North America :: Greenland
(part of the Kingdom of Denmark)
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Greenland
Location of Greenland
 
Map of Greenland
Introduction ::Greenland
Greenland, the world's largest island, is about 81% ice-capped. Vikings reached the island in the 10th century from Iceland; Danish colonization began in the 18th century, and Greenland was made an integral part of Denmark in 1953. It joined the European Community (now the EU) with Denmark in 1973, but withdrew in 1985 over a dispute centered on stringent fishing quotas. Greenland was granted self-government in 1979 by the Danish parliament; the law went into effect the following year. Greenland voted in favor of increased self-rule in November 2008 and acquired complete responsibilty for internal affairs in June 2009. Denmark, however, continues to exercise control of Greenland's foreign affairs, security, and financial policy in consultation with Greenland's Home Rule Government.
Geography ::Greenland
Northern North America, island between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada
72 00 N, 40 00 W
total: 2,166,086 sq km
country comparison to the world: 13
land: 2,166,086 sq km (410,449 sq km ice-free, 1,755,637 sq km ice-covered)
slightly more than three times the size of Texas
0 km
44,087 km
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
arctic to subarctic; cool summers, cold winters
flat to gradually sloping icecap covers all but a narrow, mountainous, barren, rocky coast
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunnbjorn 3,700 m
coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, molybdenum, diamonds, gold, platinum, niobium, tantalite, uranium, fish, seals, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
NA
continuous permafrost over northern two-thirds of the island
protection of the arctic environment; preservation of the Inuit traditional way of life, including whaling and seal hunting
dominates North Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe; sparse population confined to small settlements along coast; close to one-quarter of the population lives in the capital, Nuuk; world's second largest ice cap
People ::Greenland
57,600 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
0-14 years: 23% (male 6,727/female 6,533)
15-64 years: 70.1% (male 21,696/female 18,669)
65 years and over: 6.9% (male 2,000/female 1,975) (2009 est.)
total: 33.5 years
male: 34.9 years
female: 31.9 years (2009 est.)
0.062% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
14.76 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
8.14 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
-5.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
urban population: 84% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.16 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.12 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 10.72 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 151
male: 12.26 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 70.07 years
country comparison to the world: 143
male: 67.44 years
female: 72.85 years (2009 est.)
2.19 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
NA
100 (1999)
country comparison to the world: 164
NA
noun: Greenlander(s)
adjective: Greenlandic
Greenlander 88% (Inuit and Greenland-born whites), Danish and others 12% (2000)
Evangelical Lutheran
Greenlandic (East Inuit) (official), Danish, English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2001 est.)
NA
Government ::Greenland
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Greenland
local long form: none
local short form: Kalaallit Nunaat
part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1979
parliamentary democracy within a constitutional monarchy
name: Nuuk (Godthab)
geographic coordinates: 64 11 N, 51 45 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: Greenland is divided into four time zones
3 districts (landsdele); Avannaa (Nordgronland), Tunu (Ostgronland), Kitaa (Vestgronland)
note: there are 18 municipalities in Greenland
none (extensive self-rule as part of the Kingdom of Denmark; foreign affairs is the responsibility of Denmark, but Greenland actively participates in international agreements relating to Greenland)
June 21 (longest day)
(November 2008) Act on Greenland Self Government
the laws of Denmark, where applicable, apply
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Soren MOLLER (since April 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Kuupik KLEIST (since 12 June 2009)
cabinet: Home Rule Government is elected by the Parliament (Landsting) on the basis of the strength of parties
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; prime minister is elected by parliament (usually the leader of the majority party)
election results: Kuupik KLEIST elected prime minister
unicameral Parliament or Landsting (31 seats; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 2 June 2009 (next to be held by 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - Inuit Ataqatigiit 43.7%, Siumut 26.5%, Demokratiit 12.7%, Atassut 10.9%; Kattusseqatigiit 3.8%, other 2.4%; seats by party - IA 14, Siumut 9, Demokraatiit 4, Atassut 3, Kattusseqatigiit 1
note: two representatives were elected to the Danish Parliament or Folketing on 13 November 2007 (next to be held in November 2011); percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Siumut 1, Inuit Ataqatigiit 1
High Court or Landsret (appeals can be made to the Ostre Landsret or Eastern Division of the High Court or Supreme Court in Copenhagen)
Atassut Party (Solidarity) [Finn KARLSEN] (a conservative party favoring continuing close relations with Denmark); Demokratiit [Per BERTHELSEN]; Inuit Ataqatigiit or IA (Eskimo Brotherhood) [Josef MOTZFELDT] (a leftist party favoring complete independence from Denmark rather than home rule); Kattusseqatigiit (Candidate List) (an independent right-of-center party with no official platform); Siumut (Forward Party) [Hans ENOKSEN] (a social democratic party advocating more distinct Greenlandic identity and greater autonomy from Denmark)
other: conservationists; environmentalists
Arctic Council, NC, NIB, UPU
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a large disk slightly to the hoist side of center - the top half of the disk is red, the bottom half is white; the design represents the sun reflecting off a field of ice; the colors are the same as those of the Danish flag and symbolize Greenland's links to the Kingdom of Denmark
Economy ::Greenland
The economy remains critically dependent on exports of shrimp and fish and on a substantial subsidy - about $700 million in 2008-09 - from the Danish Government, which supplies about 60% of government revenues. The public sector, including publicly-owned enterprises and the municipalities, plays the dominant role in the economy. Several interesting hydrocarbon and mineral exploration activities are ongoing and in 2007 a US firm signed an agreement with the Greenland Home Rule government to study the feasibility of building a multi-billion dollar aluminum smelter and hydropower plant. Denmark plans to reduce its subsidies to Greenland as revenues from oil exports come onstream.
$1.1 billion (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
$1.7 billion (2005)
2% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
$20,000 (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
32,120 (2004)
country comparison to the world: 195
9.3% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
NA%
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: $1.36 billion
expenditures: $1.27 billion (2005)
1% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
forage crops, garden and greenhouse vegetables; sheep, reindeer; fish
fish processing (mainly shrimp and Greenland halibut); gold, niobium, tantalite, uranium, iron and diamond mining; handicrafts, hides and skins, small shipyards
NA%
325 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
302.3 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
4,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
149.5 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
4,172 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 170
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
$480 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 163
fish and fish products 94% (prawns 63%) (2001 est.)
Denmark 64.4%, Japan 11.2%, Canada 4.9%, China 4.1% (2008)
$712 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 181
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, petroleum products
Denmark 59%, Sweden 20.8%, Norway 4.6%, UK 4.4% (2008)
$25 million (1999)
country comparison to the world: 196
Danish kroner (DKK) per US dollar - 5.0236 (2008 est.), 5.4797 (2007), 5.9468 (2006), 5.9969 (2005), 5.9911 (2004)
Communications ::Greenland
22,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 189
55,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 191
general assessment: adequate domestic and international service provided by satellite, cables and microwave radio relay; totally digitalized in 1995
domestic: microwave radio relay and satellite
international: country code - 299; satellite earth stations - 15 (12 Intelsat, 1 Eutelsat, 2 Americom GE-2 (all Atlantic Ocean)) (2000)
AM 5, FM 14, shortwave 0 (2008)
1 (plus some local low-power stations, and 3 American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) stations (1997)
.gl
14,134 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 111
36,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 177
Transportation ::Greenland
15 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 146
total: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 6 (2009)
total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2009)
note: although there are short roads in towns, there are no roads between towns; inter-urban transport takes place either by sea or air (2005)
total: 2
country comparison to the world: 144
by type: cargo 1, passenger 1 (2008)
Sisimiut
Military ::Greenland
no regular military forces
males age 16-49: 15,221 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 10,809
females age 16-49: 11,437 (2009 est.)
male: 532
female: 491 (2009 est.)
defense is the responsibility of Denmark
Transnational Issues ::Greenland
managed dispute between Canada and Denmark over Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland