5 Things I Just Learned About Greenland

In pursuit of my Greenland reader, I have decided to learn a bit more about their country. What I found was pretty fascinating, so hopefully you’ll enjoy it as well.

1. The USA lost a nuclear weapon in Greenland.

In the deep north of Greenland, the USA built Thule Air Base with permission from Greenland’s government in the 1950’s. The strategic location allowed the USA to monitor for nuclear missiles that might be launched from the USSR toward the USA over the North Pole. So, Thule was equipped with nuclear capabilities in order to strike quickly, should the need arise.

And that’s all good fun, until someone crashes a plane loaded with four nuclear weapons, which is what happened in 1968. In the cleanup after the plane crash, only three of the weapons were recovered. Despite extensive efforts to find and recover the fourth, it likely remains buried in the ice. It’s like a super-deadly surprise for future generations, when my generation is finished melting all the polar ice.

2. The USA once tried to buy Greenland from Denmark.

Before we started filling up her frozen north with nuclear debris, the USA tried to buy Greenland from Denmark in 1946. Denmark wouldn’t have any of it though. Think of how silly Texas would feel if it wasn’t even the second largest state anymore. (Don’t worry Texas, we still love you.)

3. Greenland could eat us for a snack.


And we taste like Ranch dressing.

4. 1 out of 4 Greenlanders has attempted suicide.

I’m not going to make light of this because it is a hard thing to lose friends and family to suicide. This one just saddens me.

5. The waters off Greenland are home to a predator even more frightening than the goblin shark.

The Greenland shark is larger than a Great White, can live for up to 200 years old, and regularly dines on polar bears and moose. Forget Australia being the world’s deadliest place. Greenland is steeped in frightening creatures.

So, now that I have more of an appreciation for Greenland, I’d really like to do an interview with a Greenlander. Let’s see if I can make that happen.


4 responses to “5 Things I Just Learned About Greenland

  1. Hi again Josh. 😉

    Just some minor corrections for your 5 points.

    1) Actually at the time of the crash, Greenland and Denmark was nuclear free societies, so actually it was an embarressment for the US Airforce to admit that B-52’s was overflying danish territory 24/7 carring nuclear weapons.
    The crash was on sea ice, some 10 km. from the Thule AB at wintertime (January 68) so the american military went on with the Operation crested ice.
    This was in the dark winter months, no sunshine for several months, but when spring arrived the sea ice melted, and some debris and bomb mate
    riel were already melted through the ice, during the fire after the crash, so much of these radioactive materiel is on the bottom of the fiord, a mini submarine did some search during summer but no luck, theres still some missing debris and likely the rumours of this one bomb that never was found might be true.
    Heres an article from BBC:

    2) USA have a keen military interest in Greenland, actually US tried to buy Greenland twice, the first time was around the time when US bought the danish caribbean islands Dansk Vestindien, now known as US Virgin Islands.
    Greenland is geologically a part of North America, so the Monroe Doctrine is still in effect here.

    3) I don’t really understand this statement. 😉

    4) Suicidal tendencies is a major problem here, actually i can’t count all these people i’ve known, who took their own lives.
    It’s about 50 suicides each year in a population with only 56.000 inhabitants.
    But the globalization had a hard impact on our society, it’s not yet been a hundred years since money arrived uphere, Petroleum and Gasoline was brought in by the americans during WW2, thus the danish realm thought it was like giving children matches to play with, so this global impact is only some few decades back in time.
    Theres still a culture clash going on, even after about 300 years under the danish kingdom as a colony, which was abandoned in 1953, where greenlandic citizens got the same human rights as the danish society, but from then on globalization went turbo, all citizens now live in houses and apartments with all comforts like rinning water, electricity, internet and so on.

    5) The greenland shark is a very slow and mysterious fish and is also called sleeper shark, i don’t see it as a dangerous fish, no way near the aggressive big white shark or hammerheads.
    I’ve seen lots of these while working on a prawn trawler in the 90’s in the Denmark strait (eastcoast of Greenland) and in the Davis strait on the west coast.
    Actually the skin is like sandpaper, if one tries to cut it open and dissect it, the knife blade will have to sharpened many times.
    In the north western part of greenland, near Thule in Qaanaaq, they burry this shark so it ferments, and after about a ½ year they dig it up and eat it, some say they get drunk, but i’ve never tried this ( and never will ).
    This fermenting process is also used in Iceland and is called hákarl.

    Well i guess it sums most of these 5 points.

    Greetings from Nuuk, Greenland.

    Lars. 😉

  2. P.S heres a link to a youtube video (one of several) this one i guess is right about springtime, and reflects how much snow we got know, most is melted and summer is rapidly near.
    But here goes, enjoy!
    (16.500 inhabitants and 3500 cars on 60-70 miles of road, no two cities are connected with roads, only accessible by boat or a plane.)

  3. Pingback: It Worked! | Josh Mosey | Writer·

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