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Table of Contents
Though Greenland is geographically closer and technically a part of the North American continent, its culture and relations tie closer to Europe. This is because Greenland is an autonomous country under the Danish government!
See the fact file below for more information on Greenland or alternatively, you can download our 31-page Greenland worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Greenland, as you can see, is most definitely white, so that begs the question: Why Greenland? According to the Icelandic Sagas, Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland due to murder. When he and his family explored the land, he named it “Greenland” to make it attractive to possible settlers.
- Greenland is home to Inuit settlers, and these people named the island Inuit Nunaat which means “land of the Inuits.” In recent years, however, people adopted the name Kalaallit Nunaat, which means “land of the Greenlanders.”
- 2500 BCE to 1200 – The Inuit crosses into Greenland from the Canadian Arctic Islands in a series of migrations. Each wave represented different cultures,
- 1100 CE – Thule Culture thrives
- 12th and 12th Century – Inugsuk Culture
- 982 CE – 986 CE – Erik the Red’s settlement and expeditions into Greenland.
- 13th Century – The Scandinavian settlers and the Thule people made contact.
- 14th – 15th Century – Scandinavian Settlers Start to decline and die out.
- 1721CE – Hans Egede establishes a trading company and Lutheran mission on present-day Nuuk under the permission Of the United Kingdom of Denmark – Norway.
- 1776 – the 1950s – Denmark closed Greenland’s borders and traded with it exclusively. During World War II, Greenland fell under the protection of the United States. Greenland was handed back to Denmark in 1945.
- May 1, 1978 – Greenland was granted home rule.
- 2004 – Greenland campaigned for greater autonomy following controversies regarding the U.S.-owned Thule Air Base. Inuit people filed for the right to return.
- November 2008 – Greenlanders vote in a referendum, with an overwhelming 75% favoring increased autonomy.
- Greenland is massive, so huge that it’s the world’s largest island that isn’t a continent. The land Greenland occupies spans 2,670 km from North to South and 1,050 from East to West. All in all, Greenland covers about 2,166,086 sq. km. of land. Despite its impressive size, over 80% of this total landmass is unfit for human habitation. That is why 2 out of 3 people in Greenland live in its Southwestern region.
- Greenland’s most notable geographical feature is the Greenland Ice Sheet which is only second to Antarctica in size. It’s 3000 meters at its thickest point. Long and narrow fjords transition into the mild climate of the coastline at the glacier’s edge, the most famous of which is the Ilulissat Ice Fjord.
- Although the island of Greenland itself is large, the number of people living on it is small. Greenland is home to 56,950 people, and most of those live in the capital city of Nuuk. The northern coastal areas north of 64°N and eastern coastal regions are sparsely populated.
- If you’re having trouble comprehending the size of Greenland, it’s slightly more significant than the countries of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom combined.
- Greenland has 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but unlike most heritage sites recognized by UNESCO, the sites Greenland has to offer cover vast areas of land.
- Ilulissat Ice Fjord was the first UNESCO World Heritage site for Greenland. It’s located on the west coastline of Greenland. The most active and famous glacier is Sermeq Kujalleq.
- Kujataa is the second UNESCO Heritage site for Greenland. It’s a cultural heritage site with a history that dates back to the 10th century. UNESCO classifies it as an “organically developed” cultural landscape.
- Aasivissuit – Nipisat is Greenland’s third UNESCO Heritage site. Similar to Kujataa, it’s a cultural landscape that’s been developed for over 4000 years of human activity. Archaeological sites that depict early Inuit cultures can be seen on this site. Due to its position near the Arctic Circle, Greenland experiences two unique phenomena: the Midnight Sun and Polar Darkness
- Midnight Sun occurs from late May to late July every year, where the sun never sets for those above the Arctic Circle.
- Polar Darkness is the opposite of Midnight Sun. A period of total darkness wherein little to almost no sunlight appears in the sky. Both of these can disrupt the body clocks of people who experience it.
- Eternal Twilight happens when the sun never entirely comes up but never goes down either, making it seem like it’s early morning or late afternoon throughout the day. The city of Nuuk is the world’s most northerly capital.
- Kangerlussuaq is the only landlocked town in Greenland. Greenland’s road network is non-existent, with most roads confined to the city itself.
- Sermeq Kujalleq is the most active glacier in the Northern Hemisphere.
- If the Greenland Ice Sheet is to melt completely, sea levels will rise 7 meters.
- The majority of Greenland’s population is comprised of the Inuit people, making up almost 90% of the total population. These people classify themselves into three sub-categories: Kalaallit (West Greenlanders), Inugguit (from Thule district), or Iit (East Greenlanders). The remaining 10% are Danish, most born in Denmark. The dominant religion in Greenland is Evangelical Lutheranism.
- A large portion of the Greenlandic people is bilingual or trilingual. The official languages of Greenland are Kalaallisut (West Greenlandic) and Danish. The other Inuit languages used to fall under the “Greenlandic” umbrella term. The other widely used languages are the Tunumiit (East Greenlandic) and Inuktun, or Avanersuarmiutut (Polar, or Northern, Greenlandic). Smaller groups speak other variants of the Inuit language. Some of these languages are tagged by UNESCO as endangered, and there is an active effort to preserve some of these endangered languages, specifically the Tunumiit language.
- Though these languages fall under the Inuit language family, it’s important to note that these variants are almost indiscernible to speakers of the other languages.
- The government of Greenland precedes all domestic affairs on the island. The head of the Greenlandic government is the Naalakkersuisut Siulittaasuat or the “Premier” (Prime Minister). Cabinet members are called Naalakkersuisut (Ministers), and the parliament is called Inatsisartut (Legislators), which is composed of 31 legislators.
- The official head of state is the Queen Margrethe II of Denmark; however, like most present-day monarchs, her role is ceremonial only. The leading political parties in Greenland include the Siumut party, Demokratiit party, and the Inuit Ataqatigiit.
- Other members of the government include two representatives for the Danish parliament (Folketing) and a Danish appointed high commissioner.
- The economy of Greenland heavily relies on its fishing industry, with 90% of that country’s total exports being fish, shrimp, and canning seafood. Several ore deposits have been discovered and mined throughout the 20th Century, and the melting of ice caps served to open up possible exploitation of these sites. This has become a pivotal issue in the 21st century. Due to the instability of these industries, Greenland’s government focused on its tourism industry to diversify its economy.
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Greenland across 31 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Greenland which is an autonomous country under the Danish government.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Greenland Facts
- Total Recall
- Name That Map!
- The Fjord Hunt!
- Exploring Greenland
- Organ-ice-ation Sheet
- Dusk Till Dawn
- Fill in the Facts!
- Choices Choices
- Show Me the Money!
- Thinking Back
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the people that live in Greenland?
The majority of Greenland’s population is comprised of the Inuit people, making up almost 90% of the total population. These people classify themselves into three sub-categories: Kalaallit (West Greenlanders), Inugguit (from Thule district), or Iit (East Greenlanders). The remaining 10% are Danish, most born in Denmark. The dominant religion in Greenland is Evangelical Lutheranism.
What language is spoken in Greenland?
A large portion of the Greenlandic people is bilingual or trilingual. The official languages of Greenland are Kalaallisut (West Greenlandic) and Danish. The other Inuit languages used to fall under the “Greenlandic” umbrella term. The other widely used languages are the Tunumiit (East Greenlandic) and Inuktun, or Avanersuarmiutut (Polar, or Northern, Greenlandic). Smaller groups speak other variants of the Inuit language. Some of these languages are tagged by UNESCO as endangered, and there is an active effort to preserve some of these endangered languages, specifically the Tunumiit language. Though these languages fall under the Inuit language family, it’s important to note that these variants are almost indiscernible to speakers of the other languages.
Why is it called Greenland?
According to the Icelandic Sagas, Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland due to murder. When he and his family explored the land, he named it “Greenland” to make it attractive to possible settlers.
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Link will appear as Greenland Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 18, 2022
Use With Any Curriculum
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