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Greenland, the world's largest island, is about 81% ice capped. Vikings reached the island in the 10th century from Iceland; Danish colonization began in the 18th century, and Greenland was made an integral part of Denmark in 1953. It joined the European Community (now the EU) with Denmark in 1973 but withdrew in 1985 over a dispute centered on stringent fishing quotas. Greenland was granted self-government in 1979 by the Danish parliament; the law went into effect the following year. Greenland voted in favor of increased self-rule in November 2008 and acquired greater responsibility for internal affairs when the Act on Greenland Self Government was signed into law in June 2009. Denmark, however, continues to exercise control of Greenland's foreign affairs, security, and financial policy in consultation with Greenland's Home Rule Government.


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Country name
Conventional long form None
Conventional short form Greenland
Local long form None
Local short form Kalaallit Nunaat

Dependency status
Part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1979

Government type
Parliamentary democracy within a constitutional monarchy

Name Nuuk (Godthab)
Geographic coordinates 64 11 N, 51 45 W
Time difference
UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Greenland is divided into four time zones

Administrative divisions
4 municipalities (kommuner, singular kommune); Kujalleq, Qaasuitsup, Qeqqata, Sermersooq
The North and East Greenland National Park (Avannaarsuani Tunumilu Nuna Allanngutsaaliugaq) and the Thule Air Base in Pituffik (in northwest Greenland) are two unincorporated areas; the national park's 972,000 sq km - about 46% of the island - make it the largest national park in the world and also the most northerly

None (extensive self-rule as part of the Kingdom of Denmark; foreign affairs is the responsibility of Denmark, but Greenland actively participates in international agreements relating to Greenland)

National holiday
June 21 (longest day)

(June 2009) Act on Greenland Self Government

Legal system
The laws of Denmark, where applicable, apply

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Mikaela ENGELL (since April 2011)
Head of government
Prime Minister Kuupik KLEIST (since 12 June 2009)
Home Rule Government elected by the Parliament (Landsting) on the basis of the strength of parties
The monarchy is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; prime minister elected by parliament (usually the leader of the majority party)
Election results
Kuupik KLEIST elected prime minister

Legislative branch
Unicameral Parliament or Inatsisartut (Landsting) (31 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
Last held on 2 June 2009 (next to be held by 2013)
Election results
Percent of vote by party - IA 43.7%, Siumut 26.5%, Demokratiit 12.7%, Atassut 10.9%; Kattusseqatigiit 3.8%, other 2.4%; seats by party - IA 14, Siumut 9, Demokraatiit 4, Atassut 3, Kattusseqatigiit 1
Two representatives were elected to the Danish Parliament or Folketing on 15 September 2011 (next to be held by September 2015); percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Siumut 1, Inuit Ataqatigiit 1

Judicial branch
High Court or Eggartuussisuuneqarfia (Landsret) (appeals can be made to the Ostre Landsret or Eastern Division of the High Court or Supreme Court in Copenhagen)

Political parties and leaders
Candidate List (Kattusseqatigiit) [Anthon FREDERIKSEN]; Democratic Party (Demokraatit) [Jens B. FREDERIKSEN]; Forward Party (Siumut) [Aleqa HAMMOND]; Inuit Community (Inuit Ataqatigiit) or IA [Kuupik KLEIST]; Solidarity Party (Atassut) [Gerhardt PETERSEN]

Political pressure groups and leaders
Conservationists; environmentalists

International organization participation
Arctic Council, NC, NIB, UPU

Diplomatic representation in the us
None (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Diplomatic representation from the us
None (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Flag description
Two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a large disk slightly to the hoist side of center - the top half of the disk is red, the bottom half is white; the design represents the sun reflecting off a field of ice; the colors are the same as those of the Danish flag and symbolize Greenland's links to the Kingdom of Denmark

National symbol(s)
Polar bear

National anthem
"Nunarput utoqqarsuanngoravit" ("Our Country, Who's Become So Old" also translated as "You Our Ancient Land")
Lyrics/music Henrik LUND/Jonathan PETERSEN
Adopted 1916; the government also recognizes "Nuna asiilasooq" as a secondary anthem


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  Greenland [ Denmark ] (Denmark):

  GPS points from Greenland [ Denmark ] (Denmark)

Angajua Qaasuitsup

Kangiussap Nuna Sermersooq

Ingigigsorujuk Qaasuitsup

Aasen Ostgronland

Poloniagletscher Qaasuitsup

Snesund Sermersooq

Kivinak Sermersooq

Kookoerne Sermersooq
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