General background: The world's largest non-continental
island, about 84% ice-capped, Greenland was granted
self-government in 1978 by the Danish parliament.
The law went into effect the following year. Denmark
continues to exercise control of Greenland's foreign
Area comparative: Slightly more than three
times the size of Texas.
Climate: Arctic to subarctic; cool summers,
Terrain: Flat to gradually sloping icecap
covers all but a narrow, mountainous, barren, rocky
Population: 56,376 (July 2002 est.)
Ethnic groups: Greenlander 88% (Inuit and
Greenland-born whites), Danish and others 12% (January
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran
Language: Greenlandic (East Inuit), Danish,
Government type: Parliamentary democracy within
a constitutional monarchy.
Capital: Nuuk (Godthab)
Legal system: Danish
Economic overview: The economy remains critically
dependent on exports of fish and substantial support
from the Danish Government, which supplies about half
of government revenues. The public sector, including
publicly owned enterprises and the municipalities,
plays the dominant role in the economy. Despite several
interesting hydrocarbon and minerals exploration activities,
it will take several years before production can materialize.
Tourism is the only sector offering any near-term
potential, and even this is limited due to a short
season and high costs.
Communication/Telephone system: Adequate domestic
and international service provided by satellite, cables
and microwave radio relay; totally digitalized in
Places of interest: