Is Greenland a Country?

The flag of Greenland flying in Greenland.

Greenland is not a country but is instead an autonomous constituent territory of Denmark. Greenland, along with the Faroe Islands, though independent and with home governments, are considered part of mainland Denmark.

Greenland is the largest island on Earth, and it is situated between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. The territory has a total area of 836,330 square miles, and the population was estimated at 56,483 in 2016. The capital city is Nuuk, which is also the largest city. About 80% of Greenland’s surface area, which is 660,000 square miles, is covered by an ice sheet - this sheet ranks second in size globally.

Is Greenland a Part of Denmark?

Greenland fell under Danish colonial rule in 1814 and was declared part of the Danish realm in 1953. Greenland joined the European Economic Community in 1973 but left in 1985 following a popular vote cast in 1982. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is considered the head of state of Greenland, and the Danish government selects a high commissioner as a representative of the government in Greenland. Greenland usually elects two representatives to sit in the Danish parliament. Greenland has a local home parliament made up of 31 members and the majority leader in parliament, known as premier, is the head of government. The home government was approved on June 21, 2009. The territory is divided into four municipalities which include Kujalleq, Sermersooq, Qaasuitsup, and Qeqqata. Greenland's home government is in charge of most of the local affairs in the country while the Danish government is in charge of the region's defense and foreign affairs.

Greenland’s Economy

Greenland has a small mixed economy, and it is dependent on support from Denmark and fish exports. The public offices in Greenland are the biggest employers offering employment to the majority of the employed population and second are the fishing industry. The government of Denmark finances nearly half of the revenue of Greenland’s government. Tourism is not big in the territory as it has short summer seasons and it is expensive. The country is rich in natural resources like rubies, aluminum, uranium, iron, platinum, nickel, copper, titanium, and tungsten.

Other Facts about Greenland

Danish and Greenlandic are the primary languages used in Greenland and in June 2009, Greenlandic was officially declared the national language. Protestant Christianity is the main religion in the region with about 95% of the population identifying with the denomination with the Lutheran Church being the main church. Greenland is home to the largest national park globally, called Northeast Greenland National Park. The park occupies an area of 375,292 square miles making it larger than most countries in the world.


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