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Brief political history of Greenland

Greenland is geographically part of the North American shelf, but part of the Danish Kingdom and politically and economically close to Denmark.

In 1721 Greenland became a colony of Denmark, and it was not until 1953 that Greenland had its status renewed and became a constituency in the Danish Kingdom. Partly due to the fast growing modernization of the Greenlandic society, and partly due to general shifts in the political landscape in the 1970’s, there was Greenlandic demands for greater economic and political independence. In January 1979 63 % of the voters in Greenland voted in favor of a Home Rule, and in 1979, Greenland Home Rule was established within the Kingdom of Denmark.

The political and economic interdependence has continued and in 2009, the Greenland Self-Government replaced the Home Rule Government. Among the changes made in Self Government Act was that Greenland took over full sovereignty and administration of its underground and natural resources, including hydrocarbons. A few policy areas remains however to be determined by the Danish Government, including foreign policy, citizenship, monetary policy, justice and defense.

Greenland has its own Government, Naalakkersuisut in Greenlandic, and Parliament, Inatsisartut with 31 members. The Inatsisartut approves the executive government “Naalakkersuisut”, which is responsible for the central administration headed by a Premier Minister with a cabinet.

Despite of the legal context, Greenland has a firm tradition of participating in international affairs, both through its Nordic and arctic links through its economic and trade interests. Greenland participates actively in Nordic co-operation, arctic co-operation, the UN, the WTO and the EU (while not a member). Greenland is associated with the EU under the agreement for Overseas Countries and Territories.

Read more about Greenland.

The total population of Greenland is 56.000 people. The largest cities is Nuuk (capital) 18.300 people, Sisimiut 5.600 people and Ilulissat, 4.700 people. Most people lives on the West coast of Greenland. Very few cities or towns in Greenland is connected by road, instead ships and air traffic is common modes of traffic.