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CIA Factbook: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/gl.html
Lonely Planet: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dest/eur/green.htm
4Bil BC In 2000 evidence in
sedimentary rocks off of Greenland indicated chemical evidence of
early life from about this time.
(SFC, 12/1/00, p.A21)
360Mil BC By late Devonian time some bony fish not
only undoubtedly had lungs, but also had stumpy or lobed fins, the
antecedents of legs. The 2-foot long ichthyostega from eastern
Greenland was among the 1st fish to move on land.
(DD-EVTT, p.254)(SFC, 9/12/05, p.A4)
800,000BC-450,000BC In 2007 researchers dated DNA from Greenland mud
under 1.2 miles of ice to about this time. The DNA indicated the
presence of pine, yew and alder trees, as well as insects. Due to
uncertainties in the dating, scientists could not rule out that the
samples dated to the last interglacial, 130,000 to 116,000 years
before the present.
(SFC, 7/6/07, p.A14)
c250,000BC The ice dome at Summit, the center of
the Greenland ice cap, was about this age at its bedrock. The island
has settled about 2,000 feet under the weight of the ice that
stretches 810,000 sq. miles.
(SFC, 10/9/97, p.C18)
10.7k BCE Melting glaciers caused a deluge of some
2,000 cubic miles of fresh water from a prehistoric lake in
southwestern Ontario. It sent temperatures over the North Atlantic
plummeting. Temperatures in Greenland dropped by 18 degrees
(WSJ, 7/17/03, p.A1)
c10,500BCE The climate of the Earth abruptly
warmed by 20 degrees or more and ended an ice age. Ice cores from
Greenland later revealed a temperature increase of almost 59 degrees
in the north polar region within a 50-year period.
(SFC, 10/2/98, p.A10)
2500BC-800BC The Saqqaq people, the earliest known
culture in southern Greenland, thrived over this period. In 2010
scientists sequenced the DNA from four frozen hairs of a Greenlander
who lived among the Saqqaq around 2,000BC. He appeared to have
originated in Siberia and was unrelated to modern Greenlanders.
982 Eric the Red (950-1003),
killed a neighbor and some other men about this time and was
banished from Iceland for 3 years.
982 Eric the Red, father of
Leif Ericson, landed in Greenland and spent the next 3 years
exploring the area.
985 Eric Thorvaldsson, aka Eric
the Red, left Iceland and returned to Greenland establishing his 1st
986 Eric the Red and his
followers began to settle Greenland.
(SFEM, 11/15/98, p.24)
1000 Oct 9, Leif Ericson
discovered "Vinland." [see 1001]
c1001 Norse sagas claim that
Leif Ericson and a band of 35 men sailed for western lands based on
an account by the Viking Bjarni Herjulfsson, who had sighted land
after being blown off course. They found a land they called Vinland
and built houses but returned to Greenland before the winter.
(HT, 5/97, p.31)
1002 Thorer Eastman (d.1002), a
Norwegian sea captain, was blown off course on a trading voyage from
Iceland to Greenland. He and his wife, Gudrid, along with a crew of
13 became stranded on a rock near the coast of Newfoundland for
weeks until they were rescued by Leif Eriksson, who was on his way
home to Greenland from North America with a cargo of timber. That
fall an epidemic swept Greenland and Eastman died.
(ON, 12/07, p.4)
1005 Leaf Ericson’s brother,
Thorvald, had arrived in Vinland but was killed by native Indians
and his Viking companions returned to Greenland. A 3-year settlement
was begun a few years later when Thorfin Karlsefni established a
base with around 100 men and women at the L’Anse aux Meadows in
(HT, 5/97, p.33)(ON, 12/07, p.5)
1005 Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir
and Thorstein Erikson set sail to the New World to recover the body
of Thorvald Erikson and to start a new colony. They failed to catch
easterly winds and spent the winter in northwest Greenland. That
winter Thorstein died.
(ON, 12/07, p.5)
1006 Thorfinn Karlsefni
arrived in Greenland from Iceland and married Gudrid
Thorbjarnardottir. She soon talked him into leading an expedition to
the New World.
(ON, 12/07, p.5)
1007 Thorfinn Karlsefni
and Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir embarked with a 3-ship expedition to
the new World. Snorri Thorfinnson, son of Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir
and Thorfinn Karlsefni, was born in Vinland (probably Newfoundland),
the 1st European born in the New World. The family later returned
east and settled in Iceland.
(SFC, 9/16/02, p.A2)(ON, 12/07, p.5)
1010 Thorfinn Karlsefni and
Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir returned from the New World to Greenland
and then moved to Iceland the following year, where they raised a
(ON, 12/07, p.5)
1378 The last bishop on
Greenland died. No replacement was sent.
(AM, 7/00, p.66)
1408 A marriage at the Hvalsey
Church in the East Settlement was the last record of the Norse in
(SFEM, 11/15/98, p.25)(AM, 7/00, p.66)
c1440 Lief Eriksson drew a map
of America about this time. The "Vinland Map" was introduced in 1965
by Yale University as being the 1st known map of America, drawn
about 1440 by Norse explorer Lief Eriksson.
1861 The first Eskimo newspaper
(WSJ, 4/10/00, p.A44)
1888 Fridtjof Nansen of Norway
led a 5-man team across Greenland on skis.
(ON, 7/05, p.1)
1897 Robert Peary, Arctic
explorer, took 6 Eskimos from Greenland back to NYC as living museum
specimens. In 2000 Ken Harper authored "Give Me My Father’s Body,"
the story of Minik, one of the 6 Eskimos, who died in 1918 in a New
Hampshire lumber camp at age 28.
(SFEC, 7/16/00, Par p.8)
1906 Alfred Lothar Wegener
(26), German meteorologist, joined an expedition to survey
Greenland’s glacier-fringed coast.
(ON, 9/04, p.8)
1924 Jul 10, Denmark took
Greenland as Norway ended its claim.
1930 Nov, Alfred Wegener (50),
German scientist and main proponent of the continental drift theory,
was killed while on an expedition in Greenland.
(DD-EVTT, p.190)(ON, 9/04, p.9)
1931-1932 Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), American
artist, illustrator and printmaker, spent his first Arctic winter
painting and exploring in the settlement of Igdlorssuit, Greenland.
In 1935 he authored “Salamina," a memoir of his first Arctic winter
1933 Martin Lindsay and team
with Andrew Croft (d.1998 at 91) made the world’s longest
self-supporting dogsled expedition.
(SFC, 7/4/98, p.C2)
1941 Apr 10, U.S. troops
occupied Greenland to prevent Nazi infiltration.
1943 Sep 13, The Scottish-built
S.S. Terra Nova sank off the Greenland after being damaged by ice.
It had gained fame by taking the explorer Robert Scott and a crew to
the Antarctic in 1910 in an effort to become the first to reach the
South Pole. Her crew were saved by a United States Coast Guard
cutter Southwind. Wreckage of the ship was discovered in 2012.
1950 Denmark founded the Sirius
Patrol, a unit of the Danish navy, to patrol Greenland.
(SFC, 6/15/00, p.C4)
1951 Denmark consigned the
Inuit hunting village of Pituffik to US authorities for the Thule
(SFC, 8/4/00, p.A16)
1953 Inuit inhabitants were
forcibly relocated for the American Thule air base. 650 later sued
and won a $71,400 settlement.
(SFC, 11/3/01, p.C1)
1953-1958 The Alaska to Greenland Early Warning
DEW network was built along the 69th parallel to thwart a Soviet
attack. Some 30 tons of PCBs were used and never cleaned up.
Canadian remediation was estimated at $500 million.
(SFC, 11/3/01, p.C3)
1957 Denmark banned nuclear
weapons from its soil.
1964 In Greenland the US Army
established a Camp Century, an early warning base for Soviet missile
(WSJ, 6/8/06, p.D8)
1968 Jan 21, An American B-52
bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed at North Star Bay,
Greenland, killing one crew member and scattering radioactive
material. Reports began to surface later and in 1995 the Danish
government paid a $15.5 million settlement to some 1,700 exposed
1968 A Danish geologist
published a paper on the Greenland Ice Cap that included melting
threats to it. The study used core samples that drilled down to
(WSJ, 6/8/06, p.D8)
1977 Jun, The Inuit Circumpolar
Council, a multinational non-governmental organization (NGO), met
for the first time. Originally known as the Inuit Circumpolar
Conference, the ICC represented the 150,000 Inuit (often referred to
as Eskimo) people living in the United States, Canada, Greenland,
1979 May 1, Denmark gave home
rule to Greenland, but continued to make key decisions on law and
order. The legislative basis for the Home Rule Administration is Act
no 56 of 21 February 1979 which came into force on 1 May 1979
following a referendum in Greenland.
1979 Jonathan Motzfeldt became
the first premier of Greenland after home rule was introduced. He
served to 1991. He served a 2nd term from 1997-2002 and was later
considered one of the founding fathers of its home rule agreement
1980-2006 Rising temperatures in Greenland allowed
for an increase in farmland from 620 acres to 2,500 acres over this
(WSJ, 7/18/06, p.A12)
1982 Feb 23, In a consultative
referendum, Greenland, which became a member of the European
Community as part of Denmark, opted for withdrawal from the
1984 Mar 12, The EU Council
signed an agreement on future relations between Greenland and the
1985 Feb 1, Greenland left the
European Community but remains associated with it as overseas
1991 3 Radar sites of the Early
Warning DEW line were abandoned.
(SFC, 11/3/01, p.C3)
1995 Danish Foreign Minister
Niels Helveg Petersen told reporters that no nuclear weapons were
deployed in Greenland. 2 weeks later US Sec. of Defense William
Perry wrote in a confidential letter that warheads and surface to
air missiles had been stored at the Thule air base without
Greenland’s knowledge. The crisis became known as "Thulegate" in
(SFC, 11/3/01, p.C3)
1996 A Danish government
admitted in a report that the United States had stored nuclear
weapons in Greenland during the Cold War, although Denmark had
banned nuclear weapons from its soil in 1957.
1999 Mar 13, It was reported
that ice sheets in the low-lying areas were melting at the rate of
3-feet per year.
(SFC, 3/13/99, p.A6)
2000 Jul 21, It was reported
that warming climate was causing Greenland to lose 11 cubic miles of
ice a year, 0r 12.5 trillion gallons, enough to raise sea level by
.005 inches annually.
(SFC, 7/21/00, p.B3)
2000 Aug 4, Inuits made up
nearly 90% of Greenland’s 56,000 population.
(SFC, 8/4/00, p.A16)
2002 Sep 24, The Danish
government announced that the US will return to Denmark a section of
the U.S. air base at Thule in northern Greenland that was created in
2002 In Greenland Jonathan
Motzfeldt lost an internal party struggle to fellow Siumut Hans
Enoksen who replaced him as premier. Motzfeldt then became speaker
of Greenland's Parliament, but resigned in 2008 amid allegations
that he groped a female civil servant. He denied wrongdoing and was
2003 Jan 16, In Greenland
Premier Hans Enoksen, head of the social democratic Siumut party,
struck a deal with the island's liberal Atassut party. 2 days
earlier Enoksen evicted the left-wing Inuit Ataqatigitt party,
leaving the Arctic island of 56,000 without a government. A spat had
developed over the use of a healer to chase away evil spirits from
2003 Jul 6, Dennis Schmitt and
5 companions stepped on a 120-foot-long pile of dirt at 83°42’
latitude, Earth’s farthest north piece of known land. The Arctic
site was 432 miles from the North Pole and under the jurisdiction of
Greenland. In 2004 Danish authorities discounted the find in favor
of a larger island called Kaffklubben.
(SFC, 6/17/04, p.B1)(SFC, 6/18/04, p.B10)
2006 Feb 16, Scientists
reported that glaciers in Greenland were melting twice as fast as
previously believed. The melting of glaciers in South America and in
the Himalayas was also accelerating due to global warming.
(SFC, 2/17/06, p.A14)
2006 Aug 10, NASA satellite
data showed that the ice sheet in Greenland is melting faster than
(WSJ, 8/11/06, p.A1)
2006 Some 57,000 people
inhabited Greenland. The GDP for the 840,000 square-mile island was
(WSJ, 7/18/06, p.A12)
2007 Aug 10, Denmark was
reported to be planning a monthlong expedition, to begin Aug 12, to
seek evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge, a 1,240-mile underwater
mountain range, is attached to the Danish territory of Greenland,
making it a geological extension of the Arctic island.
2007 Sep 7, Sunni, Shiite,
Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, and Shinto leaders gathered in
Greenland for a 6-day coastal tour and symposium called "The Arctic:
Mirror of Life," designed to focus global attention on climate
2008 Aug 28, In Greenland local
police said dozens of massacred narwhals, an Arctic whale with a
single long tusk, have been discovered on the east coast in what
could be a case of poaching. A scientific expedition from New
Zealand discovered the carcasses as they sailed along the coastline
about two weeks ago.
2008 Nov 25, Greenland polling
stations opened in a referendum on expanding home rule. Voters
overwhelmingly approved a plan for more autonomy from Denmark and to
take advantage of potential oil reserves off the glacial island's
(AP, 11/25/08)(AP, 11/26/08)
2008 Dec 16, NASA said
satellite data indicated that more than 2 trillion tons of land ice
in Alaska, Antarctica and Greenland since 2003 among the latest
signs of global warming.
(SFC, 12/17/08, p.A20)
2009 Jun 2, In Greenland the
Inuit Ataqatigiit party, or IA, won 44% of votes to take 14 of the
31 seats in Greenland's Parliament, the Landsting. The left-wing
opposition party defeated the long-governing Social Democrats.
Siumut got 26% of the votes and lost the majority it held with its
smaller coalition partner Atasut. Premier Hans Enoksen called the
snap election after Greenlanders decided in a November referendum to
loosen ties with Denmark.
2009 Jun 10, Kuupik Kleist
(b.1958) assumed office as prime minister of Greenland.
2009 Greenland’s population
numbered about 57,000. Danish subsidies amounted to about $11,000
per person per year.
(Econ, 7/18/09, p.57)
2010 Jun 25, In Morocco a 5-day
meeting of the International Whaling Commission ended. Native people
of Greenland won a long battle to extend their annual whale hunt to
humpbacks, overriding objections from conservation-minded members of
the IWC. A 2008 investigation showed about one-fourth of the whales
the Greenlanders caught were sold on the market in violation of the
2010 Aug 7, It was reported
that an ice island measuring 100 square miles has broken off the
Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland.
(SFC, 8/7/10, p.A2)
2010 Aug 20, The European
Union's high court temporarily exempted Inuit hunters in Canada and
Greenland from the bloc's new trade ban on seal products, while
asking European Parliament and EU governments to justify the ban.
2010 Aug, Cairn Energy, a
British petrochemicals company, announced the discovery of
worthwhile oil deposits off the coast of Greenland. Its licensed
acreage was estimated to hold some 4 billion barrels of oil.
(Econ, 8/28/10, p.43)
2010 Oct 28, Former Greenland
premier Jonathan Motzfeldt (72) died. He had spearheaded a drive for
more self-rule and opposed US bases on the semi-autonomous Danish
territory. Motzfeldt led the Arctic island's government between
1979-1991 and again between 1997-2002 and is considered one of the
founding fathers of its home rule agreement with Denmark.
2011 May 3, The Arctic Monitory
and Assessment Program (AMAP) reported that the ice of Greenland and
the Arctic is melting faster than expected and could raise global
sea levels by as much as five feet this century.
(SFC, 5/4/11, p.A3)
2011 May 12, Arctic Council
members signed an agreement in Greenland to coordinate search and
rescue operations and pledged to create int’l. protocols to prevent
and clean up offshore oil spills. The 8 members included the Canada,
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the USA.
(SFC, 5/13/11, p.A2)
2011 Jun 4, Greenpeace said 18
of its members have climbed a 53,000-ton oil rig in the Arctic
waters off Greenland to protest deepwater drilling by a Scottish oil
company there. The activists demanded Cairn Energy release a plan
for how to manage a potential oil spill. Police arrested 14
activists, while 4 remained on Leiv Eiriksson oil rig.
(AP, 6/4/11)(SFC, 6/5/11, p.A4)
2012 Jul 5, In Panama the
International Whaling Commission rejected a request from Denmark for
a whaling quota for indigenous groups in Greenland. Two days earlier
it approved the renewal of bowhead whale quotas for indigenous
subsistence whaling in Alaska and Russia and for St. Vincent and the
Grenadines in the Caribbean. The United States says it doesn't
support a South Korean plan to restart whale hunting for purportedly
2013 Mar 12, Greenland held
elections. Aleqa Hammond (47) looked set to be Greenland's first
female prime minister after her social democratic Siumut party won
42 percent of the 31-seat parliament on a platform of greater
control and heavier taxation of foreign mining.
(AP, 3/13/13)(Econ, 3/16/13, p.54)
2013 Oct 24, Greenland's
parliament agreed to remove a 25-year-old ban on uranium mining,
paving the way for an industrial boom that the Arctic island hopes
will help it gain independence from former colonial master Denmark.
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