Greenland facts and figures


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.

Northern North America, island between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada


total: 2,166,086 sq kmi (410,449 sq km ice-free, 1,755,637 sq km ice-covered)

water: 0 sq km

land: 2,166,086 sq kmi (410,449 sq km ice-free, 1,755,637 sq km ice-covered)

Land boundaries:

total: 0 km


arctic to subarctic cool summers, cold winters


flat to gradually sloping icecap covers all but a narrow, mountainous, barren, rocky coast

Land use:

arable land: 0% *

permanent crops: 0%

other: 100% (2005 est.)


57,695 (July 2012 est.)


noun: Greenlander(s)

adjective: Greenlandic


Greenlandic (East Inuit) (official), Danish (official), English