30 Interesting Facts about Greenland

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1Greenland

One reason why Greenland is considered the largest island and Australia a continent, not an island (even though it fits the definition of an island to be entirely surrounded by water) is because Greenland is part of the North American plate and Australia has its own separate tectonic plate.


2. Greenland has only one university, with 14 staff and 205 students (as of November 2020). It is so small because the Government pays for students to have a free university education anywhere in Europe or North America.


3. Greenland is called Greenland because Erik The Red who was exiled from Iceland wanted to give it a more interesting name than Iceland in order to attract settlers.


4. For centuries the Inuit people of northern Greenland have used metal knives and tools despite having no mines or smelting. They used enormous iron meteorites for their metal which American explorer Robert E. Peary ultimately stole.


5. Moriusaq, Greenland had a population of 3 in 2009. A case of self-defense dropped the population to 2 (father and a son) and now the population (as of November 2020) is 0.


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6Greenland territories

The names of the territories of Greenland translate to "much ice", "center", "south" and "darkness."


7. Greenland can't join FIFA because not enough grass grows there for a soccer field.


8. At a prison facility in Nuuk, Greenland some inmates reportedly hold the keys to their own cells (to afford them privacy), and others may leave the premises during the day to go to work or school. Perhaps surprisingly, inmates are even allowed to go hunting with rifles to shoot birds and seals.


9. Camp Century was a top-secret US military base built under the ice sheets of Greenland in 1960 to house missiles. Built under the cover of climate research, it housed 200 people and was powered by the world's first portable nuclear reactor. Denmark didn’t uncover the base’s existence until 1995.


10. Northeast Greenland National Park is bigger than Pakistan, Venezuela, or France, and only 30 countries are bigger. There are abundant polar bears, hares, foxes, caribou, and walruses, as well as almost half the world’s population of musk oxen, about 15,000 head.


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11Blok P

A building called Blok P once housed 1% of Greenland's population. It was advertised to tourists as "so depressing that it's almost an attraction in itself."


12. In 1982, the people of Greenland voted to leave the European Union which they did in 1985 and are still today not part of it.


13. Greenland, Ireland, New Zealand, and Iceland have one thing in common. None of them have a snake population.


14. In the winter of 1942 in Greenland, a plane crash-landed due to bad weather. In subsequent rescue efforts, 6 planes crashed, and survivors of the crashes spent up to 5.5 months taking shelter on a glacier waiting for help.


15. When all the ice on Greenland melts, the local sea level will actually drop because of the reduction in local gravity that was originally created by the sheer mass of the ice.


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16Qinngua Valley

The Qinngua Valley (Paradise Valley) in Greenland may have the mildest climate on the island. It is home to the island’s only true forest and over 300 species of plants. It also has an abandoned Viking farm that may be Brattahlid, an estate founded by Eric the Red whose son Leif Erikson set foot on North America approximately half a millennium before Christopher Columbus.


17. There is an Inuit tribe in Greenland who pack up to 500 birds in a hollowed-out seal body, bury it, let them ferment for seven months, and then eat (Kiviak) them during the harsh winters.


18. During the 12th century, Greenland was populated by three distinct ethnic groups. They were the Inuit, the Dorset people, and the Norse Greenlanders. By the end of the 15th century, only the Inuit were still there.


19. Ivittuut and Kangilinnguit are the only two cities in Greenland connected through a road.


20. Infrasound station IS18 located in Qaanaaq, Greenland is a highly specialized sensor array used to detect atomic blasts, earthquakes, and monitor the human heart in ballistocardiography.


21Nuuk

Nuuk in Greenland is the world’s northernmost capital, located only a few kilometers further north than the Icelandic capital Reykjavik.


22. In 1123, the people of Greenland asked King Sigurd of Norway to send them a bishop along with a polar bear as a gift to accompany their request.


23. The Greenland National Museum is based in an old warehouse and contains the Qilakitsoq mummies. The mummies consist of three women and a six-month-old child, half of the mummies found at Qilakitsoq.


24. Greenland has four distinct Time Zones that cross its boundaries but the country is broken up into UTC0, UTC-1, UTC-3, and UTC-4. UTC-2 is only used during daylight savings. UTC0 is outside the country but the weather station Danmarkshavn is set to European time for ease of reporting.


25. Greenlandic, the Inuit/Eskimo-Aleut language of Greenland, is polysynthetic, meaning that it uses stems and many suffixes to make long words where we would have a multi-word sentence: "Aliikusersuillammassuaanerartassagaluarpaalli" means "'However, they'll say that he's a great entertainer, but.."

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