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Facts about Greenland For Kids

Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the CanadianArctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for more than a millennium.

  • In 2008, the people of Greenland supported a referendum on greater autonomy by 75%.
  • With the Constitution of Denmark of 1953, Greenland became a part of the Danish Realm in a relationship known in Danish as Commonwealth of the Realm.
  • In 1979 Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, and in 2008 Greenland voted to transfer more power from the Danish royal government to the local Greenlandic government.
  • From around 2500 BC to 800 BC, southern and western Greenland was inhabited by the Saqqaq culture.
  • Around 800 BC, the Saqqaq culture disappeared and the Early Dorset culture emerged in western Greenland and the Independence II culture in northern Greenland.
  • The Dorset culture was the first culture to extend throughout the Greenlandic coastal areas, both on the west and east coasts, and it lasted until the total onset of the Thule culture in 1500 AD.
  • From 986 AD, Greenland’s west coast was colonized by Icelanders and Norwegians in two settlements on fjords near the southwestern-most tip of the island.
  • Norse Greenlanders submitted to Norwegian rule in the 13th century, and the kingdom of Norway entered into a personal union with Denmark in 1380 and from 1397 was a part of the Kalmar Union.
  • Similarly the Icelandic Book of Settlements records famines during the winters in which “the old and helpless were killed and thrown over cliffs”.
  • (Arnold 2010) These Icelandic settlements vanished during the 14th and 15th centuries, probably as a result of famine and increasing conflicts with the Inuit.
  • The expeditions were mostly unsuccessful, partly due to leaders lacking experience with the difficult arctic ice and weather conditions, and partly because the expedition leaders were given instructions to search for the Eastern Settlement on the east coast of Greenland just north of Cape Farewell, which is almost inaccessible due to southward drifting ice.
  • On April 8, 1941, the United States occupied Greenland in order to defend it against a possible invasion by Germany.
  • In 1985, Greenland left the European Economic Community (EEC) upon achieving self-rule, in view of the EEC’s commercial fishing regulations and an EEC ban on seal skin products.
  • The Atlantic Ocean borders Greenland’s southeast; the Greenland Sea is to the east; the Arctic Ocean is to the north; and Baffin Bay is to the west.
  • Greenland also contains the world’s largest national park, and is the world’s largest island and the largest dependent territory by area in the world.
  • The weight of the ice sheet has depressed the central land area to form a basin lying more than 984 ft below sea level, while elevations rise suddenly and steeply near the coast.
  • 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.
  • Today Greenlandic culture is a blending of traditional Inuit and Scandinavian culture.