Greenland is a huge island, although not as large as suggest by most maps as a result of the mercator priojections. Most of the island lies within the Arctic Cirles in the western North Atlantic between Canada and Iceland. Geologically it is part of the Canadian shelf. Most of the island is covered by an enormous ice shelf more than two miles dep in some places, except for coastal areas. There are numerous glaciers and fjords. Most of the small population lives along the south western coast. The Arctic climate there is somewhat moderated by the Gulf Stream. The first humans settlers were Native Americans Archeologists are uncertain as to just when Native Americans first reached Greeland, but apparently occurred at a very late point (about 2500 BC). The people are known as the Inuit. This was the furthest eastern advance of Native Americans in North America. Native Anericans reached southern South America several millenia earlier. Native American settlement has been intetminent since that time. They subsisted on fisheries and hunting marine mammals. European settlement began with the Vikings led by Eric the Red (982 AD). The Vikings attempted to continue a European life style with sheep. This failed when the climate turned colder and they eventually abandoned the settlement. Modern settlment began with a Norwegian missiony (1721). The Inuit living on marine mammalals and fish were able to survive even with colder temperatures. Greenland became a Danish colony. It olayed a role in World War II, mostly as an important site for weather stations. Most of the population is of mixed Native American-Danish origins.
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