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Greenland


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The world's largest island, but not very green

Two-thirds of Greenland lies within the Arctic Circle and most of the territory is covered by an ice cap up to eight kilometres thick and holding 10% of the world's total fresh water—though some of this is now melting.

Greenlanders are mostly a mixture of the native Inuit and settlers from Scandinavia. Traditionally they have survived by hunting seals, but today, more people make a living through fishing, mainly for shrimp. There has also been some zinc mining but this has now ceased, and left Greenland even more dependent on subsidies from Denmark worth over $11,000 per person per year. Future prospects may depend on capitalizing on the melting ice for hydropower, and possibly becoming a location for global internet servers. There are also hopes of offshore oil.

Greenlanders are Danish citizens who elect two representatives to the Danish parliament. In 2009, however, Denmark ceded some of its powers, and from 2010 the local parliament will take control of domestic affairs.

The 2009 elections resulted in a victory for the socialist Inuit Ataqataqiit party. Its leader Kuupik Kleist became prime minister at the head of a three-party coalition.

uk.nanoq.gl/ Government site

www.greenland.com/content/english/tourist Official business and tourism site

People: 58,000. More than 85% are Greenlanders; most of the rest are Danish. Life expectancy: 70 years

Government: Dependency of Denmark. Capital: Nuuk

Economy: GDP per capita: $PPP 20,000. Main export: fish


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