Greenland is situated between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, to the northeast of Canada. Geographically it is considered to be a part of North America, but is politically and culturally associated with Europe. Covering an area of 2,166,086 sq. km, it lies between 72° 00’ N latitude and 40° 00' W longitude. Greenland stretches a coastline of 44,087 km, inhabiting a population of 56,370(2013), which is the sparsely populated in the world. It is the 12th largest country in the world, but is not a continent.
As most of its land is covered with ice, the land of Greenland is mountainous, barren and rocky. The temperature in Greenland is low throughout the year. The summers are cool and the winters are cold. The average daily temperature of its capital city, Nuuk, is from -8°C to 7°C. However, the only month with a temperature of 0°C is July. As the country stretches its coastline to the open sea, the weather is humid. Due to the volcanic activities, there are many hot springs in Greenland. The hottest spring in Greenland is on Uunartoq which is around 60°C.
Originally, the land of Greenland was settled by the inhabitants of the Inuit culture. They called it as ‘Kalaalit Nunaat’ which means ‘the land of the people’. However, a Norse explorer sailed from Iceland to Kalaalit Nunaat in 982 C.E. He spent three years farming on the plot and in order to attract more settlements, he gave the discovered land a pleasant name and called it ‘Greenland’.
The official language of Greenlanders is Greenlandic and Danish. Greenlandic was spoken by the early Inuits. Out of the three main dialects of Greenlandic, the official Greenlandic language is Kalallisut. English is used as a second language.
Majority of the Greenlanders practice Christianity. The prevailing religion is Protestantism and is associated with the Lutheran Church, the national church of Denmark. However, the traditional Inuit communities practice a wide range of rituals from their ancestors.
The typical diet of Greenland consists of fish, vegetables, potatoes, canned foods, seal and polar meat, etc. The nourishing and healthy soup, ‘Suaasat’, is generally cooked in many households in Greenland. The non-vegetarian ingredients include onions, potatoes and rice. Another famous special dish of Greenland is the ‘Barbequed Caribou’ which is prepared with a mixture of sliced Caribou, sliced onion, salt, vinegar, soya sauce, ketchup, paprika, chilli powder, brown sugar and water. A peculiar custom in Greenland is that one cannot give tips in the restaurants.
Football is the national sport in Greenland. Though it is not a member of FIFA due to some disagreements for the regulation of grass pitches, it is the 17th member of N.F Board. Greenland actively participates in various island games as well as World Men’s Handball Championship held in Germany.
Greenland enjoys relatively similar economic features as that of Europe. Being the largest island in the world, it is dependent economically on the exports of shrimp and fish and subsidy from the Danish Government. The development of the public sector dominates the economy of Greenland. Hunting and Agriculture are useful in the local markets. Approximately, 10% of the workforce is directly or indirectly indulged in hunting. Another flourishing industry in Greenland is Tourism. This is because of the increasing number of cruise lines in the western and southern waters. The major imports include machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food and petroleum products. Its main trading partners are Denmark, Japan, China, Sweden and Norway.