The New Student's Reference Work/Greenland

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Greenland. An immense island in the Arctic, 900 miles wide by 1600 miles long. No traces are left of two settlements made in Greenland in 986. They were probably destroyed by the Eskimos some time after 1340 and in 1448 all communication with Europe ceased. John Davis re-discovered Greenland in 1585 and the Danish settled it in 1721.

Greenland trade is a Danish state monopoly. American ships fish halibut off the west coast. Area of Danish colony 46,750 sq. miles. Total area 500,000 sq. miles. Population 11,893, mainly Eskimo, European inhabitants about 250, many of whom have Eskimo wives.

The people live mainly on seals and whales, killing about 100,000 annually. Fish sharks are also eaten. The dogs used to draw sledges, are of much importance. Over 25,000 reindeer were shot yearly between 1845 and 1849, but are now scarce.

The country is mountainous, barren and covered with a glacier sheet averaging 1,000 ft. in thickness and rising into ice caps 10,000 ft. high. Under pressure of its own weight enormous glaciers flow out from this ice cap, sometimes at the rate of 50 ft. in a day through the fjords which deeply indent the coast where they break off into the icebergs that peril navigation. (See Titanic Disaster). The larger ice fjords each receive in a year enough ice to make a mountain more than 1000 ft. high and covering four sq. miles. Peary in 1892 and 1895 crossed Northern Greenland and rounded its Northern extremity in 1900.

So far as known Greenland is the coldest inhabited country in the world. It is the only known home of the iceburg in the northern hemisphere. It is estimated that if all the ice in Greenland were spread over the United States it would make a covering a quarter of a mile thick.

Greenland exports eiderdown, game and fish. (See Rink's Danish Greenland).