1. World Map/
  2. North America/
  3. Greenland/
  4. Greenland Timeline

Greenland History Timeline

  • (2500BC-800BC) The Saqqaq people, the earliest known culture in southern Greenland, thrived over this period
  • (982) Greenland discovered by the Erik the Red
  • (986) Erik the Red returns to Greenland with settlers
  • (1000) Leif Eriksson, the son of Erik the Red, departs Greenland on his journey to the north-east coast of North America. He made it to Newfoundland, 500 years before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue
  • (1006) Thorfinn Karlsefni arrived in Greenland
  • (1500) King Manuel I of Portugal sent Gaspar Corte-Real to Greenland in search of a Northwest Passage to Asia
  • (1600) Viking settlements in Greenland vanish; Inuit peoples remain
  • (1721) Danish settlement built near present-day Nuuk
  • (1750s-1900) Greenland explored and mapped
  • (1861) The first Inuit newspaper began
  • (1888) Fridtjof Nansen of Norway led a 5-man team across Greenland on skis
  • (1897) Robert Peary, Arctic explorer arrives in Greenland
  • (1924) Denmark controls Greenland; Norway ends claim
  • (1940) With Denmark occupied by the Germans, the United States assumes protective custody over Greenland for the duration of World War II
  • (1953) Greenland becomes an integral part of the Kingdom of Denmark and obtains representation in the Danish parliament.
  • (1953) The Danish authorities expel Inuit hunters from their ancestral lands in the far north of the island to expand US airbase at Thule
  • (1968) An American B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed at North Star Bay, Greenland, killing one crew member and scattering radioactive material
  • (1972) Denmark and Greenland join the European Community
  • (1979) Greenland attains home rule
  • (1982) Greenlanders vote to leave the European Community
  • (1989) A large deposit of gold is discovered
  • (1999) A general election sees Jonathan Motzfeldt re-elected as prime minister
  • (2000) Greenland celebrates the 1000-year anniversary of Leif Eriksson's voyage to North America. Queen Margrethe of Denmark attends along with several Nordic heads of state
  • (2005) Hans Enoksen continues as prime minister in a coalition involving his Siumut party, the Inuit Brotherhood and Atassut
  • (2008) Greenlanders vote in referendum for more autonomy, greater control over energy resources and granting Kalaallisut or Western Greenlandic status as official language in place of Danish
  • (2010) Greenpeace protesters occupy oil exploration drilling rig off Greenland to highlight environmental concerns, following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster

About Greenland

Trending on WorldAtlas

Explore The World

This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.