autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark

Greenland is the world's largest island.[9][10][11][12][13]


Kalaallit Nunaat  (Greenlandic)
Grønland  (Danish)
Anthem: "Nunarput utoqqarsuanngoravit" (Greenlandic)
(English: "You Our Ancient Land")
Kalaallit anthem: "Nuna asiilasooq" (Greenlandic)
(English: "The Land of Great Length")[a]
Location of Greenland
Location of Greenland
Location of  Greenland  (red) in the Kingdom of Denmark  (red and beige)
Location of  Greenland  (red)

in the Kingdom of Denmark  (red and beige)

Sovereign stateKingdom of Denmark
Union with Norway1262
Danish-Norwegian recolonization1721
Cession to Denmark14 January 1814
Home rule1 May 1979
Further autonomy and self rule21 June 2009[2][3]
and largest city
64°10′N 51°44′W / 64.167°N 51.733°W / 64.167; -51.733
Official languagesGreenlandic[b]
Recognised languagesDanish, English and other languages if necessary[b]
Ethnic groups
Christianity (Church of Greenland)
  • Greenlander
  • Greenlandic
GovernmentDevolved government within a parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Margrethe II
Mikaela Engell
• Premier
Kim Kielsen
Vivian Motzfeldt
• Total
2,166,086 km2 (836,330 sq mi)
• Water (%)
Highest elevation
3,700 m (12,100 ft)
• 2020 estimate
56,081[6] (210th)
• Density
0.028/km2 (0.1/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2011 estimate
• Total
$1.8 billion[7] (not ranked)
• Per capita
$37,000 (40-th)
HDI (2010)Increase 0.786[8]
high · 61st
CurrencyDanish krone (DKK)
Time zoneUTC±00:00 to UTC-04:00
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+299
Postal codes
ISO 3166 codeGL
Geography of Greenland
The bedrock under the ice
Sermeq Kujatdlek Glacier at West Coast

Greenland is a semi-autonomous territory of the kingdom of Denmark. This large Arctic island is near Iceland to the east and Canada to the west. It has a population of only 50,000 people, limited by its cold climate. Most of the civilian population lives in the southern part of the island, on the coasts. The capital of Greenland is Nuuk.

The island is democratic, with its own elections and a representative seat of government in Nuuk. It is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, a constitutional monarchy with Queen Margrethe II as head of state.

The island's Thule Air Base is under Danish control, but is administered by the United States Air Force.[14]

The island is the least densely populated country in the world, with a density of 0.026 people per square kilometer.[15][16][17] Antarctica is not counted because it is not an independent country and has no permanent inhabitants. The ice sheet that covers Greenland may hide three separate islands, which have been joined by glaciers since the last geologic ice age.[18][19][20][21]

In Greenland, there are no forests. In the south, at the coastal area, only some dwarf trees are found.[22]


Greenland has been inhabited at intervals over at least the last 4,500 years by Arctic peoples. They came from what is now Canada.[23][24] Norsemen settled the uninhabited southern part of Greenland beginning in the 10th century, having previously settled Iceland.

Norsemen would later set sail from Greenland and Iceland with Leif Erikson. They were the first known Europeans to reach North America. They did so nearly 500 years before Columbus reached the Caribbean islands. Inuit peoples arrived in Greenland in the 13th century. Though under continuous influence of Norway and Norwegians, Greenland was not formally under the Norwegian crown until 1261. Their colonies declined after the Black Death in the late 1400s. Denmark–Norway, joined in alliance at the time, reclaimed sovereignty over the island in the 17th century. Greenland became Danish in 1814.[25]


The island is populated mostly by Inuit and Scandinavians who speak Greenlandic, an Eskimo-Aleut language. Danish is also spoken by most people. The national anthem of Greenland is Nunarput utoqqarsuanngoravit. Greenlandic became the sole official language in June 2009.[26] However, it is the dialect of western Greenland, leaving other dialects to become less used and endangered. Danish is used in practice by professional people and by many of the Inuit population. English is taught in schools from the first year onwards.[27]

Administrative divisionsEdit

The administrative division of Greenland

Until 2009, there were 20 communes in Greenland. Unless stated otherwise, they are in the district Kitaa:

This changed on January 1st, 2009, when these were merged into four large communes:

In addition, some parts of Greenland are outside a commune, namely:

As of January 1st, 2008, 218 people lived there.[28]


The island has many mountains. All of the cities are on the coast, because everywhere else is covered by a big layer of ice.[29] The major cities are Nuuk, Sisimiut, Ilulissat, and Qaqortoq.

Related pagesEdit


  1. Nuna asiilasooq has equal status as a regional anthem but is generally used only on the self-government of Greenland.[1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 Greenlandic has been the sole official language of Greenland since 2009.[2][4]
  3. As of 2000: 410,449 km2 (158,475 sq mi) ice-free; 1,755,637 km2 (677,855 sq mi) ice-covered.
    Density: 0.14/km2 (0.36 /sq. mi) for ice-free areas.


  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. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 (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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. (in Danish) Law of Greenlandic Selfrule Archived 8 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine (see chapter 7)
  5. Cite error: The named reference cia-factbook was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).
  6. "Population and Population Growth 1901-2020". Statistical Greenland. Retrieved 7 April 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. Greenland in Figures 2013 (PDF). Greenland in Figures. Statistics Greenland. ISBN 978-87-986787-7-9. ISSN 1602-5709. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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. "Greenland from Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World: Locations". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 29 August 2011. Check date values in: |year= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. "Greenland from McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 29 August 2011. Check date values in: |year= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. "Greenland from The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Geography". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 29 August 2011. Check date values in: |year= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. Joshua Calder's World Island Info
  13. CIA World Factbook
  14. "Qaasuitsup kommunia". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  15. "The 2008 Revision Population Database". 2009-03-11. Archived from the original on 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2010-09-06. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division. "World Population Prospects, Table A.1" (.PDF). 2008 revision. United Nations. Retrieved on 12 March 2009.
  17. World POPClock Projection at 18:42, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
  18. New York Times The Warming of Greenland
  19. Ellensburg Daily Record (Google News) Greenland Icecap bridges three islands
  20. Los Angeles Times "Greenland's Ice Sheet is slip-sliding away"
  21. From the map of the bedrock: if, as the ice melted, the sea rose 50 metres, then Greenland would definitely be three islands.
  22. "Greenland - Credo Reference Topic". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 29 August 2011. Check date values in: |year= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. "Saqqaq-kulturen kronologi". National Museum of Denmark. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. 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 Genetics. 67 (3): 718–26. doi:10.1086/303038. PMC 1287530. PMID 10924403.
  25. Sowa F. 2014. Greenland. In: Hund A. Antarctica and the Arctic Circle: a geographic encyclopedia of the Earth's polar regions. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, pp. 312–316.
  26. "Danish doubts over Greenland vote". BBC News. 27 November 2008. Archived from the original on 7 December 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  27. "Travelling in Greenland". Greenland Representation to the EU, Greenland Home Rule Government. Archived from the original on 16 May 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  28. "KANUKOKA". Archived from the original on 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  29. Barringer, Felicity. "Scientists Want Publisher to Refreeze Greenland," New York Times. September 24, 2011.

Other websitesEdit