Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Physiographically, it is a part of the continent of North America. The largest island in Greenland is also named Greenland, and makes up most of the country’s land area.
Greenland has been inhabited, though not continuously, by indigenous peoples since 2500 BC. There were Norse colonies in Greenland from AD 986 until sometime most likely in the 15th century. In the early 18th century contact between Scandinavia and Greenland was re-established and Denmark established rule over Greenland.
In 1979 Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, in a relationship known in Danish as Rigsfællesskabet (Commonwealth of the Realm), and in 2008 Greenland voted to transfer more powers to the local government. This became effective the following year, with the Danish royal government in charge only of foreign affairs, security and financial policy, and providing a subsidy of DKK 3.4 billion (US$633m), or approximately $11,300 per Greenlander, annually.
Greenland is, by area, the world’s largest island that is not a continent.]With a population of 56,452 (January, 2010 estimate) it is the least densely populated dependency or country in the world.
The name Greenland comes from the early Scandinavian settlers. In the Icelandic sagas, it is said that Norwegian-born Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for murder. He, along with his extended family and thralls, set out in ships to find a land rumoured to lie to the northwest. After settling there, he named the land Gr?nland (Greenland), supposedly in the hope that the pleasant name would attract settlers.
Greenland was also called Gruntland (Ground-land) and Engronelant (or Engroneland) on early maps. Whether green is an erroneous transcription of grunt (ground), which refers to shallow bays, or vice versa, is not known. The southern portion of Greenland (not covered by glaciers) is green in the summer.
Greenlandic stamps are a reflection of their vast history and impressive landscape and commemorate many important international of local events of interest to collectors.