A simple question (hopefully):

Is Greenland connected to Canada by land or is it seperated by sea?

Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat) is an island separated from Canada by the Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, Smith Sound, Kane Basin, Kennedy Channel, and Robeson Channel.
(The last two are very narrow, but they still prevent Greenland from “touching” Canada’s Ellesmere Island.)

Greenland is on the North American (tectonic) Plate, but it is still an island. (Or, if all that ices melts, an archpelago.)

It is an island, separated from Canadian islands by Baffin Bay/Davis Strait. Now, it probably gets ice bridges formed over those bodies of water in winter, but it is indeed an island.

Link to page with map of Greenland.


I’ve always wondered why Denmark claims Greenland and how it first gained possesion of it. I’ve even asked a Danish friend and even he doesn’t know.

Can someone shed some light on this?


From the Columbia Encyclopedia’s article Greenland:

Excerpted from

“Greenland’s history would read something like this: 'Nothing much happened, nothing much happened, nothing much happened. A couple of blokes arrived but left pretty much straight away. Several decades went past - nothing much happened - and then another bloke with red hair arrived and stayed a bit longer but then after that, for about four centuries, things got really quiet and nothing much happened.”

Anyway, Eric the Red was exiled there, and various Icelanders colonized the area in the second century.

Norway annexed Greenland in 1261, but during a big freeze 130 years later which barred all contact, the Icelanders disappeared, either assimilated or killed by Thules.

And 300 more years had passed when Denmark made it’s claim in 1605.

In 1998, Greenland was given the right to full independence from Denmark.

The 1998 action granted Greenland “self rule” for domestic issues. Foreign policy remains the sole province of Denmark (which continues to support Greenland by supplying about 50% of its annual budget).

I would disagree with this. As I understand it, Greenland is self-governing but is not independent; it is still part of Denmark.

Hmm, I see on preview that tomndebb has (have?) beaten me to it… but will add that as Greenland is 2,200,000 sq km and Denmark itself is only 43,069 sq km, surely it must be the biggest dependency in the world in relation to its mother country?

From the site I previously quoted:

“In 1979 the Danist parliament granted Greenland home rule, and in 1998 the right to full, uncontested independence, if they want it.”

Greenland may have decided on keeping home rule, but unless the site is wrong, they were granted the right to independence. That doesn’t mean they were forced to take it.

Good point. Looks like you were right - they have the right but have chosen to keep limited links with Denmark.

Greenland is supposedly the largest island in the world, and so not connected to anything.

> why Denmark claims Greenland and how it first gained possesion of it
I’m no expert but this is how I think it came about:
In the Viking age, the northsea possessions: Shetlands, Faeroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland were part of Norway since it were Norwegians Vikings who had explored and colonized them. After some time Norway became a dependency of the Danish crown and all her possessions came to Denmark. Denmark lost the Shetlands, pretty stupidly, to England, and contact with Greenland was lost, and Iceland proclaimed full independence in 1940. That is the ancient claim.
The modern claim rest largely on the premise that is were mostly Danish artic explorers, in particular Knud Rasmussen, that mapped and explored Greenland. Norway disagreed and challenged Denmark in the world court for the eastern coast of Greenland, but lost. Today Greenland has nominally home rule, but all foreign and military relations are handled by Denmark, also much of the administration of Greenland are handled by Danish immigrants; I know several that has moved there. It’s pretty much a silent agreement the Greenlanders can claim full independence any time they want.

> Anyway, Eric the Red was exiled there
Eric wasn’t exiled there, he choose to go there when relations in Iceland were somewhat strained. He killed someone, and was sentenced “fredsløs” (everybody can hurt or kill him with impunity – perhaps somebody can tell me the English word for this sentence)

“Wanted: Dead or alive” pops into my mind. :slight_smile:

“Outlaw”, I believe. One who is forced to live outside the protection of the law, although it’s another word whose connotation has outgrown the popularity of the denotation.

“Outlaw”, I think, in its original sense.

If my OED wasn’t in a box somewhere in the garage I’d be more helpful.

Well, somebody’ll be along with a real answer sooner or later.

Scotland :). It was the dowry of the Danish princess that was married to James III of Scotland in 1469 and was formerly annexed in 1472.

  • Tamerlane

formally annexed…

  • Tamerlane

> It was the dowry of the Danish princess that was married to James III of Scotland in 1469

While we’re nitpicking :). I may be wrong but I don’t think that’s entirely correct. It was a security for the dowry (not the dowry itself), but since the Danish king couldn’t come up with the dowry sum (being bankrupt and all), it was forfeited – thus the pretty stupid comment. I guess the princess never did get her prince.

BTW. I wanted to ask you why you took the Tamerlane name, I take it you know that Tamerlane probably would make it on a top ten of mass murderers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that :cool:.

Counter-nitpick cheerfully accepted :).

Damn right there’s not :D!

Combination of things really - 1) I’m a history buff and the Chingisid Mongols and their successors have always been a topic of particular interest to me ( academic interest started with the Mongols, moved to the Moguls in India, then sort of converged in the middle on Tamerlane ).

  1. Like the name Prester John ( which I use on one or two other boards ), it always invoked a ‘mysteries of the orient’ sort of fascination in me as a child, even though I was only vaguely aware of who he was.

  2. I find this version of his name strangely euphonious ;).

The fact that he had such charming character traits as slaughtering thousands and then stacking their skulls into pyramids is just icing on the cake :p.

  • Tamerlane

Of course she did. If she hadn’t, the dowry wouldn’t have had to be paid. :wink: