Greenland

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Group.png Greenland   SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Greenland in the Kingdom of Denmark (globe zoom).png
Flag of Greenland.svg
LocationNorth America, Nordics
LeaderDenmark/Prime Minister
Typenation state
Greenland is the world's largest island and a self-governing territory of Denmark.

Greenland is the world's largest island located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. It is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe (specifically Norway and Denmark, the colonial powers, as well as the nearby island of Iceland) for more than a millennium.

Population

The majority of its residents are Inuit, whose ancestors migrated from Alaska through Northern Canada, gradually settling across the island by the 13th century. They are concentrated mainly on the southwest coast, while the rest of the island is sparsely populated. Greenland is divided into five municipalities – Sermersooq, Kujalleq, Qeqertalik, Qeqqata, and Avannaata. It has two unincorporated areas – the Northeast Greenland National Park and the Thule Air Base. The latter, while under Danish control, is administered by the United States Air Force. Three-quarters of Greenland is covered by the only permanent ice sheet outside of Antarctica. With a population of 56,081 (2020), it is the least densely populated region in the world. About a third of the population lives in Nuuk, the capital and largest city; the second-largest city in terms of population is Sisimiut, 320 kilometres (200 mi) north of Nuuk. The Arctic Umiaq Line ferry acts as a lifeline for western Greenland, connecting the various cities and settlements.

U.S. military base

During the Cold War, the Arctic became ground zero for U.S. communications and surveillance operations designed to thwart a Soviet attack from the north. When the Cold War was over, military sites were abandoned and left to decay on the Arctic tundra. Contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), petroleum, radioactive waste and solvents, they still pose a toxic threat to local ecosystems. Krista Mahr writing for Frontline (PBS) in 2004, said that the U.S. signed a new pact allowing "a $260 million upgrade of the early warning radar system at the American military base at Thule, Greenland. It is part of the Bush administration's plan to implement the controversial SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative), or "Star Wars" antimissile defense system." [1]

The Thule Affair

In 1997, the Danish journalist Poul Brink exposed the Thule affair, how the Greenlandic and Danish people were lied to by Danish Prime Minster H.C Hansen, who in a secret letter allowed American nuclear weapons at the Thule base in Greenland despite the official Danish no nuclear weapons policy, and how the Danish and American governments covered the circumstances surrounding the Thule accident, where a US nuclear-armed B-52 bomber crashed near the Thule base in 1968, severely poisoning the cleanup crew with radiation. Poul Brink was harassed for many years and charged for having published confidential documents from the Thule case.

US interest in taking over

Following World War II, the United States developed a geopolitical interest in Greenland, and in 1946 the United States offered to buy the island from Denmark for $100,000,000. Denmark refused to sell it.[2][3] Historically this repeated an interest by Secretary of State William H. Seward. In 1867 he worked with former senator Robert J. Walker to explore the possibility of buying Greenland and perhaps Iceland. Opposition in Congress ended this project.[4]

In the 21st century, the United States, according to WikiLeaks, remains interested in investing in the resource base of Greenland and in tapping hydrocarbons off the Greenlandic coast.[5][6] In August 2019, the American president Donald Trump again proposed to buy the country, prompting premier Kim Kielsen to issue the statement, "Greenland is not for sale and cannot be sold, but Greenland is open for trade and cooperation with other countries – including the United States."[7]

In 2020, the US administration announcef the opening of an Agency for International Development office at the new US consulate in the capital, Nuuk, and at least $12m (£9.7m) in aid projects.[8]

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References