|Anthem: "Nunarput utoqqarsuanngoravit" (Greenlandic)|
(English: "You Our Ancient Land")
|Kalaallit anthem: "Nuna asiilasooq" (Greenlandic)|
(English: "The Land of Great Length")[a]
Location of Greenland
|Sovereign state||Kingdom of Denmark|
|Union with Norway||1262|
|Cession to Denmark||14 January 1814|
|Home rule||1 May 1979|
|Further autonomy and self rule||21 June 2009|
and largest city
|Recognised languages||Danish, English and other languages if necessary[b]|
|Ethnic groups |
|Religion||Christianity (Church of Greenland)|
|Government||Devolved government within a parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Múte Bourup Egede|
|2,166,086 km2 (836,330 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
|Highest elevation||3,700 m (12,100 ft)|
• 2020 estimate
|0.028/km2 (0.1/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|$1.8 billion (not ranked)|
• Per capita
|HDI (2010)|| 0.786|
high · 61st
|Currency||Danish krone (DKK)|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 to UTC-04:00|
|ISO 3166 code||GL|
Greenland is an 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 is the least densely populated country in the world, with a density of 0.026 people per square kilometer. 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.
Greenland has been inhabited at intervals over at least the last 4,500 years by Arctic peoples. They came from what is now Canada. 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.
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. 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.
Until 2009, there were 20 communes in Greenland. Unless stated otherwise, they are in the district Kitaa:
- Ammassalik (District Tunu)
- Ittoqqortoormiit (District Tunu)
- Qaanaaq (District Avannaa).
This changed on January 1st, 2009, when these were merged into four large communes:
- Kommune Kujalleq (7.755 inhabitants)
- Qaasuitsup Kommunia (17.867)
- Qeqqata Kommunia (9.627) und
- Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq (20.998).
In addition, some parts of Greenland are outside a commune, namely:
As of January 1st, 2008, 218 people lived there.
- Nuna asiilasooq has equal status as a regional anthem but is generally used only on the self-government of Greenland.
- Greenlandic has been the sole official language of Greenland since 2009.
- 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.
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