represented in the Folketing by two directly elected members .
Greenland cooperates with Iceland and the Faroe Islands in the West Nordic Council (since 1985/1997). Furthermore, as part of the Danish delegation, it has been a member of the Nordic Council since 1983 . On September 5, 2007, the Åland Document was adopted, which enables the autonomous regions of Åland , the Faroe Islands and Greenland to be an equal member of the Nordic Council.
At present, attempts are being made to break away economically from Denmark by developing raw materials. "The Greenlanders [...] dream of a better future, sometimes even of an oil discovery off the coast". The politically driven expansion of survival and cruise tourism and the increased interest in Greenland as a result of the reports on climate change are also seen as opportunities - but are not without problems from an ecological point of view.
On November 25, 2008, a referendum took place on the law on self-government. With a turnout of almost 72%, 39,611 eligible voters voted. A large majority of 75.5% voted in favor of extended self-government. The law, which is to be seen as a step towards independence from Denmark, regulates, among other things, the takeover of various administrative units from Denmark and the property rights to mineral resources.
On June 21, 2009 an agreement on extended autonomy came into force (Lov om Grønlands Selvstyre) . Only foreign and defense policy remained a Danish responsibility. Greenlandic , the language of the native Inuit , became the national language; the Greenland government took over responsibility for the police , justice and coastal protection .
Until 2009 Greenland was divided into 18 municipalities :
Since January 1, 2018, Greenland has been divided into five municipalities, which in turn are divided into the old municipalities, now districts. The municipalities are:
- Avannaata Kommunia (11,007 inhabitants)
- Qeqertalik municipality (6,671 inhabitants)
- Qeqqata Kommunia (9.239 inhabitants)
- Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq (22,673 inhabitants)
- Kujalleq municipality (6,692 inhabitants)
The municipality of Qeqertalik and the Avannaata Kommunia were created on January 1, 2018 by splitting the Qaasuitsup Kommunia . The other three municipalities have existed within their current boundaries since January 1st, 2009. Plus there are those
- unincorporated areas Northeast Greenland National Park and the Thule Air Base (together 132 inhabitants) (as of 1 January 2015).
The economy of Greenland is poorly developed due to the small population and the climatic conditions. The gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015 was 2.1 billion US dollars , per capita 37,600 US dollars . Unemployment was 9.1% in 2016. The main trading partners are Denmark, Japan and Sweden. Government spending was $ 1.876 billion in 2016, compared to $ 1.578 billion in revenue, resulting in a deficit of 13.5% of economic output.
One of the main sources of income is tourism, which is currently being greatly expanded. In 2015 around 68,000 people came to Greenland. This meant that more visitors came than the island has inhabitants. Popular attractions among tourists are observing the wildlife, e.g. B. whale watching , natural phenomena like the northern lights or outdoor activities like canoeing or hiking . Sights include the Brattahlíð ruins from the year 1000, the most visited town of Ilulissat and the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk .
There are also three UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Greenland . In 2004 the Ilulissat Icefjord came on the list. Since the end of 2017, the Kujataa fjord landscape has also been part of the world heritage as a cultural landscape. In July 2018, Aasivissuit - Nipisat , which has been used as a hunting ground by the Inuit for 4,500 years, was added to the list.
Fishing and agriculture
Furthermore, the fishery and the seal, walrus and whaling form the further basis of the economy. Fishing alone accounts for up to 91% (as of 2015) of goods exports. Sheep breeding and agriculture are practiced almost exclusively in South Greenland and only make up a small part of the country's economic power. In recent years it has become possible to grow cucumbers and broccoli in particular, for which only the word salad is used in the traditional language of the indigenous people . Potatoes have also been thriving in the bays of the southern tip for a number of years, but are currently still in trial cultivation. The main reason for the growth period in summer, which has been extended to 120 days, is primarily the climate change of the last 30 years with an increase in the annual average temperature (near Qaqortoq) of 1.3 degrees Celsius. The downside of climate change, however, is the melting ice on the fjords, which makes hunting more difficult.
On October 24, 2013, the Greenland Parliament voted 15 to 14 to lift a decade-old ban on the extraction of natural resources. By using uranium and rare earths , Greenland intends to generate income in the future that will increase the degree of financial independence. There were protests against the decision by nature conservationists, who see the extraction of raw materials under arctic conditions as a threat to livelihoods.
Greenland sees the development of its raw material deposits as an important part of its political independence. "We have to protect the Greenlanders' fundamental right of ownership of the country's resources and the right to control the land themselves," said the social democratic Greenlandic Prime Minister Enoksen in 2008. Under the Greenland ice there is an enormous wealth of natural resources such as Zinc and petroleum . Large deposits of undersea natural gas and oil have been located in the Arctic sea areas off Greenland . Due to climate change , the ice is partially melting and in many cases it is worthwhile to mine deposits that were previously fallow for reasons of cost.
In the summer of 2010, the British energy company Cairn Energy started drilling for oil up to 500 meters deep in the Greenland Arctic. The company found natural gas 175 kilometers off the west coast of Greenland in the so-called "Sigguk grid square" near Disko Bay and the Canadian Baffin Island. There she erects a drilling platform.
Nature conservation organizations see the drilling as an enormous threat to the Arctic ecosystem. In order to secure the drilling platforms, a great deal of technical effort must be made to prevent collisions with icebergs: Ships spray drift ice with liquids and tugs try to change the course of icebergs by tugging them. Greenpeace dispatched its arctic-ready ship Esperanza to monitor activities on the drilling platform. In the event of an accident such as a blowout at the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, the consequences would be even more uncontrollable. Since the sea area is covered by ice for half a year, a possible oil leak from the drilled holes cannot be combated between October and May. The oil cannot be picked up on the inaccessible Greenland coasts. In the cold water of Greenland, oil evaporates much more slowly than in the Gulf of Mexico. The local standby chief on the affected coast of Greenland said in 2010: “If something happens, we are lost. We couldn't do anything but watch. "
In addition to shipping, air traffic plays an important role. The largest airport is Kangerlussuaq (Søndre Strømfjord). International flights mainly go to Copenhagen , Denmark . Both Air Greenland and Air Iceland offer routes from Keflavík Airport in Iceland to several destinations in Greenland. Further airports are located in Narsarsuaq (near Narsaq , connections to Iceland and Denmark), Nuuk (connection to Iceland), Kulusuk (near Tasiilaq , connection to Iceland), and Nerlerit Inaat near Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund, connections to Iceland).
The Inuit have their own handicraft tradition; for example, they carve the tupilak . This Kalaallisut word means soul or spirit of a deceased and today describes a mostly no more than 20 centimeters tall, mostly carved from walrus ivory artificial figure with various, unusual shapes. This sculpture actually represents a mythical or spiritual being; but because of its grotesque appearance for Western viewing habits, it has usually become a mere collector's item. However, modern artisans still use native materials such as musk ox and sheep wool, seal fur, mussels, soapstone, reindeer antlers or gemstones.
The history of Greenlandic painting began with Aron von Kangeq , who depicted the old Greenlandic sagas and myths in his drawings and watercolors in the middle of the 19th century. In the 20th century, landscape and animal painting as well as printmaking and book illustrations developed, sometimes with expressive coloring. Kiistat Lund and Buuti Pedersen also became known abroad primarily for their landscapes . Anne-Birthe Hove chose themes from Greenlandic social life. There is a fine arts museum in Nuuk, the Nuuk Art Museum .
The drum is the traditional instrument in Greenland. The traditional drum dances were performed with her. A round drum ( qilaat ) in the form of a frame made of driftwood or walrus ribs covered with a polar bear bladder, polar bear stomach or walrus stomach was used. The drum was not drummed on the membrane, but on the frame from below with a stick. Simple melodies were also sung.
The drum dance used to have two functions: on the one hand, the drum was used to dispel fear on long, dark winter nights. The drum dancer made faces and tried to make the others laugh until all fear was forgotten.
Disputes were also carried out with the drum. If someone misbehaved, he was challenged with the drum. They met at certain, powerful places and alternately played the drum and sang to it. One tried to make the other as ridiculous as possible. With their laughter, the audience expressed who was the winner and who is to blame.
The drum could also be used by shamans for ritual evocations of spirits.
After the arrival of the missionaries in the 18th century, the drum dance (which is still popular with the Canadian Inuit today ) was banned as pagan-shamanistic and replaced by secular and church hymns with several voices. This choral singing is known today for its special sound. The hymns are partly of German origin due to the influence of the Moravian Brethren . Scandinavian, German and Scottish whalers brought the fiddle , the accordion and the polka ( kalattuut ) to Greenland, where they are now played along with complicated dance steps.
Greenland also has a remarkably modern musical culture. The first band to sing in Greenlandic was Sumé (Greenlandic where? ) In the 1970s . The most important bands are Nanook , Chilly Friday , Disko Democratic Republic and Siissisoq ( rock ) and Nuuk Posse ( hip-hop ), who also use the drum dance. The most famous songwriter is Angu Motzfeldt . The singer and actor Rasmus Lyberth also became internationally known .
In Greenland, 10 to 15 CDs are released every year with a circulation of up to 5000 copies.
Kalaallit Nunaata Radioa operates one television and one radio station on Greenland. There is also an additional 100 watt radio station in Nuuk which broadcasts Danmarks Radio ( DR P1 ) programs, where 90 percent of the Danish-speaking minority can hear it.
Despite the low population density, there is an abundance of media in Greenland. The Greenlandic radio and television association STTK owns a total of nine radio and eleven television stations. For example, Nuuk TV points out that with almost 4,000 households almost 75 percent of all households in the capital can be reached with 23 television and eight radio channels in digitally encrypted form. The private local television main program also broadcasts unencrypted digital and analog for the Nuuk region.
A Greenlandic film industry has been built up since 2009 and has also garnered some international attention.
Santa Claus from Greenland
According to the Danish Embassy in Germany every year thousands of letters reach the Christmas post office of Santa Claus in Greenland because many children believe in the world, Santa Claus live there. You can visit his house in summer. It is a short walk outside of the village of Uummannaq , below the striking Sealheart Mountain.
Despite the connection to Denmark, there is a Greenland national soccer team . Greenland is not yet a member of FIFA . Membership is sought, but CONCACAF , UEFA and FIFA are opposed to it. For years, the reason given was the lack of natural grass pitches. Since it has been allowed to play on artificial turf, the reason given is that FIFA only accepts sovereign states as members (however, with the Gibraltar Football Association , a new association from a non-sovereign area was accepted into FIFA in 2016). A number of dependent overseas territories, including the Faroese national soccer team , do not fall under this rule.
The word " kayak " is taken from the Inuktitut . The Inuit use "Qajaq" to refer to a boat that was originally constructed from whale bones, later from wooden struts and covered with seal skin. Unlike the umiak , the women's boat, the kayak was very narrow and adapted so precisely to the body of the person using it that the lower body remained protected from water and allowed the occupant to do the so-called Eskimo roll . The kayak was already used by the Thule people for hunting and fishing in summer. Even after canoes with outboard motors and even yachts have established themselves in the Arctic and largely displaced traditional kayaks and umiaks , kayaks are still used for reasons of tradition in remote regions such as Qaanaaq , Ittoqqortoormiit or in individual settlements of the municipality of Upernavik .
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