Senin, 24 Mei 2010

Greenland

Having posted a blog about Copenhagen a few days ago I thought I'd follow it up with another, and little known part of Denmark - Greenland. In terms of area, Greenland technically makes Denmark one of the world's biggest countries, though we don't think of it in those terms. I haven't been to Greenland but I have flown over it, and it was the only time I've seen great icebergs floating around the shores.
Some of the photographs here show that Greenland has a beauty of it's own - even this aerial picture from Nasa is extraordinary:


Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically associated with Europe (specifically Denmark-Norway) for about a millennium.



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. The nearest countries are Iceland, east of Greenland in the Atlantic Ocean, and Canada, to the west across Baffin Bay. Greenland also contains the world's largest national park, and is the largest dependent territory by area in the world. However, since the 1950s, scientists have postulated that the ice sheet covering the country may actually conceal three separate island land masses that have been bridged by glaciers over the last geologic cooling period.



Greenland is, by area, the world's largest island that is not a continent. It is the least densely populated country in the world. It has a population of 57,600 (July 2009 estimate), of whom 88% are Inuit or mixed Danish and Inuit. The remaining 12% are of European descent, mainly Danish. The majority of the population is Evangelical Lutheran. Nearly all Greenlanders live along the fjords in the south-west of the main island, which has a relatively mild climate. Approximately 15,000 Greenlanders reside in Nuuk, the capital city.

 Native Inuit photographed in 1917




All towns and settlements of Greenland are situated along the ice-free coast, with the population being concentrated along the west coast. The northeastern part of Greenland is not part of any municipality, but is the site of the world's largest national park, Northeast Greenland National Park.


About 81% of Greenland's surface is covered by the Greenland ice sheet. The weight of the ice has depressed the central land area into a basin shape, whose base lies more than 300 metres (984 ft) below the surrounding ocean. Elevations rise suddenly and steeply near the coast.


In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, with a relationship known in Danish as Rigsf├Žllesskabet (Commonwealth of the Realm), and in 2008 Greenland voted to transfer more competencies to the local government. This became effective the following year, with the Danish royal government remaining in charge only of foreign affairs, security and financial policy.

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