Greenland is an autonomous country which belongs to the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland lies between the Arctic and the Atlantic oceans. The physiographical position of the island country is such that it is a part of North America, but politically it is associated with Denmark-Norway in Europe for close to a millennium now.
Greenland has two main records to its credit – it is area wise the world’s largest island (which is not a continent) and it is also the least densely populated country in the world.
The capital and the largest city in Greenland is Nuuk. The official language of the country is Greenlandic.
Geography and climate.
The temperatures prevalent in Greenland for most of the year are extremely cold, to say the least. The average annual temperatures vary from -9 degrees Celsius (16 degrees Fahrenheit) to 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit). All four sides if Greenland are bordered by oceans, bays and seas. To the south east there is the Atlantic Ocean; the east has the Greenland Sea; there is the Arctic Ocean in the north; while the Baffin Bay borders Greenland in the West.
The population of Greenland is mostly concentrated in areas where there isn’t much of ice cover, which is only seen near coasts. Most of the population is concentrated along the west coast of the country. 81 % of Greenland’s surface is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, the weight of which has depressed the central portion of the island into a basin shape.
The main source of income of the country is fishing and fish exports. Among these, the shrimp industry is the largest contributor to the country’s economy. In Greenland, there has been a shift in focus towards production of minerals, oil and mining. For these purposes, companies such as NUNAOIL, NUNAMINERAL etc. have been formed and registered at the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.
Languages and literacy.
Home Rule was established in the island country in 1979 and since then, Greenlandic and Danish have been used in almost equal measure in public affairs in the country. However, Greenlandic is the sole official language. English is spoken as a third langauge after Greenlandic (first) and Danish (second). Greenland has a 100 % literacy rate.
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The best way to reach Greenland is by air. There is good air transportation system within the island country as well as between itself and other countries. There are some sea route services as well, but they don’t match air transportation in terms of ease and frequency.
The main airport in the country is Kangerlussuaq Airport on the west coast. However, it is mainly for domestic flights. For intercontinental and international flights, Copenhagen airport is usually used. In July 2009, Air Iceland began operating a twice-weekly Keflavik-Llulissat flight. Some other international routes are Narsarsuaq-Copenhagen, Kulusuk-Reykjavik and Nuuk-Keflavik.
Arctic Umiaq Line operates ship transportation of passengers to and from Greenland. The voyage is once a week and the time required is 80 hours per side.